A cozy, Christmastime cottage
A Webster Avenue antique store focuses on community, local goods and reducing waste
By Kira Doman
Stacie Christian grew up shopping in thrift stores and said she realized at a young age they were a great place to find cool pieces and people.
“I’ve always been selling antiques and vintage and felt that we shouldn’t throw them away, ever since I was a child,” Christian said.
Christain said she’s grown up selling vintage and antiques to help pay for her college education, as well as save money overall.
Christian, UW-Green Bay’s Interim Assistant Vice Chancellor of Inclusive Excellence, and her wife leaned into this philosophy by saving and refurbishing an entire house.
Christian opened Allouez Cottage alongside co-owners Julie Tetzlaff, Scott Caspersen and Perry Seiloff last November. Caspersen said the cottage (1510 S Webster Ave) was supposed to be demolished and took a lot of time to clean, repair and turn into a charming abode.
“We’re taking care of the house and keeping it healthy so that someone else can enjoy it in the future,” Christian said.
The Allouez Cottage is filled with furniture that has been refurbished from homes and the owners maintain their original qualities to find new homes for the unique items. Christain said she often buys curious items from vendors willing to part ways with oddities.
To Christian, their inventory is as simple as selling “antiques, vintage and cool junk.”
“We want it to be comfortable and relaxing, that’s why we call it a cottage,” Christian said. “It’s a nice place to go to relax.”
Christain said people love seeing all of the shop’s “old stuff” and it makes them wonder if they have something worth keeping in their own attics or crawl spaces at home.
“We try to sell things of better quality that can be used, rather than something that’s used once and dumped,” Christain said.
That philosophy speaks to Christian’s interest in sustainability and reducing waste, a lifestyle and principle that has been at the forefront of her personal and business lives for years.
“I want people to think about, even while they’re decorating their yard, what they can use for older items, rather than running out and getting a plastic item that might break,” Christain said. “You want something sustainable, something that adds beauty and value and uniqueness to your yard.”
Christain said she hopes visitors who leave the cottage without a purchase in tow at least leave with a sense of inspiration in how they can spruce up an old piece they’ve pondered tossing.
“We show them how to recreate things out of the old,” Christain said, “coming in to look at the new, and seeing there’s plenty to do with their old stuff.”
Despite opening during the COVID-19 pandemic and the challenges that come alongside that reality, Christain said customers have become more like family and neighbors since they opened their doors.
“When they come over to go shopping it’s like people haven’t seen each other in a long time,” Christain said.
The community that was able to be established and maintained throughout the pandemic, has brought a smile to Christain’s face, as she receives messages filled with gratitude for a new piece someone connected to within the cottage.
Allouez Cottage is also home to local vendors who sell homemade maple syrup, soap, knitted pieces in addition to the other vintage items.
Currently, the cottage’s halls are decked out with Christmastime decor, inside and out.
John McCracken contributed reporting to this story
Kira Doman is an editor and freelance journalist who graduated from the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay in the Spring of 2021. Her editing work can be found in The Sheepshead Review, The Northern Lights and Ellis Clark’s 2020 novel “With You.” Her writings can be viewed in The Driftwood and Green Bay City Pages. She is passionate about subjects such as social justice, current affairs and the arts. In her spare time, she is a barista, an average yet avid hiker, and a full-time cat mom.