What does this business do?
We sell rustic country decor and gifts.
What was the impetus for opening this business?
All my kids graduated, and I was just kind of bored. They didn’t have anything like this in Rensselaer. So, instead of in Lafayette or Merrillville, I just kind of made it handy for everybody in Rensselaer.
What is the best thing about being located in Rensselaer?
Being a small city, knowing everybody. They help you out. It’s friendly, homely.
What is the biggest challenge?
Keeping it stocked with what people want, the up-to-date stuff.
What is your busiest time of the year?
Fall, Christmas and spring.
What the most popular thing you sell/service you provide?
Probably candles and gifts.
What is a less popular item/service you would recommend?
My photography maybe (Attitude Studio), because I don’t advertise that. And they don’t realize it until they come in. They just set up an appointment, I go out and shoot — seniors, family, weddings. I tend to like that one-on-one, the smaller end. They don’t really know, because I don’t advertise much about it.
What is the is the thing you most like to do as part of your business?
Get new inventory and decorate and rearrange it.
What is the best thing about owning your own business?
You make your own times.
What is the biggest downside to owning your own business?
You (the owner) have got to be here all the time, well, most of the time.
What is the biggest misconception about your business?
Being here (at this location), they still think it’s like an office supply. This used to be, for years — like 40 or 50 years, I don’t even know — an office supply. They used to fix copiers/printers. They had the pens and paper, all that stuff.
How would you describe your business philosophy?
Honesty is the best policy.
When it comes time to retire, is there a family member who would be taking over for you?
I haven’t even thought that far. All my kids are boys, so I don’t see that. I think, once I’m done, I’m probably done. (I could) maybe hire somebody to come in. I really haven’t thought that far ahead.
How has your business changed over time?
We changed and basically got a bigger spot, a better location closer into town. (We used to be) over by McKinley Avenue, over by the railroad tracks kind of, by the Marathon Gas Station (and) Ron’s Barber Shop. I was like on that corner, Vine Street and McKinley basically.
What advice would you give someone thinking about starting a business?
Just do it. If you can do it, do it. I had been talking to myself, for like years, of doing it but just never did it. (It grew) little by little.