Exclusively homegrown

The Local will specialize in Wisconsin-made products


Alison Magnuson and her husband, Bryan, will open The Local in mid-July, focusing exclusively on products made in Wisconsin.

Etsy can be a fun website to find hand-crafted items like soaps, candles, jewelry and even furniture. You can even narrow the search to artisans in your city. Wouldn’t it be cool to have a local shop that carried Wisconsin-based artisans’ products all in one place?

Alison and Bryan Magnuson asked themselves the same question. To answer it, the couple next month will open The Local in downtown Wausau. The shop, located in the former Violet Loft storefront at 420 Third St., will exclusively carry products made in Wisconsin—from handmade signs, to bath balms, candles and clothing.

Alison Magnuson, originally from Iron Mountain, Mich., has lived in Wausau for about four years, and worked as a dental assistant until her daughter was born two years ago. As a stay-at-home mom, she started dabbling in art projects, and eventually started selling at art shows around the state and on Etsy. “It was a cool feeling to know the product you made was shipping to places all over the United States,” she says.

As she started talking to artists at the art shows, a common theme emerged: Artisans wanted a place to sell their work locally on a more permanent basis rather than always traveling to various art shows. Wausau could use a place like that, Magnuson thought.

Magnuson also wants to hold workshops and artist events in the classroom space in back of The Local. “Hopefully we can help other people begin a new hobby,” she says.

Magnuson is counting on the downtown location, with all its events such as Concerts on the Square and First Thursdays, to provide plenty of foot traffic to bring more eyes on the products of Wisconsin artisans. The Local is still in the process of gathering artisans and inventory, but has been received very well so far, Magnuson says. “Every item in our store will be unique and neat because each has its own backstory,” Magnuson says.

Look for The Local to open sometime in mid-July. See their Facebook page for updates.