#StorefrontStories

Behind every storefront, there’s a story.

Think about the local shops and restaurants you’ve missed most – the places and people that have become part of your daily life. Like the barista who knows you by name. The restaurant where you celebrate every family birthday. The boutique owner who always has time to chat and gives your dog treats. These businesses are what make Hilldale feel like home, and the sense of connection they bring feels more valuable than ever.

Now, as they’ve reopened their doors, we’re highlighting our Hilldale family through a new series, #storefrontstories. Through photos and five-minute interviews, we’re showcasing and celebrating the people behind the businesses you love, who have persevered through uncertain times and continue to make Hilldale so special.

Watch the stories unfold below and on Instagram and get excited to return to your favorites. Want to see a certain business featured? Let us know!

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CRESCENDO ESPRESSO BAR

NAME: The Sirianni Family   TITLE: Owners

Q: What do you love most about your work and being a part of Hilldale & Crescendo?

A:We love serving people and bringing people together! We feel like we have been able to do that really well at Hilldale and are so excited to be able to get going again. We have missed so many of the merchants, employees, staff and customers and are excited welcome everyone back and IN to our store.”

Q: What’s one positive thing that came out of the shutdown?

A: “The “Safer at Home” order allowed us to see outside of the bounds of four walls and serve people at their doorsteps! We personally delivered beans and bottles of handcrafted beverages to people’s homes so that they could have a little piece of something, that was seemingly, lost in all this chaos.”

Q: What are you most excited to do once you’re back?

A: “PEOPLE! Seeing them, hearing them, catching up!”

Q: What’s one interesting fact about your business that you want your customers to know?

A: “We started roasting our own coffee in October using a state of the art Bellwether, zero emissions coffee roaster. We are now serving 100% Crescendo roasted coffee in both of our cafes!!”

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EVEREVE

NAME: Robin, Katherine  (and team)  TITLE: Manager & Asst. Manager

Q: What do you love most about your work and being a part of Hilldale & EVEREVE?

A: “Playing with fashion! We are so lucky to spend our day styling and helping customers find the joy in fashion!  Teaching people how to dress for their body type, play with trends, and mix and match pieces is what makes our job fulfilling. “

Q: What’s one positive thing that came out of the shutdown?

A: “It’s been really humbling to watch our business evolve and respond to the new retail climate. We have launched new services like curbside pickup and returns, virtual styling, and dressing room to go. And in many ways it’s brought us closer to our customers as we navigate creative shopping together. “

Q: What are you most excited to do once (or have done since) you’re back?

A: “Reconnecting with our customers! The best  part of our job is building relationships with our customers. It’s so rewarding to create a genuine friendship that goes beyond just selling clothes. We missed them!”

Q: What’s one interesting fact about your business that you want your customers to know?

A: “We just launched a new service called Dressing Room to Go. It’s a great option for someone who may not be comfortable trying on in store. Pick up your curated box of up to 15 items, try it all on at home, and you only pay for what you keep!”

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The University Book Store

NAME: JC Horgan (and team)  TITLE: Manager 

Q: What do you love most about your work and being a part of Hilldale & UBS?

A: “Atmosphere. There are always events going on, and Hilldale has a great community feel.”

Q: What’s one positive thing that came out of the shutdown?

A: “Seeing the community beginning to come out of quarantine with new life. Just being happy to be out and about!”

Q: What are you most excited to do once you’re back?

A: “ Getting back to a routine and some normality back in the community!”

Q: What’s one interesting fact about your business that you want your customers to know?

A: ” We are locally run and operated, and have been for 126 years.”

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LUSH

NAME: Erica & Lorelei   TITLE: Manager & Co-Manager

Q: What do you love most about your work and being a part of Hilldale & LUSH?

A: “We love working with Lush to create a cosmetics revolution to save the planet. Things like less packaging, sustainable and ethical sourcing, fighting animal testing…the list goes on!
Being a part of Hilldale allows us to engage with the community and our shop neighbors. We participate in Hilldale events (press your own bath bomb, private parties, product demonstrations etc.) and build awareness around our company values, new products, and who we are as people!”

