ONALASKA — A year after they bought Treehouse Gift and Home, Jill and Chip Weisbrod will hold a “Grand Reimagining Bash” Wednesday through June 29 to mark the changes they’ve made.
Jill said she and her husband have “reimagined” the store with products — including some from the area — that they think will appeal to a wider range of shoppers.
They’ve made the changes in consultation with the previous owners, Brad and Sandy Johnson, and with Carla Callies, who owned the former Ambiance store in downtown La Crosse.
“Part of me wants to say it will never end,” Jill Weisbrod said of changes at the store, which she and her husband bought last July from the Johnsons, who started Treehouse in 1998. “We want to stay on the cusp.”
The Weisbrods have updated the store’s exterior and interior.
As for merchandise, they’ve kept traditional favorites, while blending in new lines that they say have a “more urban vibe.”
Some of the new lines include trendy and affordable fashions, accessories, jewelry, gifts and reclaimed vintage-looking home décor, Jill Weisbrod said. As examples of the latter, she pointed to large lanterns made with old, reclaimed galvanized metal; and a photo display frame made from the tines of an old rake and reclaimed wood.
The store also carries home, garden, kitchen items and merchandise for sports fans.
Some of the store’s new vendors include Second Nature by Hand, a Viroqua, Wis., business that specializes in handmade art for the home; and Not Your Mother’s Aprons, a La Crosse business that makes aprons, soaps and natural skincare products.
The reimagined store’s celebration will begin with a kickoff bash with entertainment by Andy Hughes of the band TUGG from 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday in the parking lot.
On Saturday, the store will offer a parking lot party with free kids’ activities, snacks and live entertainment. Shoppers who spend at least $25 can enter drawings for three grand prizes that will be held June 29. The Grand Reimagining Bash also features a week of sale prices.
Escape, browse and relax is a theme the Weisbrods use to promote the store.
“We want to be the place you think of first when you’re trying to find a unique gift for every person on your list,” Jill Weisbrod said.
Treehouse Gift & Home sells some of its products on its website, which she said will receive a facelift this year.
The store has 15 to 20 employees, Weisbrod said, adding that sales peak during the fourth quarter because of the holidays and festivals that bring more people to the La Crosse area.
She oversees the store’s operations. Her husband is a certified public accountant and oversees his Weisbrod & Associates CPA firm in La Crosse.
The Johnsons had been clients of Weisbrod’s CPA firm for years, and one day mentioned to Chip that they were interested in selling Treehouse Gift & Home.
Chip mentioned that to Jill, and the couple decided they were interested in buying the business.
“We wanted to create a family business,” Chip Weisbrod said. “We have two daughters that we can see being part of the mix” down the road. Their daughters, Kayla, 14, and Jacy, 12, occasionally help at the store. Other relatives also help.
Jill Weisbrod was raised in Chicago suburbs and received a bachelor’s degree in physical therapy from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse in 1993. She worked as a physical therapist and interior designer for several years before she and her husband decided to buy Treehouse Gift & Home. She worked at the store for a couple years before buying it, to prepare for the transition.
Chip Weisbrod was raised in La Crosse and received a bachelor’s degree in accounting from St. Norbert College in DePere in 1986. He also has a master’s degree in taxation.