The last souvenir shop…We found one of the last old school shops on our recent trip to the tourist capitol Wisconsin.Got to meet the owner- an elderly man that goes by Greg – his store is The Moccasin Shop. He explained that the next day would be his final day of business after 71 years of selling souvenirs. His father opened that business (all i could imagine was decades worth of backstock in the cellar).I had to ask- he was kind. if you have a few minutes, ill take you to the storage shelves. I dont think weve ever thrown away a thing in all these years.It was an honest-to-god treasure hunt.digging through piles of deadstock on shelves that hadnt been touched in decades. .1: vintage leather beaded comb holders .2: Deadstock of seed bead leather belts.3: Hoards of deadstock leather moccassins.4: Backstock of souvenir postcards.5: US set of fridge magnets.6: Miniature keychain minnetonkas .7.Native american dolls (the most un- PC).8: Tourism auto decals.9: Crockware salt & pepper shakers .10: collectible spoons .Greg gave me his number- so We could come back the following week & hit the upper floor too.But after days of calling, Greg didnt answer- and after calling all the neighboring stores on the Dells strip, the owner of the fudge shop finally walked over and handed him the phone.Greg explained that the new owners had already gutted the place- and that all of 71 years of souvenir deadstock was nearly gone – he guesses a trash truck, junk stores. He was moving away to retire. (I seriously could not get the lump out of my throat for a hour)Someday I want to open a souvenir shop stocked only tourist gifts that you cant find anymore. Today, shops only stock modern bedazzled, neon, battery-operated disposable crap.R.I.P. Moccassin Shop, thank you for 71 years of making vacationers happy. Update: we did go back anyway. And although the main shop and attic had been gutted- he let us sift through the remnants left in the basement- where we gathered all that we could that was left behind (shots here are a small sampling of that merch- were making a plan to for how we can give it to guests- stay tuned.
September 18, 2019 • Published by Tereasa Surratt