Q: What’s one positive thing that came out of the shutdown?

A: “Erica (right) expanded her tech skills and temporarily joined our customer care team and participated in online product consultations. Lorelei (left) spent time with her little one and only snapped one time about their online learning!

Q: What are you most excited to do once you’re back?

A: “We are so excited to see our regular customers, befriend new ones, and learn the retail ropes during these wild times!”

Q: What’s one interesting fact about your business that you want your customers to know?

A: ” Every Lush employee knows a secret handshake. 😉 And Lush invented the bath bomb!”

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LUCKY BRAND

NAME: Jill   TITLE: Manager

Q: What do you love most about your work and being a part of Hilldale & Lucky?

A: ” I have the most amazing team ever!!! They love our product our customers and each other- they have truly become friends for life by meeting at Lucky. Second would be our customers- I’ve had the privilege of dressing some of our customers for close to 18 years. It’s been quite the experience to build and maintain relationships all though years. And especially watching how their style changes with the times!!”

Q: What’s one positive thing that came out of the shutdown?

A: “ It definitely is a different time selling right now- the trust is so strong now in our fashion expertise- if we are selling over FaceTime, on the sales floor or over the phone.”

Q: What are you most excited to do once you’re back?

A: “ I can’t wait to actually hug some of our customers we haven’t seen since we’ve been closed.”

Q: What’s one interesting fact about your business that you want your customers to know?

A: ” All our jeans say “Lucky you” inside the zipper or button fly- have since day one in 1990 till now.”

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ULLA EYEWEAR

NAME: Amy & Margot    TITLE: Store Manager & Sales Manager

Q: What do you love most about your work and being a part of Hilldale & Ulla Eyewear?

A: “Ulla Eyewear is an incredible blend of quality product, personalized service and a fun, unique atmosphere. For me the best part of my work is YOU! The customer is the best part – meeting people from all walks, learning about you and helping solve your problems.
Being part of Hilldale has allowed us as a small business a greater reach in the Madison and beyond.”

Q: What’s one positive thing that came out of the shutdown?

A: For us we used the first month and a half before we began seeing customers in the store again to really dive into our processes and fine tune things. We were able to have more frequent staff meetings (at the appropriate distances of course) and tackle projects that we had put to the side.”

Q: What are you most excited to do once you’re back?

A:We are back! And it feels great! I’m excited to start see customers again! I love connecting with people, helping solve problems and boosting their confidence!”

Q: What’s one interesting fact about your business that you want your customers to know?

A: “All the brands we work with are independently owned! We proudly feature small batch, hand crafted frame!”

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BLENDED

NAME: Ashley    TITLE: Owner

Q: What do you love most about your work and being a part of Hilldale & Blended?

A: I love being surrounded by like-minded business owners & store managers that have a passion to serve our community and customers.

Q: What’s one positive thing that came out of the shutdown?

A: I have been amazed at my team rallying through the uncertainty of the last couple of months.  They take every day in stride and I truly couldn’t have gotten through it without them!

Q: What are you most excited to do once (or have done since) you’re back?

A: Fortunately, we were able to keep our doors open during shutdown, but now we are excited to have Hilldale lively again.  We missed everyone!

Q: What’s one interesting fact about your business that you want your customers to know?

A: I am so proud of the limited ingredients we use to make our product: fruit, granola, and a little honey.  It’s the combination of the simplest ingredients that make the best products!

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CYCLEBAR

NAME: Savannah (and Chris, Katie & Mariah)    TITLE: Manager and Cyclestars

Q: What do you love most about your work and being a part of Hilldale & Cyclebar Madison?

A: “Hands down the community!”

Q: What’s one positive thing that came out of the shutdown?

A: “We got to collaborate with other local, small business and put together some amazing giveaways.”

Q: What are you most excited to do once you’re back?

A: RIDE!”

Q: What’s one interesting fact about your business that you want your customers to know?

A: “Our rides are for everyone! Come in, try us out, and be a part of the Cyclebar Madison community!”

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UNTUCKit

NAME: Kelli & Megann    TITLE: Store Manager & Assistant Manager

Q: What do you love most about your work and being a part of Hilldale & UNTUCKit?

