John and Kate McLaughlin, owners of The Brass Rooster – a men's hat shop in Bay View – will move to a larger location and open a women’s hat shop called The Hen House next door.
Both businesses will be located at 2250-2252 S. Kinnickinnic Ave. in the former Boulevard Theatre. Sarah Jonas and Camryne Roberts – the owners of Bay View’s Café Lulu – purchased the space earlier this summer. (The Boulevard is in its 29th season and now performs at the South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center.)
The grand opening for The Hen House and Brass Rooster is scheduled for November.
Hen House will offer pre-made and custom-made women's hats as well as cleaning and refurbishment of vintage hats. Kate, a master milliner, will also teach hat making and host hat parties in the space.
The Brass Rooster opened in 2011 at 2479 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.
"The Brass Rooster will look almost identical to its appearance currently, with the addition of a much larger and needed manufacturing area for the hats we make on location," says John. "The Hen House will be a different decor and shopping experience entirely designed specifically for our core female clientele."
In the future, the McLaughlins will also hit the streets in their mobile hat truck, selling at special events and around town.
"We bought a 1955 Ford delivery van that will be our headwear retail version of a food truck," says John.
Mobile hat truck? Now that's out of the (hat) box thinking.