A new home improvement store is opening soon on Downer Avenue, and it will be the first retail outlet for the Milwaukee native returning home.

“I recently joined The Great Retirement and moved back to Wisconsin from Washington, DC,” says Bridget Maniachi, who will open Goodland Home & Goods, LLC in a 1,191-square-foot space. ft. at 2565 N. Downer Ave., later that summer.

The store adjoining this chain of retail space used to house Time to Kiln Paint’s own pottery shop and is located between Boswell Books and Optix on Downer.

“We will be selling fun, colorful homewares as well as art and some haberdashery,” says Maniachi. “Everything you need to have fun, whether you’re a UWM student with your first apartment or the owner of a home on Lake Drive.

“Think blocky tablecloths and linens, glassware, Turkish towels, candles, and more, as well as stationery and notepads for an adult aesthetic. For haberdashery, I’m looking for packaged products that are made in small batches by entrepreneurs located in Wisconsin if possible.”

Maniaci will also carry artwork because, in her words, “I feel like every home should have original artwork.

“I work on proposals from artists that are original works of art, but probably not one-off pieces. (I) will offer a few paintings, but I also plan to offer various screen prints, other art forms and photo prints.”

Maniachi says the Salt & Sundry store in Washington, D.C. was the inspiration for Goodland Home & Goods.

“I realized that the fun, sunny, affordable home products they were selling—a mixture of local and global products—was not what I had seen in Milwaukee,” she says. “It struck me that with all the development and new housing developments in Downtown and Milwaukee’s East Side, there aren’t many Target properties located in Downtown and each mall is a 15 to 20 minute drive.

“I remember being a freshman at UWM and having to rely on what was within walking distance or taking the bus to get groceries. I hope this store will help start filling the gap in retail products available locally.”

Opening the store is something of a homecoming for Maniachi, whose grandparents ran the Maniachi Siciliano cafe on the North Shore for a quarter of a century.

“Different generations of my family lived, worked, or owned a business on the East Side of Milwaukee over 100 years ago to this day,” she says. “I hope to pass on their spirit of hospitality and joy at the dinner table to a new generation.”

According to her, Downer Avenue was particularly suitable for the new store.

“This is my first store, and by exploring real estate and commercial retail corridors, Downer has weathered the pandemic in good shape,” says Maniachi. “It also has fantastic long-term anchor retail locations and a lively weekend brunch crowd, which are good for a small business like mine.”

Maniachi notes that the main factor behind her return was the availability of a $10,000 grant from the state.

Maniachi was on the Madison City Council, and I asked her if she was considering running. After all, the seat of alderman on the East Side is currently vacant.

“Municipal government and politics is where I’m happy when it comes to politics, but politics can take over your life,” she says. “After 20 years, I wanted to change something and do something more joyful every day. I’m a big urban nerd and I’m so excited for the new generation of leaders taking the reins at the city and county level in Milwaukee.

“We need to work to break down the I-94 corridor bunkers and mend the relationship between Madison and Milwaukee, especially now that Madison has surpassed Milwaukee in the base cost of property tax at both the city and county levels in 2018. Each city can learn from the other, and I’m amazed when I talk to people from both cities that they weren’t able to explore the other city beyond the main attractions that any tourist could visit.”

Maniachi also notes that her longtime friend Jonathan Brostoff is running for the seat.

“I’m so excited that he’s running for East Side Elder,” Maniachi says. “I look forward to the dedication and enthusiasm he will show as an elder.

“At some point, I may try to volunteer or serve locally, but that will be another time. Right now it feels so good to be home, enjoying and exploring the neighborhood, Milwaukee artists and producers who are more than late for the attention.”

Maniachi will have a tent at the Downer Bike Classic on Saturday, June 25th so she can introduce herself and the store to the neighbors.

“We have a curated collection of pop-ups that we’re selling and I’m super excited,” she says.

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