A: “The amazing team at UNTUCKit and the customers we connect with on a daily basis!  We provide such a unique experience in shopping for the perfect shirt designed to be worn untucked.  As the only UNTUCKit store located at Hilldale in Madison, we have the opportunity to meet and interact with so many wonderful customers from within this community as well as many surrounding communities.”

Q: What’s one positive thing that came out of the shutdown?

A: “The shutdown gave each of us the opportunity to focus on ourselves personally, to be appreciative and grateful.  As a business, it allowed us the time to launch exciting new initiatives that enhance our customer’s experience, including Live Chat, “Shop your Store” with contactless pickup, and Same Day Delivery service within approved zip codes.”

Q: What are you most excited to do once you’re back?

A: “We are excited to be open!  We look forward to welcoming back and catching up with our regular customers while also meeting and introducing UNTUCKit to new customers!”

Q: What’s one interesting fact about your business that you want your customers to know?

A: “Our signature UNTUCKit shirts have that just-right length, 50+ fits for every shape & size, contoured hemline, reinforced collars and our signature sail.  Everyone can enjoy a polished look and casual, comfortable feel.  Stop by and let us help you find your perfect fit!”

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Gigi’s Cupcakes

NAME: Kimmy & Larry Lechner (and team)    TITLE: Owners

Q: What do you love most about your work and being a part of Hilldale & Gigi’s Cupcakes?

A: “We love spreading happiness and joy through the Madison community one cupcake at a time at Gigi’s Cupcakes Madison! We have such a diverse offering of shops at Hilldale, and it is so fun to be a little added piece of joy as folks walk around.”

Q: What’s one positive thing that came out of the shutdown?

A: “The resiliency of the Madison community and local shop owners has been incredible. We’ve all adapted to offering more pickup, delivery, and at-home options. We may not have thought to offer DIY Cupcake Kits or Virtual Cake Auctions, and these have been SO popular!! We also are seeing events and celebrations change – they are still happening, and now we might do more cakes for a smaller family-only celebration, or individually-wrapped cupcakes for a drive-by birthday party. The creativity of the human spirit is unending, and we love to be a part of that!”

Q: What are you most excited to do once (or have done since) you’re back?

A: “The summer weather is gorgeous, and we have brought out our bright pink patio furniture for outdoor seating! We also have been taking the food trailer to local pop-up events.”

Q: What’s one interesting fact about your business that you want your customers to know?

A: “We have hundreds of cupcake flavors we can make!! If you don’t see it on the menu, we likely still offer it for custom orders, such as cakes or dozen cupcakes. This includes vegan, gluten-friendly, dairy-free, and other options!”

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Morgan’s Shoes

NAME: Jeff and Kelly    TITLE: Owner & Sales Manager

Q: What do you love most about your work and being a part of Hilldale & Morgan’s Shoes?

A: “At Morgan’s we love being part of the community, seeing our friends and helping people feel better and function better with good footwear and foot accessories.”

Q: What’s one positive thing that came out of the shutdown?

A: “There was a lot of quality family time, Jeff, got to spend almost every day with his two daughters Kelly, pictured & Jennifer. “

Q: What are you most excited to do now that you’re back?

A: “We are so excited to see all of you, see what you’ve been up to, have you come in and check out all of the fun summer items to keep you busy and active during this “make your own fun” kind of summer.”

Q: What’s one interesting fact about your business that you want your customers to know?

A: “Our team we operate with is a family, most of us have worked together for over 15 years. Morgan’s is a one location, locally owned shoe store. That’s very rare these days, with most shoe stores being corporate owned, Morgan’s has made it over 65 years!”

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Morgan’s New Balance

NAME: Irv & Jen    TITLE: Owner & Sales Manager

Q: What do you love most about your work and being a part of Hilldale & New Balance?

A: “At New Balance Madison, we love meeting people and hearing about their activities or involvements, whether it be running, walking, pickle ball or Zumba. We love seeing and hearing what the shoes you got from us are being used for!”

Q: What’s one positive thing that came out of the shutdown?

