Support State Street through new fund, plus 15 spots to shop now
If you can't shop State Street businesses right now, you can support BID's newly launched Downtown Madison Fund to revitalize downtown
In normal times, the top of State Street is the most visited pedestrian intersection in the state of Wisconsin, says Tiffany Kenney, executive director of Madison’s Central Business Improvement District, or BID. But since COVID-19 has kept people away from public spaces and downtown riots have resulted in the boarding up of businesses, State Street hasn’t been visited this summer by pedestrians and shoppers like it usually is.
Around this time, thousands of Madisonians would be flocking to the downtown area for events like the Madison Night Market, but gatherings, including MNM, have sadly been canceled.
Madison’s BID, which has been around for more than 20 years, is trying to support these hard-hit businesses in any way possible. Some storefronts sustained property damage from riots over the summer while others suffer from decreased sales as a result of less foot traffic and in-store capacity restrictions. State Street business owners need shoppers and financial support to get back on their feet, Kenney says.
Kenney hopes to raise $300,000 by year’s end for the Downtown Madison Fund — a Madison Community Foundation fund overseen by BID that is intended to support repairs, engagement and job creation within and adjacent to the BID. The fundraising campaign, which starts this week, comes after about $200,000 was raised by the Boys & Girls Club of Dane County through a GoFundMe campaign. That fundraising effort helped 69 out of around 150 businesses in the State Street area — many of which need assistance due to higher insurance costs because of property damage, says Kenney. At least 20 of the 150 or so businesses have already closed, she says.
The Downtown Madison Fund had an anonymous $10,000 to start, and as more is raised, some businesses might see immediate funding while the fundraising campaign continues, Kenney says.
“I would encourage people to come downtown to visit State Street, to shop with our businesses or our restaurants. Many of them have online options [and] many of them are doing curbside pick-up … It’s important to support the heart of the community,” she says. “What really makes Madison unique and special is our unique and special businesses, and I am really fearful that we’re not going to have many of them left by the end of the year.”
To help support Madison’s downtown business community, you can donate to the Downtown Madison Fund directly, or you can shop State Street. Shopping can be a precarious venture as we continue to take health safety precautions during a pandemic, but we’ve made it easy for you by reaching out to a handful of State Street businesses to collect the info you need to know before you go, including special hours and offerings.
Jazzman offers men’s fashion items ranging from clothing to footwear to accessories. Be sure to watch out for the stores collection of light fall outerwear as the autumn season starts bringing in cooler breezes.
Where: 340 State St.
How you can shop: The store welcomes walk-ins or is currently taking appointments. Jazzman is open from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and from noon to 5 p.m. on Sundays. You can also shop online through Jazzman’s website and the company’s Instagram and Facebook pages.
Contact: Jazzman can be reached at 608-256-2062 or email@example.com.
Ragstock, a large clothing chain founded in the 1950s, offers vintage and used clothing in the heart of Madison’s downtown. While the first floor holds plenty of options, be sure to check out the basement floor for great deals on used and recycled clothing.
Where: 329 State St.
How you can shop: Ragstock is open for in-store shopping from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays. The store also takes online orders via the clothing chain’s website.
Contact: Reach the State Street location at 608-251-3419.
Rethreads — a used and recycled clothing store — is a great option for shopping sustainably. Browse the store’s collection of retro jewelry at the counter along with the rest of Rethreads wares.
Where: 410 State St.
How you can shop: Rethreads is open from noon to 6 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays and from noon to 5 p.m. on Sundays for shopping, but the buying counter (where you can take your items to be sold) is closed due to the pandemic.
Contact: Reach Rethreads at 608-257-1018 or firstname.lastname@example.org, and find more information on the store’s Facebook page.
Serrv’s Madison location — part of an international organization of stores offering fair-trade, ethically sourced household items and apparel — is a great place to find a gift you’ll feel good about spending your money on. Serv sells handcrafted goods as part of the organization’s mission to fight poverty, and every find has a unique and fascinating story behind it.
Where: 224 State St.
How you can shop: Serrv will be closed from Monday, Sept. 14 until Sept. 23, and will reopen Thursday, Sept. 24 with regular store hours from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays. You can visit Serrv’s website for online shopping and more information.
Contact: Email Serrv at email@example.com or call 608-251-2370.
Interested in going back to your college-rocker roots? Sunshine Daydream offers apparel featuring bands like the Grateful Dead, plus tapestries, backpacks and posters. Visitors can also purchase incense, candles and pipes from the store, and you can view products online or in person.
Where: 619 State St.
How you can shop: Sunshine Daydream is open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sundays for in-store shopping, and offers some items to purchase through the store’s Instagram.
Contact: The best way to reach Sunshine Daydream is through the store’s email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via phone at 608-251-6450.
Shoo sells a wide variety of, you guessed it, shoes. From running shoes to winter boots, the store offers footwear for every season in Wisconsin. Shoo also sells handmade masks, both professional and playful socks, local artists’ paintings, clothing and graphic T-shirts.
Where: 109 State St.
How you can shop: Shoo is open for in-store shopping from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and offers shipping via the shoe store’s website.
Contact: The best way to reach Shoo is to call 608-467-6325.
GIFTS AND OTHER LOCAL WARES
Anthology, a paper and craft shop, sells original designs and partners with local independent artists to bring Madison shoppers journaling, crafting and art products they love. Owned by two sisters, the store offers a gateway into your creative side with an extensive list of products and local art.
