PLATTEVILLE — Downtowns used to be the place for large department stores and other retail businesses.
Downtowns are increasingly becoming the place for specialty retail stores, places shoppers can’t find anywhere else.
One example is the new Windy Cove Treasures, which opened at 40 W. Main St. in Platteville in early September.
“I think there’s a trend toward downtowns again,” said owner Wendy Kotte. “I think for years and years so many downtowns were just decimated by the big boxes.
“I like the downtown atmosphere now — you’ve got small businesses, and a lot of them are woman-run more, and a lot of entrepreneurship [is] going on again. It’d be nice to see little Galenas all over the place, where downtowns are the place to be.”
Kotte’s store carries “fair-trade, local-made, a little bit of consignment. It’s gifts and a little clothing; I do resort wear too. But I like to concentrate on local trade and fair trade.”
Kotte managed the former LA Fashions in Prairie du Chien for 16 years before starting the first Windy Cove Treasures in Prairie du Chien.
“I worked in upscale women’s fashions for a long time,” she said. “And I wanted to be totally different. When I first opened my shop I carried sundresses, some resort wear, and I also wanted to keep everything under $30. We’re doing really well over there.”
Kotte was recruited to Platteville by representatives of the Platteville Main Street Program, who were on a tour of Prairie du Chien.
“At the time we were looking at another location, maybe a college town, maybe Decorah, Iowa,” she said.
Kotte also sells self-help books, “a little New Age stuff,” and books from local authors, and around “Halloween time I like to sell scary books. I like to do seasonal stuff. I try to be a little different from anybody else.
“There’s something about zombies and vampires right now. It’s a really big deal. It’s kind of trending right now.”
Kotte is considering a prom dress consignment sale this spring; “it’s a big draw to get people through your doors at least,” she said.
Windy Cove has two part-time employees. It is open daily except Sundays.