After 19 years of running a Main Street art supplies shop, Dave Lunde is ready to retire.
"My last vacation was 8 1/2 years ago," Lunde said. "I’ve got 40 acres in the town of Lind, a blacksmith shop, a machine shop and eight looms. I have all this stuff I want to do, but I don’t have time since I’m in here all but 58 days a year."
Lunde opened Edgewood Arts in downtown Waupaca in March 1993. Less than two years later, he moved next door into his current location.
Originally, Edgewood Arts carried art supplies, but over the years Lunde expanded his product line to include models, train sets, looms, spinning wheels and weaving supplies, yarn and knitting supplies, basket weaving kits, supplies for making stained glass, and an extensive collection of how-to books for hobbyists and artists.
Lunde graduated from Washington High School in Milwaukee in 1967, then served in Vietnam from 1969-70.
Following his military service, Lunde worked at a number of factory and construction jobs, including at the foundry.
In the 1980s, he began wanting a change in his work life, so Lunde returned to school. In 1987, he received a bachelor’s degree in fine arts from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.
"I received my art degree 40 years after I graduated from high school because I was tired of working factory jobs," Lunde said. "I was a substitute teacher for six years in different areas, but I didn’t see any job openings."
Lunde decided to open an art supplies store in order to use his own interest in art to help other artists realize their projects.
"I like doing research and working with other people," Lunde said. "I also like working on my own projects."
Lunde said health issues were another reason he decided to retire and sell his shop.
"A few years ago I came down with Lyme’s disease and I could barely walk," Lunde said. "After a year of walking around with crutches or a cane, I decided it was time to move on with my life."
Efforts to sell the business have been unsuccessful so far, so Lunde has put his two-story, 6,776-square-foot Main Street building on the market.
He is selling off his inventory at reduced prices and will close the shop once all his stock is sold.
"We really wanted to sell the business because it’s been going great," Lunde said. "I feel like I’m winning a race but I have to shoot the horse."
Looking back over his years as a small business owner, a former member of the Waupaca Area Chamber of Commerce board and Lind’s town treasurer for 12 years, Lunde says he most appreciates his many loyal customers and his fellow shop owners on Main Street.
He related a story about a neighboring business owner walking past his shop one day and seeing a teen attempting to shoplift in Lunde’s store. "She came in and yelled at him," Lunde said.
"The downtown merchants are close and they work well together. They watch out for each other," Lunde said.
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