A: “We got a lot more physical activity which was great to clear our heads. Irv and Jennifer both have dogs so they loved all the attention they got over quarantine, with walks and hiking! Irv has a 3 year old Chow, Alexa and Jennifer has two labs, a 3 year old, Arrow and a 2 year old Forrest.”

Q: What are you most excited to do now that you’re back?

A: “Get back on track, incorporating new routines into old ones and finding what’s best for us. Seeing our friends and customers out and about, seeing those smiling faces, under masks of course! Seeing what new hobbies and activities they’ve picked up over our break.”

Q: What’s one interesting fact about your business that you want your customers to know?

A: “New Balance Madison is a locally and independently owned store, we are associated with Morgan’s Shoes which means we are always trying to find the perfect fit, feel, function and look for all of our customers. The shoe needs to keep up with you, not the other way around. New Balance Madison was also the second ever New Balance licensed store to ever open!”

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Morgan’s Stride Rite

NAME: Gaea & Lena    TITLE: Sales Team

Q: What do you love most about your work and being a part of Hilldale & Stride Rite?

A: “Morgans Stride Rite loves seeing children grow up, we get to help fit them with their first pairs of shoes, then we see them off to high school or college, with sneakers or Birkenstocks. We get to grow up with them, and be a part of their lives.”

Q: What’s one positive thing that came out of the shutdown?

A: “Gaea (right) did a lot of gardening, and kayaking. While Lena (left) got to spend a lot of time with her puppy, Albert and her family also adopted another puppy, Gus.  Being alone or secluded really gives you an opportunity to find what’s important to you and find yourself. “

Q: What are you most excited to do now that you’re back?

A: “Getting back in the swing of having a schedule, while getting to see all the kiddos who are due for size check ups, and hearing about your vacations, camping trips or summer activities!”

Q: What’s one interesting fact about your business that you want your customers to know?

A: “Morgan’s Stride Rite is one of the very few remaining independently owned Stride Rite stores, you have to travel quite a few miles for the next children’s sit and fit shoe store. Children’s feet being properly fit is the foundation for how their feet will grow and shape for the rest of their adult lives, with that being said, it’s very important to stop in every 3 months to get them re-checked!”

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Twigs

NAME: Anne (and team)    TITLE: Store Manager

Q: What do you love most about your work and being a part of Hilldale & Twigs?

A: “I love that Twigs is one of an assortment of locally-owned independent stores within the Hilldale community of carefully curated national brands.  We have some great neighbors, and together we provide a phenomenal mix of goods & services for the Madison area!”

Q: What’s one positive thing that came out of the shutdown?

A: “Customers reaching out personally with messages of gratitude and support!  It’s blown me away.”

Q: What are you most excited to do now that you’re back?

A: “Get back to the business of helping people find the perfect thing, safely in person, rather than through a telephone or computer!”

Q: What’s one interesting fact about your business that you want your customers to know?

A: “Next year will be our 20th anniversary.  We’ve been a part of the community for almost two decades and we’re not going anywhere!”

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Cafe Hollander

NAME: Joey (and team)    TITLE: General Manager

Q: What do you love most about your work and being a part of Hilldale & Cafe Hollander?

A: “I love the amazing staff that we have, that have stuck with us through this difficult time.  The team is adapting everyday and strives to provide the best service while keeping the customers, themselves and the rest of our team safe. They rock!”

Q: What’s one positive thing that came out of the shutdown?

A: “Even with having to close briefly, we were able to hold on to some great team members and welcome back our outstanding managers.  And the support from Madison when we re-opened for carryout was amazing- we love this place!  Now we are re-opened and limited capacity and it’s been great to see our loyal customers return!”

Q: What are you most excited to do now that you’re back?

A: “Getting our team back to work and doing what we do best, serving Madison! We have worked hard to step up our game and strive to provide a safe and memorable experience for guests dining with us or grabbing carryout.  We are so excited to see familiar faces and welcome diners back once they’re comfortable!”

 Q: What’s one interesting fact about your business that you want your customers to know?

A: “Our menu has changed a bit since we shut down, but in a good way! We brought back many favorite items and have some delicious new ones for you to try!”