Mauston native Jaime Pouillie’s dream of owning her own business came true when she opened The Designer’s Touch on May 2.
The new interior design shop is located on State Street in downtown Mauston in the old Ray’s Shoes location. With the help of family and friends, Pouillie spent a few months renovating the business to reflect her style and has already received positive feedback from the community.
“It was a good building for what I wanted to make it into, kind of that modern farmhouse feel,” Pouillie said. “I just thought, ‘Ah, I can make this work.’”
After graduating from UW-Stout with a degree in interior design and retail merchandizing, Pouillie returned home to work for McKinney’s Home Decorating, Inc. Through an internship, she received hands-on experience in interior design and became a full-time designer in 2001. While at McKinney’s, Pouillie became a paint expert and worked with window treatments.
“The community just kind of got to know me as the ‘Paint Lady’ or the ‘Color Lady,’” Pouillie said. “They would come to me for help in picking out their paint colors. It was fun to be able to serve the community that way.”
In 16 years at McKinney’s, Pouillie gained valuable experience and name recognition throughout the Mauston area, but it was time to branch out.
“My name is out there now and this is something I’ve always wanted to do — to have my own decorating store,” Pouillie said. “It was just the right time.”
Pouillie believes The Designer’s Touch offers items Mauston residents have been requesting for years.
“I’ve heard people say this is great for Mauston and we need a gift store,” she said. “I also think this revives the downtown. Even when I was growing up we had a movie theater, shops, and women’s clothing store. They all just kind of went away and it would be nice if we had a downtown like that again.”
Looking forward, one of Pouillie’s biggest goals is to help Mauston’s downtown become more attractive, similar to Reedsburg and Baraboo.
“I just want to keep providing what the community wants and needs,” Pouillie said.
Denise Laridaen, who has known Pouillie since she was a child, believes Pouillie is the right fit to revitalize Mauston’s downtown. Laridaen sold Cabinet Creations, another State Street business, to a Tomah corporation last fall and the business was renamed Capaul’s Floors and Cabinets.
“She has a good eye for color because I’ve had to resort to her for what colors to use on some of my own projects,” Laridaen said. “She’s very good at putting colors together, whether it’s paint, flooring or tiles.”
Pouillie has developed a strong reputation for expertise in design throughout the Mauston area.
“Personally, she has a good reputation as well,” Laridaen said. “She has a very good customer service oriented personality.”
Of course it takes the dedication of many to make even a small business thrive. Pouillie said the support of her husband, Adam, and her two daughters Makenna, 11, and Ellie, 8, has been encouraging as she embarks on her new venture. Adam serves as plant manager at Mauston’s Parker Hannifan.
“He went back to school a few years to get his MBA (Master of Business Administration) so we decided it was time for me to do what I want to do,” Pouillie said. “He’s been really supportive and excited. I’m here, so I’m the face of the store, but it’s a partnership so we do it together.”
After buying the building Feb. 1, Pouillie and her family spent three months renovating it. While it took a great deal of work and sweat equity, Pouillie believes it will all pay off. Her brother-in-law Brad Vinopal, a local carpenter, helped remodel the store and Pouillie, “The Color Lady,” handled the painting. Patrons will be impressed with the restoration.
“She is offering a unique niche,” Laridaen said. “She’s offering decorating ideas, paint schemes, and retail with various gifts to help people decorate their own home. Mauston has needed something that combines the retail and gift side. I think our businesses can complement each other so it’s great having her right next door.”
Pouillie plans to sell PPG Paints, custom window treatments, home décor items and housewarming gifts. The Designer’s Touch is open Tuesday-Saturday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. and 9-3 on Saturdays. For more information, call 608-847-2233.
Contact Kevin Damask at 608-963-7323 or on Twitter @kdamask
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