Lucky Tree is all about color.
Multicolored flags hang outside the store, and inside, the colors of summer are everywhere.
Michele and Tim Drake are the owners of the new store that is located at 211 N. Main St. in Waupaca’s downtown.
“Our goal was to have items that are more modern, more colorful, so that it would be fun. We want to be unique. We don’t want to duplicate. We want to add to the downtown,” Michele said.
Lucky Tree opened on May 20 and has plenty of items for summer entertaining.
Tim’s favorite is the Confetti dishware by Zak Designs. The retro-inspired line is made of recycled melamine.
“It just looks like a party in a bowl,” he said.
Those who visit the store will also find insulated totes and picnic baskets, glassware and Britto luggage.
“We’re kind of evolving,” Michele said. “We will definitely bring in different things based on the season.”
Opening their own store is something they talked about for some time.
“We finally bit the bullet,” he said.
Tim and Michele are natives of Bloomington, Ind. In the past, they both worked at camps, working with different groups including children who had cancer or were autistic.
They moved to Wisconsin in 1997 and to Waupaca six years ago.
Michele’s father is from the Plover area, and she remembers spending summers on Lake Tomahawk.
“I had a family connection to Wisconsin. After Tim and I were married, I brought him here, and he loved it, too,” she said.
Tim said they have lived in a number of different communities and especially like Waupaca.
“Waupaca is an excellent community,” he said.
They see it as a great place to raise their son, Joe, who just completed third grade and likes to help out at Lucky Tree by washing windows or being near the cash register.
It was at the end of 2010 that the Drakes decided to open the store.
Tim described the building, which is owned by Tim and Bonnie Beck, as being move-in ready.
Since making the decision to start the business, they have been busy choosing items for the space.
While the Confetti dishware is Tim’s favorite item, Michele’s favorites are the Premier kites. The kites have whimsical designs and come in different sizes.
“Our goal,” she said, “was to have a bunch of different sizes so people can enjoy a high-quality kite.”
An area in the store has toys, plush animals and furniture for children.
They like to highlight different authors that have toys or puzzles that can be paired with them for a gift.
“We know Ellen (Davis) at Dragonwings and told her the only books we bought are the ones that came with blocks or puzzles,” Michele said.
Customers will also notice funky frames, wall art, items for babies and cocoa leaf lamps.
The lamps come in five different sizes and also in different colors. They are made by a Fair Trade company in the Philippines, which is something that is important to them.
The furniture they carry in the store is made of pine – right in Eau Claire – and comes in a variety of colors.
Lucky Tree also has puzzles and cards that feature prints of artists that mean something to them. Among them are Wisconsin’s Frank Lloyd Wright and Ohio’s Charley Harper. Michele describes the late Harper as a modern artist whose work often included birds. Her grandmother had a large collection of his prints and some of his originals, and Michele hopes to introduce others to this artist.
In the back of the store is the Happy Rescue Dog line that features frames, magnets, water bottles and dog dishes. One hundred percent of the profit from that line will be donated to the Humane Society of Waupaca County.
Since Joe started first grade, he has done a back-to-school pet drive for the local humane society.
“That got us involved with the humane society,” Michele said. “We thought it would be a cool thing to do. It’s also a fun thing for pet lovers.”
In the front of the store, there are felted soaps made by Barb McFadden, of Oconomowoc, and jewelry made by two local artists, Nancy Ross and Barb Montoya. They plan to add more Wisconsin artists to the mix.
Lucky Tree is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Tim and Michele can be reached there at 715-258-5474.
Michele said they decided to name the store “Lucky Tree,” because they wanted a name that was fun and simple.
A tree usually has one color of blooms or leaves, but the Lucky Tree has all different colors, she said.
It was their way of connecting their love of nature to the modern things they have in the store.