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Happy to Be An Outlier: Moon Bird opens in Ellison Bay for open houses

Stepping into Moon Bird, the new gallery/home adornment space in Ellison Bay, on a grey day, the bright, welcoming colors are a relief to the eyes. The shop, located in the former Sutra Gallery, is a new endeavor for the husband-and-wife team of Jeff and Desiree Bromstad.

Photo by Len Villano.

The couple, who has owned a home in Northport for the past 14 years, bought the building in September of this year and are planning to open in April 2019. Before the start of their inaugural season, the shop is holding open houses on consecutive weekends to introduce itself to the community.

Being familiar with the most northern part of the Door Peninsula, the couple knows there’s something special about Ellison Bay. Desiree said, “The people who venture north of Sister Bay want an adventure,” and it’s a pull that Desiree understands. I feel at home here. I feel like this is the perfect place — it’s for outliers.”

“We’ve always tried to break up with Door County over winter, and every time I go somewhere else, I just have to come back. I miss the forest, the clean air, water and people,” said Desiree. “Some day I decided I would just become part of the earth here.”

Desiree comes from a creative background as a writer, producer and global communications strategist. Opening Moon Bird is her way of approaching her “third act.” She said, “I haven’t had my own dream. The only thing that had been in my heart and soul was being a mom. My dreams are for my kids, but this kinda started growing in my mind.”

Photo by Len Villano.

So when Desiree drove by Sutra earlier this year and saw the “For Sale” sign, it felt like the right time for a change. The leap to owning a retail/gallery space is not completely unfamiliar to Desiree. Visitors and Ellison Bay gallery-goers will recognize her from the past four years working at the Linden Gallery, located less than a mile away from Moon Bird.

Through her career and work at Linden Gallery, she’s developed a keen eye for collecting an eclectic mix of artwork and products. Desiree said she’s aiming to have something for every price range, from $20 items to $3,000 pieces of art. She’s sensitive not to carry what other local retailers carry and is working to build her own unique set of items. The products she will carry are from smaller makers from around the world — places as diverse as Sweden and India — who work with high-quality materials like Japanese cotton, linen, silks, merino and cashmere. Moon Bird currently has clothing, accessories, sculptures, vintage jewelry and repurposed items, such as a pair of Dutch clogs that have been transformed into succulent planters, in stock.

Desiree is also building and searching for artwork to fill up the space. One of the artists she is particularly excited to have found is the work of renowned Door County artist IsAbel Beaudoin, who died in 2009. She currently has two of Beaudoin’s work on display. When talking about how she chooses the art to fill her walls, Desiree said, “I reach out to artists that connect with me, [she gestures to the Beaudoin painting on the easel next her] this style is called naïve and it’s the one I like the most — it’s all heart.”

Photo by Len Villano.

Desiree would also like to extend an invitation to local artists who are not represented in other galleries to consider showing their work at Moon Bird. As worldly as many of the pieces in the shop are, the Bromstads have a love and respect for the art scene in Ellison Bay and Door County. Reach out to Bromstad at 920.854.3311 or 847.702.7761 if you’re an artist without representation, and you might find a home at Moon Bird.

Moon Bird will host holiday open houses on Dec. 15 & 16 and Dec. 22 & 23, 10 am-5 pm. The shop is located at 12044 Hwy 42 in Ellison Bay. For more information, visit moonbirddc.com.

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