Duane Moore’s sense of humor is such that you could call him a card, but actually, he has invented a whole deck — souvenir cards featuring 52 sites in and around La Crosse.
“La Crosse is going through an amazing period — a total transfiguration of what it used to be,” the 84-year-old Moore said in explaining his creation.
Hot off the press, the decks of cards are available in several local stores, as well as the La Crosse County Convention and Visitors Bureau and the La Crosse Center Ticket Office.
The No. 1 visual impression for visitors is the city’s bridges, with Grandad Bluff jockeying for that top spot, Moore said during an interview Monday.
“From there on, it’s a rather amazing city compared to others,” he said. “Other cities talk about doing things, but La Crosse goes out and does them.”
Moore’s observations spring from more than 60 years of living and working in La Crosse since he came here in 1964 — initially in radio, then in television when the city’s first TV station went live and then as a small businessman who founded the Ad Aids agency.
The souvenir deck idea sprang from Moore’s perpetual-motion imagination about ways to promote La Crosse and its products — lapel pins, logo pins, his involvement with the “Fest of Times” history of Oktoberfest and other ventures he has generated.
‘Thrilled’ with cards, store owner says
The cards have grabbed the attention of locals and tourists alike, said Margie Wanek, owner of Stamp ’n Hand, a rubber stamp, art and scrapbooking supply store at 200 S. Fourth St.
“They have been really popular,” Wanek said. “For $10, and you get all of those pictures of La Crosse, they’ve been doing really well.
“I was thrilled he made the cards. I’ve been in business for 25 years, and it’s always hard to find things with La Crosse on them,” she said.
“I’ve had some brides come in and want them to put in gift baskets” for their wedding parties, especially for guests who travel distances to get here, Wanek said. “One bride bought 10.”
Moore, whose son, Chuck, now operates Ad Aids, said he developed the cards as a retirement project that he started about a year ago.
As far as his retirement date, he said, “It could have been yesterday; it might be tomorrow,” but it technically was about five years ago.
He still stops by the office regularly and often takes mail to the post office “because according to the new schedule to get it to St. Paul, it has to be there by 2:30,” he said with a mischievous smile.
The photo concept arose in part from watching people in Riverside Park from his balcony at RiverPlace Apartments, he said.
“It’s amazing what you can see in Riverside Park in 24 hours — the people, the tourists, the river traffic,” said Moore.
City and tourism officials nationwide have trouble finding souvenirs of U.S. sites, such as keychains, refrigerator magnets, etc., that aren’t made in China, he declared, adding with satisfied pride that his are made in the USA.
The La Crosse cards are manufactured at Gemaco, a Blue Springs, Mo., company.