WAUWATOSA — The inventory inside of Hyde Park MKE in Wauwatosa isn't something you will find inside of a big box store. Many of the clothes, jewelry, candles masks, and more are from artists and designers in the Milwaukee area -- many owned by women.
"I've worked really hard for it to be this way," said owner," Sydney Sanger.
"I knew that I would regret it if I didn't take it over," she said.
Six and a half years ago, Sanger took over her grandfather's tailoring and dry cleaning business.
"My grandpa was a tailor in Germany and he worked as a tailor here then when he got to Milwaukee, he bought this tailoring business that I still own in 1960," Sanger explained.
"His brother helped him too. He was also a tailor and actually so my great uncle, his brother, still helps me with some of the tailoring today, which is awesome," she said.
When Sanger took over space, she added a boutique to the business -- a women's clothing and accessories store that strives to be inclusive.
"We recently got a small section of men and non-binary/unisex clothes," she said.
At the start of COVID-19, Sanger says business was slow. But she put her sewing skills to work and started making masks. She's made five thousand at last count.
"Luckily I have a great community in Wauwatosa that supports me," she said.
Throughout it all, Sanger has felt connected to her community and welcomed. So, seeing other Asian Americans targeted in more hate crimes has been heartbreaking. It's made her re-examine her own experience.
"Even as an Asian person, it's totally different thinking of all the things people have said to you you're whole entire life and then now realizing that it is actually racist. It's eye-opening," Sanger said.
Sanger is focusing on the good. A year plus into the pandemic, many proms and weddings are back on. Demand for tailoring at her business is high.
Allowing her to take care of her loyal customers and keep her business and all of its history alive.
"I feel like I am already a part of the community and hopefully that won't change."
"I feel very lucky," she said.