Furniture business going well in Paullina -
Muller Furniture started out in 1975 on the main street of Paullina and is doing well in the small town setting. Owners John and Jane Muller took over the furniture business from his father and mother who also started Muller Interior and Design in Remsen, IA in 1964.
"We do furniture, bedding, home décor, custom drapes, lamps, unique gifts, flooring, domestics home the home or business and other stuff," John said.
Mullers carries name brands such as Dutailier glider rockers, Mohawk flooring, Peters Revington and Riverside end tables, case goods and bedroom furniture, Sealy bedding, Berkline chairs and sofas, Chromcraft and Cochrane dining room furniture and the list goes on.
"We do a lot of business in a lot of areas," he said.
It's not hard to see why when a customer steps into Mullers showroom in Paullina where all the furniture and décor is set up in home type settings. A couch, love seat and matching chair can be found clustered together with coordinating coffee table, end tables and lamps all to give a person that at home feel.
The business has expanded so much that it fills what use to be two different stores. The old plumbing store and the old variety store are now the home to anything a customer could want to fill their home.
The Mullers employ eight other people besides themselves. Their doors are open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and until 8 p.m. on Thursday. They are also open Saturday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Muller Furniture offers free delivery to customers within a certain distance and set up in the home is included in every purchase.
In this photo, Rita Kruger, a full time employee at Muller Furniture, rearranges a coffee table in one of the stores many living room displays.
Home decor can be found at every turn in Muller's Furniture in Paullina. Here, Rita Kruger sets a ceramic vase down on a coffee table to add the finishing touches to a living room set.
Small town grocers keep store alive
The grocery store on the main street of Paullina has been with the town for most of the town's life. For the last 33 years it has been owned and operated by the same two men and called United Foods.
Allen Fritz and Lorin Brookfield have been in the grocery business for quite some time now as each started as employees for the previous owner. Brookfield started in 1964 and is celebrating 45 years with the store, and Fritz has been there since 1968. In 1976 the two men bought out the owners and changed the name from Lemkes Food Town to what it is today.
"The town has been really good to us over the years," Brookfield said, "and if they wouldn't have been there wouldn't be a grocery store here."
Although the customer's keep the doors open so has the willingness of the two partners to keep up with the changing times.
"We are continually getting new product coming in. It's unbelievable," Fritz said. "People are going to ready to eat meals. We really try to sell our fresh meat and produce though."
The fresh meat and produce makes United Foods a rare small town grocery store. Both men can cut your meat to order or slice the summer sausage a customer chooses from the case while they wait. Both men also do the ordering and any other job that needs to be taken care of so that either one can take time off if or when they want to.
"We're here for good service. It's tough competing against Wal-Mart," Fritz said. "Loyal customers say we are price comparable to them anyway."
On top of being price competitive the grocery store also takes grocery orders by phone and delivers them to customers on Friday and Saturday. There are a few stipulations such as having your order called in by 11:30 a.m. on both days, living in the city limits and having a minimum 10 dollar order, but the service is utilized by many patrons.
"It's a service we can provide," Lorin said. "They call it in and then Al or I deliver them all."
The men try to take requests and special orders from customers as much as possible as well. If a customer is looking for something special and is willing to buy it buy the case they can usually order it in for them.
United Foods is a full service grocer with Affiliated Foods and carries bread, cereal, frozen foods, fresh meat, canned foods, greeting cards, vacuum bags, fresh produce, health and beauty aids, off sale wine coolers, beer and more. The store is able to support 10 part time employees along with Allen and Lorin along with their two wives who they say does all the computer work.
United Foods grocery specials run each week from Wednesday to Tuesday and can be found in the Paullina shopper. The store hours are 7:30 a.m. until 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and Thursday nights the store stays open until 8 p.m. for those who need to shop but work out of town.
In this photo,
United Food Store owners, Lorin Brookfield (left) and Allen Fritz, stand by just one of their cases that displays fresh packaged meats and other meat products their store carries. Brookfield and Fritz have been in business together at the store for 33 years this year.
Allen Fritz slices up a package of summer sausage from the case for a customer.
Allen Fritz wraps up meat for a customer in United Foods last week. Fritz and Brookfield both cut and wrap meat for customers while they wait at the store.
Stepping back in time -
The Old Market Antique Shop and Bock Suite add a little bit more character to the main street of Paullina, bringing back the vibrant colors shops use to have in the town along with some of its history.
The Bock Suite sits directly above the Old Market Antique shop and is available for people to rent as a place to stay or hold gatherings. The three bedroom two bath flat is complete with a fully stocked kitchen, laundry room, living room and dining room although it hasn't always been so nice.
In 2007, Steve and Marlys Hartong started the renovation of the suite, removing the purple carpet that was still in place from the previous owner, Ann Johannsen, who purchased the building in 1961. One bedroom is dedicated to Ann showcasing her favorite color with the purple carpet and purple wall.
