Our Towns is a periodic Telescope feature that spotlights the people, businesses, and organizations who are innovators in their Republic County communities
Scandia fills every building on Main Street
By Deb Hadachek Telescope editor
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For the first time in 37 years, every business building on Scandia’s main street is full.
That accomplishment came last fall when former art teacher Connie Levendofsky and Scandia retailer Marla Wilson teamed up to open the Buffalo Gallery-Pigeonhole Studio next door to Wilson’s boutique, The Rusty Wheel.
The building, remodeled for the art studio by Gary Cline, was “a disaster”, says Levendofsky. It sat empty for a number of years.
Today it showcases handmade copper jewelry made by Levendofsky and vintage and eclectic items repurposed for furniture and home decor that both women design.
“Scandia is just such an open and welcome business community,” says Levendofsky, who retired two years ago after a several-decade stint as art teacher at Republic County High School. Friends tried to tell her she was crazy for giving up the freedom of retirement to man a retail business five days a week, but the schedule and the outlet for her designs has worked well, Levendofsky says.
“Marla and I are actually related to each other, and this works well for us,” she says. “We work well together.” Wilson’s Rusty Wheel stocks new home decor, clothing, jewelry, food items and floral designs. The back of the Buffalo Gallery gives both she and Levendofsky a studio to unleash their own creativity, they say.
Wilson periodically hosts “Wine and Paint” evenings for the public or for private parties.
Since the studio opened, another retail business, a fresh produce store operated by C&C High Tunnels, joined the business district in a building that also houses offices of several professional services.
“We hope eventually the store might attract enough business to replace some of the farmer’s markets we attend during the summer,” says Christi Janssen, who operates C&C High Tunnels with her husband, Chris.
Scandia’s downtown also includes four furniture and antique stores operated by Jane Ann Carlgren, Carlgren’s beauty salon, the hardware/lumber store purchased by Megan and Brent Melby several years ago, TAGs restaurant, several professional offices, bank, laundromat and library.
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