Blue Moon Emporium sells gifts, novelties and clothing   in downtown Appleton.(Photo: Maureen Wallenfang/Post-Crescent Media)

Blue Moon Emporium sells gifts, novelties and clothing in downtown Appleton. (Photo: Maureen Wallenfang/Post-Crescent Media)

It would be highly unusual for any reader to know every single shop in today's column on hidden gems in Fox Cities' business scene. Even after writing about small businesses for a dozen years, I had to look a few up.

Who knew there was a food truck called Broken Tree Pizza in Neenah, or a quirky art/gift gallery south of Stockbridge called The Plaid Squirrel? Those were some of the 48 shops readers recommended in response to my "Monday Question" asking for local finds. They picked a broad range of shops selling antiques to comics to cupcakes.


Reader choices by category:

Gifts/gallery/home decor: Blue Moon Emporium, Scatter Joy, Sweets' Glass Treats, Clee's, Cedar Harbor, Fresh Expressions, The Plaid Squirrel, Wreath Factory, Gathered Earth, A'dore

Antiques/furniture: Fox River Antique Mall, Look Back in Time, Whimsical Charm

Specialty shops: Vintique, Just Act Natural, Marlene's, Yarns by Design, Iris Fine Yarns, Power House Comics, Eco Candle, The Revival, Fleet Feet, Angels Forever/Windows of Light

Services: Sunflower Spa, Bold Salon

Restaurants/food: Cozzy Corner, Happy Bellies Bake Shop, Flanagan's Stop & Shop, Stone Cellar Brewpub, All Seasons Coffeehouse, Home Run Pizza, Broken Tree Pizza, Fat Girlz Bakin.


"Up the street, the whimsical Blue Moon Emporium offers regional artists’ creations, tongue-in-cheek Wisconsin-specific T-shirts and accessories, handmade clothing, jewelry, essential oils and custom lotions, just for starters. But my favorite find at Blue Moon? It had to be the Day of the Dead nesting dolls."

"Wisconsin Residents Put the Heart in Heartland"
The Tampa Tribune
March 2014

"Blue Moon’s owner Cathy Stratton moved to Appleton from California seven years ago, so her West Coast perspective has melded with Midwestern sensibilities. She previously worked at The Fire across the street, and is known for her glass fused jewelry and nightlights that she has sold on Etsy and through local shops, craft shows and farm markets."

"The Buzz: Blue Moon to Open"
The Post-Crescent
May 2013