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Thursday, March 14, 2013

Lofty Ambitions

Tracy Grundy Talks Shoppe in the Third Ward

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When Tracy Grundy came to Milwaukee’s Third Ward as a hair stylist, the area’s warehouses had only recently begun to buzz with renewed urban energy. In 2007, she opened her own studio, Yan. Despite its success, she dreamed of opening a loft space that would integrate her passions for hair and yoga. In July 2012, the 32-year-old proprietor, colorist and yogi opened The Shoppe at 155 N. Milwaukee St.

The Shoppe has an industrial look. What inspired you in designing it?

I wanted the decor to reflect the laidback, casual comfort that was present before social media and mass marketing—the “Slow Slow Slow” vs. “Go Go Go.”  The other inspiration was my dad’s greasy old machine shop on Milwaukee’s North Side. When I was very young, I spent a ton of time there. The ethnic and social diversity formed a baseline for my character, as did the hard-working staff. When I designed The Shoppe, I went back there for ideas on colors and patterns.

What do you remember about the Third Ward when you started?

I started at The Aveda Institute of Beauty and Wellness in 2000. I instantly felt connected to the neighborhood. The beauty school was on St. Paul and Water. None of the residential apartments existed on that corner. Many of the girls parked in spaces where the Public Market now stands. La Bou was still in the basement of the Broadway Building. So many changes! I love this neighborhood. It is hands down the best neighborhood for budding entrepreneurs, innovators and artists.

The Shoppe is about much more than aesthetics?

Well, the local yoga studios were also a huge inspiration—the energy within the studios and the amazingly creative ways in which the owners operate their businesses. Many of my strongest mentors are in the yoga community.

You also teach?


Yes! On March 3, we started 12 consecutive Sundays of free yoga. Each week will be taught by a different teacher from our Greater Milwaukee yoga community and will present a different style of practice. We’ll host two Pilates instructors within the series and one practice will focus on children. The series is called The Sunday Sampler at The Shoppe.

A hair salon hosting yoga classes isn't typical. Does your space lend itself to yoga?

A row of windows spans the entire east wall with a beautiful and quiet view of a residential corner of the Ward. The one thing I hear over and over from our clients and guests is “The energy in here is amazing!”

How do you see The Shoppe evolving?

The Shoppe will become a hub of information and new experiences, a way for folks to connect regularly to exchange energy and ideas. The Sunday Sampler is our first movement in that direction. The Shoppe is a business aligned to the basic principles of yoga and a commitment to both internal and external beauty.

Speaking of external beauty, did you catch the Oscars? Do you have a best hair nominee?

Anne Hathaway. I am such a sucker for short hair and for anything French. And that dress! I heart monochromatic—such a vixen.