Penney Fasching-Beutz took an interest in decorating, used those skills in her work and then took the next step -- creating her own gift shop.
The business opened May 1 on Front Street in Brainerd.
This past week she was preoccupied with decorating ideas for a graduation centerpiece and a 400-guest wedding. She also was going to Chicago to take a decorating class with information on centerpiece designs.
"I love to decorate," she said, adding she wanted to find a niche that could complement existing businesses. Northern Designs includes personalized gift baskets, baby gifts, candy bouquets, quilts, wedding accessories, seasonal decor, candles, balloons and party supplies.
The new store offerings include baskets and balloons, party supplies and wedding accessories, baby gifts, quilts and candles. Candy bouquets in the center have been one of the popular items.
Balloon bunches have been one option with three-foot balloon centerpieces in decorative styles. The average price for a bunch is $10. Fasching-Beutz said she wanted to open a place that offered affordable items. She took candy bouquets to other area businesses as a way to announce her store opening. The effort worked, bringing curious people in her door.
Mary Tautges, St. Mathias, took the opportunity to stop by last week and talked about decorating ideas for a graduation party. Tautges, a cake decorator, also was interested in the wedding cake tops.
After opening, Fasching-Beutz said she learned a few things quickly. Her party supplies were more popular than she expected and she expanded the display area. Gift baskets she thought were cute and would sell sat on the shelves. So she revamped the idea to let customers buy a basket and fill it with any items in the store. She totals the bill for all the items and then gives a 20 percent discount.
Fasching-Beutz said she believes the downtown location is a good one with people stopping by the store who are coming for the antique dealers. She first looked at rental space in Baxter but when the lease rental prices were considered, Fasching-Beutz said looking for a site in Brainerd gave her more flexibility.
She made the decision to open her own store in December. A sister who manages a candle shop in Richfield helped. That connection put her in touch with suppliers. And she is expanding her inventory. An order of those tall, thin Alpine trees used for decorating is expected soon.
"We'd always talk about how great it would be to have a shop up here," Fasching-Beutz said. "I thought this would go great in Brainerd."
Fasching-Beutz worked for many years at the St. Mathias Bar and Grill, owned by her father. She set up elaborate Christmas displays. She left when she was 25 and now works part time as a rural carrier associate for the post office, a job she enjoys. She will need to work part time for eight years before reaching an option for full-time employment with the post office. If Northern Designs continues to grow as planned, Fasching-Beutz said she'll be able to manage both jobs with additional store help.
And Fasching-Beutz has expansion ideas for the business in the future, but for now she said the small shop is the best start.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.