Coopers Uptown opening in Kenosha

Vicki Seebeck is the general manager of the new Coopers Uptown store in Uptown Kenosha.

Vicki Seebeck is the general manager of the new Coopers Uptown store in Uptown Kenosha.

That’s the feeling Vicki Seebeck is aiming for at Coopers Uptown.

As the general manager of the store — opening Wednesday in the former Jack Andrea gift shop building at 2401 60th St. — Seebeck looks forward to seeing old, and new, customers.

But before we get to all that, here’s an important public service announcement: Free gift wrapping is back.

The gift wrapping service, complete with the signature Andrea’s gold seal, was a favorite in this area for decades.

“When I would go to a gift exchange,” Seebeck said, “we would all try to get the Andrea’s gift.”

As a Kenosha native and longtime local retailer, Seebeck remembers going to Andrea’s Gift Shop to buy cigars for her father or pick out ornaments for her sons.

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That’s why she was thrilled when Jockey representatives approached her about creating a new store in that space.

Seebeck operated the Seebeck Gallery in Pleasant Prairie for 27 years but wasn’t necessarily looking to jump back into a similar business.

“I did some business coaching, which was really rewarding, and I didn’t think I’d be back in retail,” she said Monday at Coopers Uptown. “But this is such a great gig. We want to work off what the Andrea family created for all those years here. We’re going to keep it, expand it and put our own signature on it.”

The store operated on that corner — right across the street from Jockey headquarters — for more than 110 years before closing its doors in June of 2021.

Jockey purchased the building and set about creating “this bright light,” Seebeck said. “We want people to remember when they come here but also create new memories with their friends and family. It’s such a family feeling here, with Jockey and with the Andrea family members, who have been super supportive and helpful.”

Jockey and Andrea’s “had been neighbors for so long, we considered ourselves family,” said Matt Waller, Jockey’s director of corporate communications.

Debra Waller, Jockey’s chairman and CEO, and Mark Fedyk, Jockey’s president and COO, “wanted to continue the investment Jockey has made in this neighborhood over the decades,” Matt Waller said. “Jockey looked at this as a real opportunity.”

Old favourites

Shoppers at Coopers Uptown will find a familiar mix of products — specialty food items and candy, boutique clothing and women’s accessories, lots of home décor and holiday items. Also back: Kenosha-branded items and new “Coopers Uptown” apparel.

“This is a great place to come for wedding gifts and baby shower gifts and to shop for your grandchildren,” Seebeck said. “We tried really hard to source our items locally as much as possible, including our own coffee blend from East View Coffee, which Jenny Ulbricht roasts in Downtown Kenosha.”

The popular walk-in humidor is still there, too, “and we will have outdoor cigar events when the weather gets warmer,” she added.

The café inside the shop will be open for breakfast and lunch, along with a coffee bar and soda fountain.

The menu features “comfort food and simple items,” Seebeck said, including the venue’s traditional favorites: chicken, egg and tuna salad sandwiches, along with homemade soups, chili and sweet treats, including the “Affogato,” a double shot of expresso poured over a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

In a nod to the store’s Jockey ownership, menu items include the “Tighty Whitey Sandwich” and “The Boxer Sandwich.”

The store’s name also refers to Jockey’s origins.

Rev. Samuel T. Cooper opened a knitting business in 1876 to make durable wool socks for lumberjacks, who worked in cold, wet conditions. Eventually, Cooper’s three sons joined the business and moved it to Kenosha, where it has been a local icon for more than 120 years. (In honor of Rev. Cooper and his knitting, look for the “Lumberjack Stack Pancakes” on the breakfast menu, topped with cinnamon butter and Wisconsin maple syrup.)

“It’s been so much fun putting this all together,” Seebeck said of Cooper’s Uptown. “I’m just so excited to see it opening and can’t wait for customers to come in. We’re so happy to see the building bustling again, and I think the building is actually happy, too.”

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