By Craig Marx, Editor
The Antigo downtown has the capability of making an epic resurgence, especially with the ambition and passion of the owners of MoonShadow Dreams, Justin and Jennifer Welsh. The new storefront, located at the double-sided venue of 717 and 719 5th Ave, offers an eclectic variety of art, antiques and treasures that includes something for everyone.
MoonShadow Dreams features original artwork and furniture concepts created personally by Jennifer Welsh, a passionate artist originally from Merrill who studied her craft at both UW-Stevens Point and UW-Milwaukee. While the east side of the store features Jennifer’s works of art, available for sale, the western portion of MoonShadow Dreams offers “$1 Treasures,” featuring everything from secondhand tools to pots and pans and other knick knacks.
Customers can partake in the store’s “In It to Win It” offer, where $20 worth of purchases from either side will award the buyer with a chance at a monthly drawing. The purchase amount is cumulative, so a customer could buy a $1 item once a day until reaching the $20 and be eligible for the drawing and win amazing prizes, such as last month’s prize of an electronic tablet.
The Welshes hope to expand the drawing much in the way they hope to expand the business world of downtown. By potentially offering gift cards to local restaurants and salons on Antigo’s Main Street as part of future prizes, the new business owners already wish to work in cooperation with other local establishments to revitalize Antigo’s downtown retail economy.
“We fell in love with Antigo and this downtown when we first saw it,” said Justin Welsh, a former concrete worker originally from Daytona Beach, Florida. “We have a huge opportunity here to not only get more vendors downtown but also to put Antigo back on the map. This town has so much to offer and so much history. This building used to be an Ace Hardware that was one of the highlights of the town at Christmas time. It would be nice to see something like that again.”
Justin moved to Wisconsin in January of 2016 after finding an online friend in Jennifer after the passing of Justin’s mother earlier. After falling in love, and making the epic climatic adjustment from Coastal Florida to Central Wisconsin, the couple purchased a home in Wittenberg and sought out a location to facilitate both Jennifer’s eye-catching art collection and the couple’s love of auction and rummage items.
“We talked about opening a store here after visiting Antigo,” Justin said. “I had worked buying and selling items on E-Bay and we both love garage and rummage sales. I think we would rather go to yard sales than go anywhere else.”
The rummage sale-type atmosphere of the $1 Treasures offers plenty of items that reminds one of perusing the tables of Antigo yard sale on a summer afternoon, while the artistic endeavors of Jennifer’s collection are a welcome sign of participation and cooperation for local artists. MoonShadow Dreams eventually wishes to support local artists and their work, offering both supplies for sale and showcase potential in the future.
MoonShadow Dreams has been open since March 4th and is planning a grand opening celebration for sometime in May. The Welshes plan to incorporate one of their favorite charities, the Humane Societies of Langlade and Lincoln Counties, into the event by donating 20% of the store’s sales to those respective shelters.
The Welsh family, including 14-year old Haven and 9-year old Jaxon (who incidentally has his own nook of the store open for children’s treasure), have found their historic storefront in a city that they have loved since first sight. MoonShadow Dreams encourages the community to stop in and take a gander at the treasures and beautiful art and furniture, while the Welshes are always ready to learn and discuss the interesting history of the Antigo community.