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Penzeys Spices owner takes over parents' former spice shop in Wauwatosa

Shop Talk

The Journal Sentinel business department follows developments in the local retail industry

Dec. 21, 2011

By Rick Romell of the Journal Sentinel

Dec. 21, 2011 0

William Penzey Jr. has taken over the small spice shop his father and mother opened in Wauwatosa and is looking to rename it eventually and incorporate a tribute to his parents inside.

William Penzey Sr., a sort-of philosopher-spice merchant who with his wife, Ruth, started a business in 1957 that blossomed into a Milwaukee institution, died in September 2010 at age 78.
By then, his legacy had been firmly established, with son William Jr. at the head of the growing Penzeys Spices chain and daughter Patty Erd and her husband, Tom, running a separate firm, The Spice House, with five locations in Milwaukee and greater Chicago.
Now, William Jr. has purchased the business in Wauwatosa that his parents opened in 1988 as a way to ease into retirement.
“I’d like to create a space that really is dedicated to them,” William Jr. said of his plans for the interior of the 1,600-square-foot store.
But it will be a retail outlet too and carry the Penzeys name. The Glenview Ave. location had been called The Spice House, the business name William Sr. and Ruth used for years, but Penzey said he probably will fold some local geography into the new title and call the shop Penzeys Kavanaugh Hill.
Penzeys Spices, also based in Wauwatosa, includes 65 stores in 28 states, and employs just over 500 people, William Jr. said. A year and a half ago, the company had about 50 locations and 400 employees, he said.
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About Rick Romell

Rick Romell covers retail and general business news.

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