A lowered ceiling was removed in the renovation that revealed a beautiful skylight in the dining area, the hardwood floors are original and have been refinished to show the beauty of natural wood and some of the walls were taken down to open up the length of the suite and enhancing the size of the main room.
The kitchen sits on the west end of the building and a person can see the east end which is where the living room sits overlooking Main Street complete with an open dining area resting in between. The two other bedrooms in the suite have accents from other things found in the old apartment. In the renovation approximately eight layers of wall paper was taken off the walls. Marlys attempted to save some of the paper to showcase for visitors but with no luck. Although the paper could be saved to show people, it was still good enough to color match to have accent paint to paint some of the walls with. The living room, dining room and bedroom walls hold these unique colors.
The downstairs of the Bock building is a dream come true for Steve Hartong. After wanting to have an antique store for most of his life it became a reality with the purchase of the building in 2003. The antique shop was the beginning of a three year renovation project for the Hartongs, with them doing most of the work by themselves. A lowered ceiling was removed from here as well which exposed a tin ceiling. Hartongs spent more than six months repairing, rearranging and replacing missing panels. The hidden tin ceiling also held five original hanging "school house" light fixtures that use 350 watt light bulbs. To the surprise and delight of the Hartongs, all five fixtures still worked after being covered by another ceiling for all those years. The building started as a hardware store and the Hartongs kept little things such as paint spills to remind them of the history of the store.
While the Hartongs were replacing parts on the front of the building the contractor mentioned he cut through tin. This lead them to crawl on their hands and knees on rafters to discover another tin ceiling in the Bock Suite approximately 3 feet higher than where the ceiling in the living room is now. Some day they would like to close the suite for a few weeks and take down the living room ceiling to expose the tin.
The Bock Suite is available for rent by calling Steve or Marlys Hartong at 712-441-1079 or 712-441-3169, it is an opportunity to take a step back in time and enjoy the history of a small town.
This photo shows the kitchen in the Bock Suite, which holds everything needed for guests to cook meals while they are staying with the Hartongs.
The living Room at the Bock Suite
This photo of the dining room of the Bock Suite also shows off the hardwood floors and antique furniture that decorate the room.
The purple room, dedicated to the previous owner Ann Johannsen, shows the purple carpet the entire apartment had on the floors before the Hartongs renovated it into the Bock Suite
Something old could be someone's new -
N.D. Millwerk might not sound like a business specializing in antique wood work stripped from houses built between 1880 and 1930 but it just happens that's the business behind the name.
Dennis and Nelda Werkmeister own N.D. Millwerk in Paullina which has recently added a showroom on Highway 10 to their overflowing warehouse downtown. The Werkmeister's have been in business for about five years and have collection thousands of pieces of wood work from homes. The couple has also collected other antique style hardware such as sinks, stoves/wood burners, door knobs and more.
"It started as a hobby. Just my husband's love for quality old wood," Nelda said. "A house in town came up to bid on the salvage rights and we got that and then another house that was a completely different style and we got that bid to so then we had to get a warehouse."
That warehouse is now overflowing with almost any type of wood work a person could want or imagine.
"We have everything you could want from inside a house," she said. "Hardware, baseboards, molds, trim, flooring, cupboards, lighting and doors. We have hundreds of doors."
The business also carries the large scale items you wouldn't think of finding such as staircases, wood sections to fit from the floor to the angle of the stair case and even tin ceilings.
"We have both been doing this full time now for about two years," she said.
In those two years the furthest a couple has gone for wood work is Cedar Falls and Wayland, Iowa. The couple typically sticks within a 100 mile radius of Paullina and has taken wood work from Cherokee, Odebolt, Primghar, Alton and Alta to name a few.
With all the traveling and touring of different old homes, Dennis and Nelda have found some unique items that they weren't expecting.
"We have a flag from inside an old home that only has 45 stars," she said. "We also have come across old magazines from the 1900's."
N.D. Millwerk is fairly new to the area but Nelda said that business picks up every year as people are finding them. The showroom is currently open by appointment only and they hope to hold a grand opening to show off their collections yet this fall. To check out N.D. Millwerk in the mean time and pass the unique business ware along visit www.oldwoodwork.com
or contact them at 712-949-9375.
In the accompanying photo, rows and rows of doors line the west wall of the N.D. Millwerk warehouse in downtown Paullina. THe doors come from homes built between 1880 and 1930, and are of all different shapes and sizes.
Wonderland Theater ready to reopen -
Every year about this time, kids go back to school and the Wonderland Theater gets ready to open its doors for another season.
The theater is a community wide service project with people of all ages and talents volunteering to man the ticket booth, sell concessions, run the movie platter to show the film and clean on a regular basis.
"It's just a really good community thing," said volunteer Marj Feltman.
