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Walking into The Farmer's Daughter Collection, 380 W. Main St., is a little like crossing a cultural threshold.

That's because everything that's for sale inside the new art store — which had its grand opening in April and is occupying the space previously filled by the River's End Gallery — isn't from around here.

The store offers handmade jewelry, pottery and artifacts from American Indian artists based in Arizona and New Mexico.

In fact, the only thing in the shop that might be a Wisconsin product is the store's owner, Lynn Pfeil, who said her mother began collecting many of the various pieces now on display in the store many years ago.

'They're all quality items,' said Pfeil, a Vernon resident. 'You can't find them anywhere.'

That is, anywhere except the Farmer's Daughter.

Family ties

Pfeil's affinity for the art and artifacts of American Indians stems from her mother.

'She's the one who got me interested,' Pfeil said.

She explained that once their collection was large enough, she rented out a hall in Mukwonago on several occasions to try to sell some of the pieces. But she quickly realized that wasn't a sustainable business plan.

'It was too, too, too much work,' she said. 'It just wore you out.'

So that's when she considered looking for a more permanent location for her wares and came across the River's End space on West Main Street.

'It just all fell together, piece by piece,' Pfeil said.

The collection

The Farmer's Daughter offers a fairly wide selection of American Indian art, jewelry, rugs and cultural artifacts.

Much of the jewelry is sterling silver and adorned with turquoise, coral, lapis, hematite, citrine, amber and quartz gemstones. The pottery includes pieces created by Santa Clara, Navajo, Jemez and Hopi artists. A selection of sand art, handmade rugs and kachina dolls is also available.

'From what I understand, there aren't really any other stores in the area that are selling this kind of stuff,' Pfeil said. 'It's basically one-of-a-kind in the Waukesha area.'

The store has limited hours, for now, but Pfeil said she would like to expand them.

The spring and summer store hours are 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday.

Construction concern?

River's End owner Joan Skimmons said late last year that she was closing her Waukesha location after nine years due to declining sales, partially a result of ongoing construction.

Construction in front of the store was completed last summer, but is again in full swing along Main Street just east of the Farmer's Daughter.

When asked during a recent interview if she was concerned about how the ongoing road work might affect her business, Pfeil said she was waiting to see how things played out before rushing to judgment.

'I'm taking the wait-and-see approach,' she said. 'There's still a lot of foot traffic through the area, and I think if people realize I'm there, and with the quality of the merchandise (we have), I think we'll be fine.'

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