On a recent adventure to the Badger State I made a long overdue visit to Context, one the best independent shops in the country. Owners (and brothers) Ben & Sam Parker, and Ryan Huber have built a truly unique destination for menswear aficionados in Madison, and of course for the rest of us across the internet. It was a real pleasure to finally check the place out and see first hand how nice the shop really is.
I didn’t end up getting into Madison until the evening after Context had closed, but Ryan sent me a text on my way into town saying he and some of the fellas were going to be re-merchandising the store until late and that I should come on by after dinner to get together and grab some beers. Eventually I made my way over and we spent a-while shooting the shit before heading down the block for some refreshments. At the bar the conversation continued and the topics drifted from boxing to denim, from the challenges and pleasures of running a shop and everything in between. Before long it was time for me to head to the hotel and for Ryan and the others to head back to finish getting the store back in shape for business.
The next day, once everything was back in order and the store was looking great, I went back by to take some snaps and see how the half-beer-soaked re-merch turned out. I was really impressed with what Sam and Ryan have done with Context, and I was also impressed with the area as a whole. Madison definitely lives up to its reputation as an amazingly livable city. I can see that – after only spending a few nights there – that the place is really great. Lots of charm and cool old spots, coupled with good old Midwestern down-to-earth-sensibilities. And of course, the Context folks fit right into that mix. Laid back and accommodating, you can tell they love what they do and are in it for the right reasons. A refreshing combination and worth a trip to Wisconsin to experience. Shit, I bet they would even take you out for beers. [Context]