211 N. Broadway, Milwaukee
Neighborhood: Historic Third Ward
Owner: Doug McDonald
What inspired the idea for Mod Gen?
McDonald: “Mod Gen was known as the Garden Room up in Shorewood for about 15 years before we moved down here. Garden Room always had a diversity of materials but the focus was heavily on the garden side: garden statuary, exterior garden, urns and pots. We loved that, but there was always a smattering of everything else: paper goods, kids’ toys and interior design. As we grew over the years, we realized that the breadth of what we were buying and what we liked really didn’t fit the Garden Room name. People would call us and they would want woodchips. We were like, ‘There’s a disconnect that’s happening here.’ After 15 years or so we decided that we were going to rebrand and the concept of the Modern General store, or the general store, really seemed to fit the diversity of what we liked and what we were going for. So, that’s where we landed on the new name: ‘ModGen’ for ‘Modern General.’”
Do you have any tips for managing a houseplant?
“We give lots of tips for houseplants. Here you get your top 10 questions and we guide people through those issues. Where are you putting it? What direction does your window face? Are you a really attentive plant person? Or are you not? We go through all of those questions with the customer so we can tailor the right plant for them because we want people to have success with it.”
If you had to describe Mod Gen in one word, what would it be?