Madison style

Monroe Street’s Hive sells clothes that dress up or dress down, and stay eco-conscious


FEBRUARY 15, 2018

There aren’t many folks in town with more outdoor apparel experience than Pam Schwarzbach and Troy Kattreh. As co-owners of The Ascentials, an independent sales agency, they have represented some of the most familiar brands in the business, like Mountain Hardwear and Chaco, for more than 20 years.

So when the married couple saw the opportunity to hang an awning, or in this case two, above their very own shop dedicated to all things fashionable as well as functional, they jumped at the chance.

Hive opened in November in the 1,700-square-foot L-shaped space formerly home to Lucca Clothing on Monroe Street, across Harrison Street from Trader Joe’s.

“We knew the Monroe Street community felt the loss of A Stone’s Throw and Twigs when it came to apparel shopping,” Kattreh says. “We are filling a void, but in our own unique way.”

The store carries an impressive selection of both men’s and women’s active attire and fully embraces this city’s aesthetic. “Madison is known as an active town and our patrons represent this,” Schwarzbach says. “At least half of our customers so far live in the neighborhood and they’re walking or biking here. They want to be fashionable, but in a way that reflects this lifestyle choice.”

National brands Patagonia and Prana have proven popular so far at Hive, but many smaller, lesser-known labels have done equally well. “We’ve seen tremendous success with DUER, a Canadian line of fashion-forward performance apparel,” Kattreh says. “Our male customers are particularly excited about their ‘No Sweat Pant,’ which presents as a sophisticated work pant, but has so much stretch, it’s kind of like wearing pajamas.” And it’s made in numerous cuts and colors.

The DUER no sweat pant fits with Madison’s casual style.

DUER’s Dish Denim line for women offers the same look as high-end jeans, but are 30 percent lighter and stronger than their designer counterparts. Schwarzbach touts the fact that they’re made with Coolmax, which both evaporates and repels moisture: “You could run or do yoga in these, then spill coffee on them and wipe it right up.” Sounds like a plan.

Items from SmartWool and Ibex have also been big sellers this winter, as have boiled wool jackets with cute asymmetrical cuts from Portland, Oregon’s Nau.

Hive tries to stock brands that want to do good. “Most labels in the outdoor industry pledge to act ethically in terms of their stance on environmental and labor issues,” Kattreh notes. “If there’s polyester, it likely to be recycled. Workers are fairly compensated. These practices are extremely important to our customers and to us.”

Jackets from Nau are designed in Portland, Oregon.

Both longtime near-west-side residents, the owners would love for the store to become the den of community and energy its name promises. They’ve started offering bi-weekly in-store yoga classes and hope to become a resource for people wanting to bring more activity into their lives. But most important for the couple is that the store is approachable. “Active or not, fashion-conscious outdoor apparel offers so many benefits,” Schwartzbach says. “I want our customers to realize that you can dress nicely and still stay really warm.”

Shopping and Style

Hive of Madison is buzzing on Monroe

New shop features outdoor and lifestyle brands


Posted: Dec 14, 2017 02:17 PM CST

If you’ve driven down Monroe Street the past couple of weeks, you might have noticed a new bright yellow awning.

The interior of Hive is just as welcoming as you could imagine from a place with such a cheerful awning.

Hive of Madison, Monroe Street’s newest retail spot, offers a wide variety of outdoor clothing for both men and women, home accessories, jewelry and other lifestyle products.

Owners Troy Kattreh and Pam Schwarzbach, a husband and wife team, opened the shop to bring outdoor and lifestyle retail to Monroe Street.

As two former residents of Monroe Street, now living in the Regent Street area, they’ve always held the neighborhood near to their hearts and couldn’t pass up the location.

“It’s a neighborhood that has a soul,” Kattreh says. “The neighborhood [and] the people who live in this neighborhood are very supportive, in general, of merchants on this street.”

Through their work experience with The Ascentials, the outdoor brand-focused independent sales representative company the duo founded, Schwarzbach says they’re able to get feedback from retailers on what products and styles working and what might not be on the market. With this insight, Schwarzbach says they’re able to determine what to stock and curate for Hive.

Kattreh says they wanted to bring fresh brands and ones they have personally worked with to Monroe Street, since many of those brands might be not be regularly available at larger area stores.

“We really wanted to offer a unique and curated retail environment here,” Kattreh says. “The brands that we’re carrying we feel do a great job of offering that.”

Some of the brands they sell are Nau, Patagonia, Toad & Co., Smartwool, S’well, Krimson Klover and Pistill. Kattreh says many of the brands use recycled fabrics and keep sustainability at the core of their mission.

When it came to naming their new store, Schwarzbach says she’s always loved the word “Hive” since it evokes a certain buzz of energy. 