Where: 230 State St.
How you can shop: Anthology offers in-store shopping for up to 10 people at a time, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and from noon to 4 p.m. on Sundays. You can pick up and phone in orders during those hours. You can pick up orders from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays at Anthology’s backdoor on East Johnson Street.
Contact: Anthology’s email is email@example.com and the store can be reached at 608-204-2644.
Art Gecko sells a variety of goods — including jewelry, gemstones, clothing, décor, textiles and lamps — and is a great place to stumble into a new and interesting find. From hand-carved wooden statues to woven scarves, Art Gecko’s crafts are fascinating to explore.
Where: 510 State St.
How you can shop: Visitors can shop in person from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays and via Art Gecko’s website. The store offers delivery or curbside pick-up as well, and photos of Art Gecko’s merchandise are available on the store’s website.
Contact: You can reach Art Gecko at its website, by phone at 608-280-8053 and on the company’s Instagram and Facebook pages.
Located next door to Anthology, Little Luxuries is a cute spot to find that fun gift for the friend who’s impossible to shop for. The store is filled with quirky jewelry, books, accessories, children’s toys, decorative pieces and more — including a 1,000-piece puzzle of vintage national parks posters.
Where: 230 State St.
How you can shop: Little Luxuries is open for in-person shopping from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and from 11 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Sundays. You can also order on the website and via phone, and the store offers curbside pickup and delivery. Starting Nov. 1, Little Luxuries will be open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Mondays and from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sundays.
Contact: The store’s phone number is 608-255-7372.
Madison Modern Market
Madison Modern Market offers both interesting gifts and practical household items, carrying everything from lighting fixtures to trendy temporary tattoos. It’s impossible to leave without finding something new and exciting to purchase.
Where: 310 State St.
How you can shop: Madison Modern Market is open for in-store shopping from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays and from noon to 4 p.m. on Sundays. The store also offers shipping and curbside pick-up on State Street.
Contact: Madison Modern Market can be reached by phone at 608-257-1555 and on the store’s Facebook and Instagram pages.
PowerNine Games sells all the board games you could need, from Magic the Gathering to late-night party games.
Where: 341 State St.
How you can shop: The store is open from 11a.m. to 7 p.m. every day for in-store shopping, and orders can also be placed over phone.
Contact: PowerNine Games can be reached by phone at 608-255-4263.
Red Square Flowers
Red Square Flowers on State Street sells many varieties of houseplants, from orchids to bonsai trees to cacti to air plants. The store also offers fresh flowers, planters, candles, terrariums and other gifts for your local plant-lover.
Where: 132 State St.
How you can shop: Customers can stop in Red Square Flowers’ downtown location or use the store’s pick-up and delivery options. Red Square Flowers is open on State Street from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, from noon to 5 p.m. on Wednesdays, and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays. The store is closed on Sundays.
Contact: You can place online orders at redsquareflowers.com or can call the store at 608-268-6026.
The Soap Opera
The Soap Opera, established in 1972, is an iconic Madison destination for artisan soaps, men’s grooming tools, essential oils, bathing products, fragrances and more. You can do more than just find your birthstone transformed into a soap rock at The Soap Opera — you can create your own custom perfume or cologne and even replicate an existing scent with the help of staff.
Where: 319 State St.
How you can shop: The Soap Opera’s downtown story is open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day, and customers can also order online at the shop’s website or by phone. The Soap Opera can also ship products to customers, or, for a no-contact option, customers can pick up orders in The Soap Opera’s parking lot off of West Johnson Street near Red Rock Saloon.
Contact: Reach The Soap Opera by phone at 608-251-4051 or at the website, thesoapopera.com.
For book-lovers, walking into Paul’s Bookstore is like walking into paradise. The store is covered from floor to ceiling in bookshelves filled with used and out-of-print books — making it an ideal place for rare finds and the simple pleasure of wandering between the shelves.
Where: 670 State St.
How you can shop: Paul’s is open for in-store shopping from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays and holidays. Paul’s Bookstore does not offer delivery or online orders.
Contact: Call 608-257-2968 to order over the phone or drop in at Paul’s State Street store to browse or pick up phone orders.
ART AND MUSIC
B-Side Records — a Madison staple since 1982 — has recordings released anytime from this week to nearly 100 years ago in every style. If you’re looking for a vinyl record, a CD or even a cassette tape, B-side Records is the place to go.
Where: 436 State St.
How you can shop: Visitors to B-Side Records are welcome in store from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. every day except Sundays, where the store is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and no more than 10 people are welcome to shop at one time. The store has hand sanitizer for customers at the counter and also offers delivery via USPS or curbside pick-up.
Contact: The best way to reach B-Side records is via email, firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone at 608-255-1977. Visit the store’s Facebook page for more information.
Editor’s Note: It’s a good idea to call ahead before visiting a business to check on hours of operation and make sure you understand the store’s walk-in policy and rules. These are only a few of State Street’s many businesses, and State Street and the surrounding area represent only a part of the Madison area’s small business profile. Here’s a guide to shop Monroe Street, and here are 300 Black-owned businesses in the Madison area. There are also many shop’s on Madison’s north, south, east and west sides, and the surrounding suburbs — check out a few other spots from our 2019 shopping guide featuring 110 local shops. We also compiled a list of Black-owned food businesses. If you’re a State Street business owner who would like to be added to this list, please email Celia Young with all the info you’d like included in a short listing like the ones above.