Although his furniture store is closing after 27 years, Stu Duchow is still in business.
He recently opened Stu’s Design Center at N2329 State Highway 22, approximately a quarter mile south of the County QQ and State 22 intersection.
At 62 years old, Duchow said he is not ready to retire, but he does plan to focus his efforts on the design, sales and installation of flooring, window treatments and custom cabinetry and step away from the furniture business.
“It was getting too much for one person to manage,” Duchow said.
Duchow has been involved in the flooring business for 47 years.
“I started laying floors when I was 15 years. My dad passed away when I was 8, so I had to get a job,” Duchow said. “I worked for the man who buried my father.”
At the time, the furniture store in Duchow’s home town of Brillion was also a funeral home. Duchow installed flooring for the company and, when he turned 16, drove ambulance for it.
He installed flooring for a living after he moved to Waupaca in 1968.
Then, in 1973, Duchow opened a carpet shop in downtown Waupaca. Nine months later, he purchased Bammels Furniture Store.
In 1994, Duchow moved his store, Stu’s Home Interiors, to Furman Drive on Waupaca west side. A year later, the store caught fire. Duchow rebuilt and reopened his business in 1998.
Stu’s Design Center employs five people, as well as working with four crews of installers. Duchow himself works on the installation of the flooring.
Custom design is a key element of the services available at Duchow’s new business.
Sue Schroeder is the design consultant that specializes in flooring and Nancy Peck is the design consultant for the window treatments.
“We go to a customer’s home to asses their needs, help them pick out colors and fabrics, and take measurements,” Peck said. “We then put together a design proposal.”
There is no charge for the design work.
The display rooms feature samples of the lines of carpet, vinyl flooring and ceramic tiles available through Stu’s Design Center.
Duchow, who remodeled the building’s interior himself, has installed a wide variety of the different types of flooring so that customers can see larger product samples.
Window treatments and cabinetry will soon be included in the display rooms.
A new product line that has excited the staff at Stu’s Design Center is the Mohawk Smart Strand carpet. Its fiber is made from recycled plastic bottles. The manufacturer tested the product’s durability and ability to be cleaned by installing the carpet in a zoo where six elephants, three camels and a rhino lived on it for more than a month.
The carpet withstood more than 1,000 pounds of animal waste a day,” Duchow said. “And it cleans better than normal carpeting.”
He noted that Mohawk is recycling more than 14,000 pounds of plastic per day to make the product.
Stu’s Design Center will feature its complete line of products at an open house scheduled from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 10. Refreshments will be available and consultants will be on hand throughout the day.
For more information, call 715-258-3333.