The Magic Hour
A Very Personal History of State Street

By Janice Durand

ISBN: 978-1-955656-50-4


Starting a store sounded like fun, sort of like putting on a play. I’d get to write the script, design the production, be the lead actor, hire people I liked, and direct the whole thing! After a year of answering to bureaucrats in my job as coordinator of the new State Street Mall, it would be wonderful to be the boss of everything. But what about afterward? What if the show wasn’t a hit? What if I couldn’t pull a salary out of it?

Later in my career, I would understand that luck and timing were big factors in my success. In 1979, I had no grasp of national economics, but I did have a sense of something afoot. A strong new business cycle was brewing that few saw coming. I would open my store on State Street on the cusp of a retail boom at the height of the American Century, although I had only a faint sense of that yet.

Nor did I have any idea that within a decade, it would all start to fall apart.


264 page softcover

ABOUT THE AUTHOR - Janice Durand

In 1974, Janice Durand wrote Getting the Most Out of Madison, a guide to the city. After coordinating events on the new State Street Mall for a year, she opened the Puzzlebox, a toy store for all ages, at 230 State Street, in 1979.  Durand added locations in Milwaukee and St. Louis in the next eight years, and in 1990 opened Little Luxuries, a gift and accessories store, just half a dozen spaces up the street from the Puzzlebox.