Tip Top Atomic Shop

In the Neighborhood

Tip Top Atomic Shop storefront.

Tip Top Atomic Shop 

2343 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., Milwaukee   

Neighborhood: Bay View

Founded: 2001

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Owners: Jim and Lisa Dutcher

Employees: Two

Industry: Vintage/resale retail

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Where do you get your items?

“We acquire items from multiple sources, but our best is from the public who stops in and says ‘My grandma, aunt, or mom has items. Do you buy?’ We are also finding more and more what we call ‘second owners,’ which are people who bought vintage clothing in the 1980s,’90s and now no longer wear it and now want to see these items go on to a third owner who will enjoy wearing the items.”

Tip Top Atomic Shop sells array of vintage items.

What draws customers in to your store?

“Our customers tell us all the time that we have such fun and unique items. You will find the typical cocktail shakers, glassware, blenders and ceramics. But we also carry kitsch items such as starburst clocks, tiki mugs and boomerang ashtrays. We also like to think we keep the items very affordable.”

What are your best-selling/most popular items?

“By far, it’s the vintage clothing. It appeals to all age groups, from 17 to 70 year olds.”

What cool/unique item has stood out to you over the years?

“We sold a Heywood Wakefield china cabinet which was like brand new. It’s great to find furniture that is over 70 years old in near mint condition. The mid-century ceiling lamps are also fantastic, with tear drop glass shades in multi-colors.”

Do you have a business philosophy?

“‘Buy it when you see it.’ We found in this business that because items are so unique, they don’t stick around very long. So we tend to impulse-buy our inventory. We love it when a customer connects with a treasure and walks out of the shop with a huge smile.”

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