Local lifestyle brand MilwaukeeHome has been sold to the operator of menswear store Harleys in Milwaukee's Historic Third Ward. Green Bay-based HH Clothing Co. purchased the business from owner Steph Davies for an undisclosed price. The transaction closed Jan. 22, said Jeff Brand, COO of Harleys and MilwaukeeHome. The change in ownership comes just about a year and a half after Davies took over MilwaukeeHome from founder Melissa Thornton, who launched the brand in 2011. Davies owns home decor and gift shop The Waxwing on Milwaukee's East Side, and is a mother to three young children. She decided to sell MilwaukeeHome after struggling to devote enough time and resources to growing the brand. "I felt pulled in three different directions...," she said. "It's one these brands that has all the potential in the world, but you really need to tap into it." HH Clothing Co. approached Davies about buying MilwaukeeHome late last year after she announced that the business' National Avenue storefront would close and the brand would relocate to The Waxwing. Harleys had been carrying MilwaukeeHome products at its new Third Ward store since early December. After receiving positive feedback from customers and on social media, Harleys COO Jeff Brand became interested in acquiring the business. Under its new ownership, MilwaukeeHome's "DNA" will remain, Brand said, with classic styles and favorites like its ionic 'MKE Home' t-shirts, but new items will be added to the product line. And plans are in the works to expand the brand's footprint across Milwaukee and Wisconsin. "We were able to buy a bunch of trademarks for other cities from the original owner of MilwaukeeHome, with the plan in the near future to expand to other cities in Wisconsin and in other states," Brand said. MilwaukeeHome will expand first into Green Bay, which is where HH Clothing's corporate offices and menswear store Haberasher Co. are located. Although the MilwaukeeHome product line differs from the high-end brands Harleys is known for, Brand said it complements the store's existing offerings. "There are people that are now looking to buy this product in store and since it's no longer available (on National Avenue), they're going to come to our store," Brand said. "It's a nice complement to what we're doing and it drives business right to our store." Davies believes the new owners can carry the torch while taking the brand to new heights. "(Selling the business) seemed like a really good way to keep it going in its best and fullest capacity, and also for me to lighten my load a little bit," she said. MilwaukeeHome products will continue to be sold at The Waxwing, and Davies will remain involved in the business for a year or two as a creative consultant.
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