The theater is run by a community theater board that is comprised of about seven different people from the town of Paullina, with the president of the board being Philip Simm. Each year the board gathers in August and starts calling their approximately 30 volunteers to see if they are interested in helping run Wonderland Theater for yet another year. Like Marj Feltman, most of them say yes and have put in more years at the theater than they can say off the top of their head.
The Wonderland Theater is very much a family oriented movie theater. The number of R-rated movies is kept to a minimum and the cost of attending the movies are kept low and affordable no matter what size the family is.
Each year when the board meets before reopening in September the discussion is had on whether or not to raise the prices for admission and snacks but prices have stayed the same.
"We talk about it every year but as long as we are staying in the black we won't." Feltman said. "We're not trying to make a profit, just pay the utilities and movie bills."
The cost of admission is only $2.50 for adults and $1.50 for children 12 and under. Once into the movie the snacks are just as cheap. Popcorn starts at 50 cents for a 24 ounce container and tops out at $2 for a tub. Pop is reasonable with a 12 once glass starting at 75 cents and a 20 once glass costing only a $1.50. The theater also sells your regular candies such as candy bars and gummy treats starting at 75 cents. The movie bills add up quick though with the movie rentals ranging from $250 to $500 per film.
"We are charged the same for the movie whether we run it three days or five," she said.
Although the theater doesn't show films the day they are released, the Wonderland Theater isn't far behind. One of the volunteers takes the task each year of calling around to all the movie companies to find out what movies are available and when. Then they lay it out on a schedule of what weekend to show it and for how long the movie will run.
"We open again on September 11 but I'm not sure what movie we will be showing," Feltman said. "The volunteer who does it tries to work a 10 to 12 week schedule."
The theater is open Friday through Sunday nights and has one showing at 7:30 p.m. and occasionally on Sunday for an afternoon matinee.
Here are views from the balcony of the Wonderland Theater, as well as one from the stage.
The films are shown from the balcony area, and the floor features new theater seating.
Gnade Auto Sales sits on the edge of Paullina on Highway 10. Joel Gnade, owner of Gnade Auto moved his family back to the town years ago to open the car dealership and raise his family in a small town setting.
Mesner owns eatery, bowling and bar -
Patti and Gary Mesner are the new owners of three different businesses in downtown Paullina that are now called Mesner's Eatery, Thunder Lanes Bowling Alley and Pair-A-Dice South.
The couple purchased the eatery and bowling alley last September and acquired the bar in October of last year. The name changes came shortly after the purchase, with Patti naming the bar Pair-A-Dice South after the Pair-A-Dice bar in Arnolds Park that she has owned for eight years.
The restaurant has seen a facelift since the new owners have arrived. The booths that ran down the center of the restaurant are now gone and tables have been added. Mesner has also redecorated, renovated the women's bathroom, put in new wiring, new ceiling, added a new waitress station and painted.
"The learning experience of it has been fun," Patti said. "The people of this town have been great."
Along with the interior facelift, Mesner's also changed up their menu. On Tuesday night's a customer can come in to enjoy pan fried chicken or order off of their new menu any night of the week. Sandwiches, steaks, fish, broasted chicken and an assortment of appetizers are found on the new menu along with an entirely separate menu for breakfast.
"We open at 5:30 a.m. Tuesday through Sunday," she said. "And we usually have a good breakfast crowd."
On Sunday the restaurant also serves a brunch with traditional favorites such as biscuits and gravy, sausage patties, bacon, chicken, pork, beef, potatoes and a full salad bar.
Thunder Lanes Bowling Alley will be reopening again this September. After the Mesner's purchased the alley last fall they replaced the carpet upstairs and down stairs and fixed the bathrooms. They also fixed the ball machines and added a bar to the alley. Thunder Lanes bowling charge is $3 per game per person plus shoes. The alley plans to hold open bowling this fall on Sunday's plus Thunder Lanes will be holding their regular bowling leagues this fall.
"I'm anxious to have all my fun bowlers back," Patti said.
As for Pair-A-Dice South, it's open from 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. everyday but Sunday for customers to come in and enjoy. The local bar recently held a fundraiser to help rescue and treat Collie dogs that have been abused. Mesner's held a roasted/smoked meat cook off on Saturday, Aug. 22 and opened the doors to the public to come and eat.
"It's a great set-up for things like that," she said. "We do a lot of benefits here."
This photo shows that the inside of Mesner's Eatery has had a facelift over the last year, with a coat of new paint, new decorations, waitress station, bathrooms, and the removal of the booths from down the center of the restaurant.
Celebrating one year-
Patti Mesner is the proud owner of Mesner's Eatery, Thunder Alley Bowling and Pair-A-Dice bar in downtown Paullina. Mesner will be celebrating her one year anniversary with the three businesses this fall
Bowling to be back soon-
Thunder Alley Bowling Lanes will reopen again this fall for league. Owner Patti Mesner is also hoping to add a Sunday open bowl time for people to come and enjoy a game of bowling.