The History of The Scrapbook Store & More
The Scrapbook Store opened its doors for the first time back in April 1997 on Highway 100 in West Allis. It was a vision of Lee Friske, who had seen stores of this kind in the West and decided to give it a go here in the Milwaukee area. This was the first scrapbook store in the Midwest. It was an up-and-coming trend to scrapbook and preserve memories in a new way that hadn't previously been done (to this extent - with papers and stickers). The first store was only 1,200 square feet as was located on Highway 100 and National Avenue in the Sentry mall (now occupied by Piggly Wiggly).
In 1999, The Scrapbook Store moved to the Greenfield Fashion Center, more than tripling its space(where Penzy's Spices is located). The theme inspired by Mary Engelbreit continued... but besides checkerboards and cherries, we added colors and curtains. We expanded our classes, hired more help and grew The Scrapbook Store family.
As the scrapbook industry grew, so did the need for even more space. We found ourselves bursting at the seams and moved down a couple of doors, to a store with 7,200 square feet. We changed our decor to the Doodlebug look with bold pinks, greens and purples. During this time we opened a store in Germantown on Mequon and Pilgrim road, which we adored. It did well, however, when it was time to renew the lease, the location was no longer a hot spot. We decided to not renew our lease and concentrate on one location.
In 2010, the Store could not remain at the Greenfield Plaza location, so we had to re-locate. Lee decided it was a natural time to step away to spend time with her family. She wanted the Store to continue with those who have a passion for the craft.
Beth Gerlach and Angie Krohn, long-time employees of The Store, decided to purchase The Scrapbook Store and opened the new location is at 4466 South 108th Street (Highway 100 in Greenfield), where the store stands today. They built an amazing classroom that is one-third of the space and the focus really switched to classes, krops and special events.
Beth grew the store, and was able to stay strong amid some challenging times for the country - including the closing of scrapbook stores around the region. The strength of the store is a credit to Beth and The Scrapbook Store staff. The classes, products and customer service remained at the top of the industry... including winning WISN's A-List in 2011 (and Runner-Up in other years). Beth will remain a presence in the Store and will continue to teach - but now will enjoy some spare time and also doing some of her own scrapbooking!
On January 1st, 2014 the store opened under the new ownership team of Christine Slak and Michelle Genner. Many of you may be familiar with Christine, who has been one of the store instructors. Her partner Michelle, is also a long time crafter and also a Scrapbook Store customer.
"In keeping with the current trends in crafting, we will continue to sell the latest scrapbooking products, and will be expanding into fabrics, fibers, Fairy Gardens and even paint! We will be the only Milwaukee Area retailer of CeCe Caldwell’s paints, a chalk/clay based paint that requires no priming and is VOC free. Classes will be expanded to cover use of all these new products.
"With such a rich history and loyal customer base, that we couldn't even imagine changing the name of The Store. So, we simply changed it to reflect the changes happening!
"We look forward to carrying on a 16-year legacy and expanding to keep it fresh and still be true to our classic scrapbookers!"
We'd like to send our sincere thank you out to each of you, our customers. Because of you, we are able to continue providing exceptional knowledge and service to every scrapper that comes through the door! Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Chris & Michelle