It’s no secret Lake Geneva is a hot spot in the summer for locals and tourists alike. While tourism drops off as the temperatures cool, the city and surrounding areas go into winter hibernation.
Lake Geneva’s downtown remains bright and vibrant in the holiday season with a full range of shops and services augmented with sales, promotions, and special events. In fact, for some of Lake Geneva’s businesses, the off-season is the time when they are at their busiest.
Here is a glimpse of what some of the local merchants have in store this holiday season.
Brick & Mortar Home
This home decor business, which laid roots in Lake Geneva in 2009, continues to grow and evolve with its multiple locations in the community.
Owner Kathy George says a new coffee shop, The Porch, and a small Airbnb-style lodging establishment are slated to augment the business’ signature array of home décor and other accents that fit the mantras of quality, style, and personality.
Patrons will have an opportunity to kick off the holiday season with Brick & Mortar’s annual holiday open house, slated for November 11-13.
“There are special events planned, and we’ll have local artisans joining us,” Kathy says. “There will be some other special guests as well.”
Main store: 832 Geneva St., 262-249-0210; Home and outdoor store: 222 Center St., 262-249-0530
The Candle Mercantile
Pine needles, fraser firs, frankincense and myrrh, gingerbread, and candy cane are among some of the holiday scents and fragrances patrons can indulge in at this shop, which is in the midst of its fourth year of business in Lake Geneva.
In addition to functioning as a traditional retail shop, The Candle Mercantile offers patrons an experiential twist with a candle bar that serves as the backdrop for concocting and customizing assorted candles, room diffusers, sprays, and other scented items.
“There are several items you can create. Regardless of what you make, the process is kind of the same,” says Liz Doyle, who co-runs the shop with business partner Leigh Ann Myers. “We’ll help you create two or three different fragrances for your own custom blend. When you’re at our bar, we’re walking you through the whole process.”
At any given time, The Candle Mercantile has a range of fragrances and scents, some of which are rotated through the store on a seasonal basis.
“For each season, we have three signature blends,” Liz explains. “For the holidays, around November 1st, we’ll swap out and put 20 winter scents out, plus our signature holiday blends. We’ll have gift packs and some other grab-and-go, pre-selected items if you don’t have the time to make something on your own.”
Reservations for the candle bar are recommended. 870 W. Main St., 262-203-5557
Clear Water Outdoor
From one season to the next, Clear Water Outdoor provides customers with the essentials to make the most of Wisconsin’s widely fluctuating seasons. The holidays are an opportunity to showcase what’s in store for winter and all of the activities that accompany it.
Sean Payne, manager of Clear Water Outdoor’s Lake Geneva location, says the store has all of the clothing and accessories necessary to weather frigid temperatures. Boots, cross country skis, hats, jackets, snowshoes, sweaters, and winter gloves are among some of their featured products.
The store has other notable winter accessories, such as balm from the Badger Company to fight dry skin and insulated cookware for outdoor camping.
“We’ve also got some fun little coolers that are like beer koozies,” Sean adds.
For Sean and other staffers at Clear Water Outdoor, the holidays are an opportunity to equip people with the products necessary to combat Old Man Winter.
“There’s no such thing as bad weather. There’s just bad gear,” Sean explains. “We can hook anybody up. They just need to have the right stuff.”
744 W. Main St., 262-348-2422
Cornerstone Shop and Gallery
This holiday season marks a milestone for a longtime Lake Geneva staple. The annual open house that serves as the official kickoff to the holiday season is entering its 20th year.
Karin Bennett, who co-owns Cornerstone with her husband, Bruce, says Cornerstone has “become a destination for the holidays,” as noted by the regular patrons and out-of-town shoppers who peruse the retailer’s merchandise.
At Cornerstone, Christmas essentially is a year-round process, Karin explains, and merchandise begins arriving into the shop in the midst of sultry summer temperatures.
“We actually start buying, believe it or not, in the first week of January,” she says. “We make it happen because we have a wonderful team of people who help us with the buying, the designing, the merchandising, so it all goes full circle.”
The shop began putting up its Christmas décor in September and will continue additional accents before the big open house that is set to take place this year on November 5 and continue through the weekend. Special guests, author signings, and various events will take place.
“It’s always a lot of fun,” Karin says. “It’s turned out to be a great event over the years.”
214 Broad St., 262-248-6988
Overland Sheepskin Co.
This national retailer, which has operated a shop in Lake Geneva for decades, has become a hot spot for winter warmth during the holidays. This year will be no different, says Tyler Blohm, manager of the local Overland store.
“The holidays are one of the busiest times of the year because we focus on sheepskin coats and shearling coats, as well as leathers, wool coats, and sweaters,” Tyler says. “We’re really busy in the wintertime and the holiday season. It’s our prime time, which is the opposite of a lot of the other shops in town.”
While clothing is Overland’s main draw, there are other wares available as well, including sheepskin-made home décor and rugs.
“We’re a really big holiday business,” he adds. “We’ve got a lot of things to keep you warm — anything to help keep you warm, we’ve got it.”
752 W. Main St., 262-248-1916
Breezy Hill Nursery
Breezy Hill Nursery is a family-owned business that focuses on treating their customers and staff like family. They have a passion for growing beautiful and high-quality plants as well as providing their customers with their exterior landscaping design for all seasons.
Exterior décor and landscaping is a great way to prep your home for the “holiday feels”. Reach out to Breezy Hill for exterior lighting to keep your yard looking beautiful even during the cold months.
Sprucing up your entryway? Ask the experts at your local Breezy Hill location for advice on the best pots, plants that withstand cold temperatures, as well as what is in style this year when it comes to accenting your plants with flourishes such as birch, sprigs, etc.
Breezy Hill Nursery is focused on making your outdoor spaces breathtaking for you to enjoy. Reach out to them today to see what you could make possible at your home!
7530 288th Avenue | Salem, Wisconsin | 262.537.2111
Reupholstering your old furniture can be a hefty task to complete on your own. That’s where Nick’s Upholstery comes in. With two locations, one in Fontana, Wisconsin, and the other in Highland Park, Illinois, they are ready to create your dream furniture masterpiece.
Looking for something custom to fit your space or style? Nick’s Upholstery can construct just about anything you can think of to adapt to your needs. A custom piece of furniture will offer the most comfort, suit you best, and be of the highest quality.
Unsure of what you are looking for? Reach out to the experts at Nick’s Upholstery to help you decipher what the best option is to get the most bang for your buck!
“If you can dream it, we can make it any style, size, or shape, for your personal comfort!”
543 Valley View Drive, Fontana | 262.394.5658
Paper Dolls Home Furnishings
Local retailer, Paper Dolls, is your one-stop shop for all things home décor, especially during the holiday season. The storefront in Lake Geneva doubles as a home furnishing boutique as well as an interior design firm.
When Paper Dolls first opened 30 years ago by Kristi Hugunin and her then business partner Chris Haak, they specialized in wallpaper installation, hence the name. In 1986, they opened their first retail store in Elkhorn and have been expanding their sales and design staff ever since. With their heightened number of clients and staff over the years, they opened a 14,000 square foot location in Lake Geneva, their current location.
The experienced designers at Paper Dolls hold degrees in Interior Design and are able to work with you from start to finish in the building, designing, and decorating of your home. Some of the interior design services that the business offers include custom window treatments, complete room layouts with new and existing furnishings, and fabric, paint, and wallpaper selections, just to name a few.
Whether you are looking to refresh your current décor or are moving into a new house, Paper Dolls is your go-to local expert for all things interior design and decorating.
138 East Geneva Square, Lake Geneva | 262.248.6268