Two businesses tied for the Waupaca 2013 Small Business of the Year award.
The Paint Store, owned by Allyce and Tedd Lees, and the Green Fountain Inn, owned by Cindy Oerter, were recognized by the Waupaca Area Chamber of Commerce at its annual awards banquet Tuesday, Jan. 28.
The Paint Store
In 1998, the Lees opened The Paint Store Inc. in downtown Waupaca, at the corner of Washington and Union streets.
“I was tired of painting. I had been a painting contractor in the Whiting and Stevens Point area for 24 years,” Tedd said about their decision to open the store. “There had been a paint store here in Waupaca, but it closed.”
Tedd said his experience as a painter and Allyce’s background in art allows them to help their customers make informed decisions.
The Paint Store currently carries Pratt and Lambert, Glidden, Devoe paints and coatings, Sikkens & Olde Century Colors, lacquers, stencils and other wall treatments.
Eight years ago, The Paint Store moved one block to a new location on the corner of Washington and Fulton streets.
“It tripled our space,” Allyce said. “In 2007, we brought in a whole line of industrial epoxies and urethane, so now we serve some heavy duty applications.”
Tedd describes how the Waupaca store sold industrial paint to a company in Pulaski that painted a tanker which was airlifted to Antarctica.
He also noted that most of the area’s painting contractors purchase their supplies from The Paint Store.
“There isn’t a building that I can see from the store that doesn’t have our paint in it,” Tedd said.
“We brought in art supplies after Edgewood Arts closed,” Allyce said.
She noted the paint store now carries drawing supplies, watercolors, oils, pastels, charcoals, encaustic supplies, canvasses and different stocks of papers.
Green Fountain Inn
In October 1995, Cindy Oerter and Patty Vaux opened the Green Fountain Inn Bed and Breakfast.
Located on the corner of South Main and Lake streets, the historic home of Dr. P.J. and Adelle Christofferson was built in 1908. After years of renovation, it is now the Green Fountain Inn.
“We purchased four buildings on south end of Main Street in January 1994. They were all quite run down,” Oerter said. “This building has been completely refurbished with new wiring, new ceilings, new plumbing and new drywall. We hired out the things we couldn’t do, but everything else we did ourselves.”
Four bathrooms were added so that all the guests could have private bathrooms.
The rooms were decorated with vintage furniture, wallpaper, window treatments and period lighting reminiscent of the 1920s.
“It’s taken a long time and a lot of patience, but I believe we have preserved a part of our community’s history,” said Oerter, who is now the sole proprietor of the inn.
The inn has served guests from around the world, hosting wedding receptions, anniversary and birthday parties, bridal and baby showers.
Initially, the Green Fountain Inn had to rely on caterers.
Then in 2000, the inn began a two-year project renovating its kitchen.
Oerter said five layers of flooring had to be scraped, soaked and sanded away to restore the building’s original maple floor.
“The cabinetry that houses our dishes was made from the wainscoting from the basement coal bins. The doors were made from leaded glass windows found at the Danes Home,” Oerter said. “Everything here is recycled.”
The kitchen island was made from a section of bowling alley flooring, and the door and window trim came from the old Iola Hospital, where Oerter used to work.
Initially, the kitchen was opened as the Back Door Bakery. It then became the Secret Garden Cafe, which was open outdoors in the summer, overlooking the inn’s garden.
The Green Fountain Inn later introduced fine dining for special occasions, such as New Year’s Eve, Valentine’s Day, private events and parties.
The sous chefs at the inn are from the Fox Valley Technical College culinary internship program.
“From the first day I was here, I knew I was doing what I was supposed to be doing in life because every day somebody thanks me,” Oerter said. “People who come here feel special.”