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Wisconsin Parent

Kenosha Business Features Largest Ugly Sweater Collection in Universe

Nov 05, 2014 03:20PM, Published by Julie Henning, Categories: Travel


Bonnie Mirkiewicz (Photo Credit: Kenosha Area CVB)



Ask anyone who has tried to find a last-minute ugly sweater for a holiday party and you’ll hear a tale of thrift shop woe. Speaking from experience, I can tell you what’s hanging on the rack on December 20 either smells like a urinal cake or is missing its tinsel one or more shoulder pads.

Finding herself in a similar situation, Kenosha, Wisconsin citizen and business woman Bonnie Mirkiewicz recognized a niche market and began sourcing sweaters “from everywhere” in order to amass what she describes as the Largest Ugly Christmas Sweater Collection in Universe.

“Last year I was looking for a sweater to wear to an ugly sweater party and found they were all sold out. People were paying $50-60 on eBay. I wanted to find enough to outfit an entire family and also price them fairly,” she said.

Admitting her “largest in the universe” claim was made with absolutely zero market research, Bonnie says her gimmick is just for the fun of it. She currently has 200 sweaters in stock and is quick to point out they are both ugly and lovely, because (after all) beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

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Retiring from her 30 year career as a Psych and Substance Abuse Nurse, Bonnie opened Forever Grateful Resale in Downtown Kenosha just over three and a half years ago. “I wanted to create a place of healing for the community. This has always been on the top of my bucket list,” she explained. The most you will spend on a sweater at Forever Grateful Resale is $25 (kids sweaters are a bargain at $5/each). If you don’t find a sweater you like, ugly vests are available for $15, ugly sweatshirts are also available for $10, and Christmas themed t-shirts are $5.

Bonnie says Forever Grateful Resale is so much more than a traditional resale shop; converting 3000 square feet into a retail consignment space, art gallery, coffee shop, and Christmas display. She adds, “Not everyone loves going into antique stores or art galleries, but we’ve really created a family-friendly environment that connects artists and consignors with the community.”

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Last year’s Polar Vortex was hard on business at Forever Grateful Resale. “Last year it was so cold, people just went to the mall. We’re located just two blocks from the famous Kenosha trolleys and the museums and businesses in downtown Kenosha.” She hopes people come out and see the sweaters and support the other independently-owned businesses in Downtown Kenosha this year.

For more information, visit Forever Grateful Retail on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ForeverGratefulResale

If you want to plan your own ugly sweater mecca, consult the Kenosha Area Convention and Visitors Bureau website: http://www.visitkenosha.com/

You may want to time your visit with these upcoming ugly sweater themed events:

Ugly Christmas Sweater Fashion Show Featuring Downtown Businesses December 12, 7-9 PM at Fusion $10 donation, includes one beverage.

Harborside North Pole Ugly Christmas Pub Crawl December 13, 6-9 PM Free to anyone wearing an ugly Christmas sweater.

I visited Downtown Kenosha with my family last year and was absolutely impressed with the quality of the museums (many are affiliated with the Smithsonian and you won’t fight the big city parking). Of course, you have to ride a trolley around the lakefront if you make it that far! Read about our adventure here: http://www.wisconsinparent.com/kenosha/




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