A new store is set up at Deberge’s Framing and Gallery, 2008 63rd St.
The Sgt. Pickers, which will hold an open house on Saturday, November 12 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Customers can enter the store inside a store by passing through the west entrance of Deberge’s and through the door to what was once a storage and display space for the gallery.
Store operator John Henken, the husband of Barb DeBerge, co-owner of Deberge’s Framing and Gallery, said he got the idea from Sgt. Pickers several months ago when buying vintage items.
“For the past three years, I tried to figure out my next chapter, until I met this guy,” Henken said, picking up a porcelain cookie jar designed to look like a soldier in an IDF uniform. army. “It just grabbed my imagination; I started thinking I could form a store around it.
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Over the next four and a half months, Henken said he began to pull the store together and now has an eclectic collection of vintage items, art, furniture, shoes and clothing, mostly on 1940s and 50s theme.
“It’s a celebration of veterans,” Henken said. “The men and women in service and what they give us.”
Henken, a retired industrial designer, said he wanted the items to be beautiful in their simplicity, something special to buy for their “savvy” clientele.
“I want it to be that jacket that puts a smile on your face at an event, that chair that is the showpiece of your living room,” Henken said. “And I want to do it with a sense of humor.”
Both his wife Barb and sister Kim supported the idea from the start. As the two stores are attached, they hope each will help strengthen the other, bringing in new customers who may not have gone to one or the other.
“It’s exciting; we’re guilty of being more female-centric, so that’s good,” Kim DeBerge said. “It should be a very symbiotic relationship.”
Kim said she sees this as a rebirth of the Uptown community, and Barb said it will be a “new adventure” for them and the Uptown community.
“It adds an element to the store that we never had or even thought we had,” said Barb DeBerge.
Henken, who first met Barb several years ago while stuck in traffic outside the store, said the store was his way of giving back to the city.
“I came to Kenosha 15 years ago (and) the community welcomed me with open arms,” Henken said. “So this store is also a love letter to Kenosha.”