After they chose the bright, yellow awning color for the outside of the store, the color ironically ended up being named “liquid honey”—something Schwartzbach calls “almost cheesily too perfect.”

Inside, the wood accents, green, orange and white walls and wooden flooring fit an outdoor-themed shop. With its two entrances, one across from Trader Joe’s and the other next to Strictly Discs, there is plenty to see within the spacious store.

Kattreh says they plan to keep the store consistently evolving. Both see the possibility of offering more home goods like candles and local food products while keeping the outdoors at its core.

“It allows us to go in various directions or continue to expand upon what we are doing without feeling constrained by the name,” Kattreh says.

Maija Inveiss is digital content editor at Madison Magazine.


Hive, an outdoor clothing retailer, adds to the Monroe Street mix

The husband and wife team of Troy Kattreh, left, and Pam Schwarzbach, two longtime sales consultants for national outdoor clothing brands, have opened Hive, a 1,700-square-foot outdoor clothing store at 1904 Monroe St.

Hive not only carries men's and women's outdoor clothing but also gifts.

When road construction makes a mess of Monroe Street for much of 2018, one of the neighborhood's newest stores may be better positioned than most.

Hive, an L-shaped outdoor clothing store next door to Strictly Discs, has two prominent entrances. The main door is at 1904 Monroe Street, but a side entrance around the corner on Harrison Street that faces Trader Joe's also offers high visibility and easy access to the store that opened Nov. 16.

Hive, an outdoor clothing store at 1904 Monroe St., also has this entrance on Harrison St., something that will likely become handy when Monroe Street is torn up for much of 2018 for reconstruction.

The husband and wife team of Pam Schwarzbach and Troy Kattreh, two longtime sales consultants for national outdoor clothing brands, have been thinking for years about the next phase of their careers. So when a 1,700-square-foot retail space became available earlier this year, they made the move to open their own store that sells a wide range of men's and women's clothing, gifts and accessories.

Hive brings outdoor clothing to Monroe St. The 1,700-square-foot store opened Nov. 16 and is located in a space that had been home to Lucca Fine Men's Clothing.

The two entrances are a bonus to the business plan that is based around a vibrant, walkable neighborhood flush with local businesses and nearby residents with disposable income.

"Brick and mortar retail is very much alive in markets where there's discretionary income and people who want to support their local retailers. And this is an example of that," said Kattreh, 47. "It's becoming harder, no question, but it's not dead. We know the neighborhoods, and we felt like this was going to be the best place to put a store."

Hive is located in a space that had been home to Lucca Fine Men's Clothing before it moved this spring to an appointment-based service at 110 E. Main Street. What had been home to high-end suits, shirts and golf wear has been replaced on Monroe Street with flannel shirts, denim, down jackets, wool socks and even a few hammocks.

One of the most prominent brands at the store is Toad & Co., a company that touts its social and environmentally friendly products. It was founded in 1991 in Telluride, Colorado, as Horny Toad. The company, for which Schwarzbach and Kattreh continue to sell for in a nine-state region, changed its name to Toad & Co. in 2015. Other major brands at their Hive store include Patagonia, Lole, SmartWool, Nau and Arc'Teryx. The store also carries jewelry, belts and shoes. 

Hive, 1904 Monroe St., caries a wide range of outdoor clothing brands including those from Toad & Co., Patagonia, Lole, SmartWool, Nau and Arc'Teryx. The store also carries jewelry, belts and shoes.

"You look at the CSA (community supported agriculture) phenomena, the farm to table phenomena, buy local, car share ... there's just so much that's based on being active and engaged in your community," said Schwarzbach, 46. "For us, that's really critical."

Schwarzbach, a native of Sycamore, Illinois, and Kattreh, who grew up in Manitowoc, met at UW-Madison and have been married for 19 years. They worked at Fontana Sports while in college and have been selling for Toad & Co., now based in Santa Barbara, California, for 20 years but live near Glenway Golf Course with their 7-year-old daughter, Isabel.

Hive is located in a space that had been home to Lucca Fine Men's Clothing before it moved this spring to an appointment-based service at 110 E. Main Street. What had been home to high-end suits, shirts and golf wear has been replaced on Monroe Street with flannel shirts, denim, down jackets, wool socks and even a few hammocks.

Now they have their own store, a lease, overhead, eight employees and a new revenue stream without stepping on other locally owned businesses like Fontana, Morgan Shoes and Rutabaga Paddlesports.

"We want to present outdoor brands in a way that you use every day," Schwarzbach said. "I would bet that probably 50 percent of those that we see walk in our door walk past the store everyday. So they need the brands for that functionality. They're not going to be climbing a mountain or going on a 10-day packing trip. They need to be able to walk around town and get to work."