When Jen Wuebben was a child, she went shopping with her grandparents for a holiday dress. It was more than a routine shopping trip, it was an important experience—a tradition.
Wuebben cherished the outing.
“Over the years that shopping experience started going away (in the world),” she said. “Where do you really take your child to learn about shopping? I couldn’t find those places anymore.”
Thanks to Wuebben, you can find such a place in Middleton. She celebrates the tradition of family shopping in her shop on Parmenter Street, in the heart of downtown.
Tradition Market is actually two connected stores. The flagship store is Tradition Children’s Market, a shop that features a selection of high-quality apparel and toys for young children (newborn to age 10). The market carries 40 brands from all over the world.
Tradition Women’s Market is located next door and carries a selection of fine apparel at accessible prices.
“For the most part, the products are things that you should get a lot of use out of,” Wuebben said. “All of the women who shop with us are busy, whether they are business owners, mothers or students. They are just busy but they want to look great.”
Wuebben did not launch her retail venture on a whim. She graduated from UW-Madison with a degree in textiles and fashion design and spent a year at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. She built a deep resume—working as an assistant to a vice president at Burberry in London, as an assistant designer at Land’s End, a fashion illustration instructor at UW-Madison and an accessory buyer for Kmart Apparel in San Francisco.
She opened Tradition Market in 2016.
“It took a little wandering through the fashion industry to understand that definitely having a store is what I wanted,” she said. “I love everything about retail. I love how it changes daily. I love the customer interaction. I love the creativity behind displays. I love the financial part of it, crunching numbers. All of it.”
Wuebben said she acquired a lot of skills from her years working in the industry and she’s leaning on those skills to navigate the business challenges of the pandemic. Her stores are currently open for walk-in customers four days a week, and people can also shop through personal assistance via their preferred communication method. Customers may call the store, email or send inquiries via Instagram and Facebook. Wuebben said the store will send pictures or video of merchandise as needed. She said the store also takes appointments with customers via Zoom or FaceTime.
Wuebben has gotten to know many of her customers by name over the last few years and has made many friends along the way.
She has also seen the tradition of family shopping flourish in her shop.
“It’s one of my favorite things,” she said. “Mothers, parents, grandparents and aunts, actually bringing in their children.”
Wuebben said she was very close to her grandmother, and as a child shared her dreams about working in fashion and opening her own store. While her grandmother did not live long enough to see the shop open, traditions have a way of continuing.
In Wuebben’s waiting area, you’ll find two vintage leather chairs.
They belonged to Wuebben’s grandparents.
About Tradition Market
1823 Parmenter St.
Middleton, WI 53562
Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.