As downtown Chippewa Falls business owner Joyce Pugh eases into semi-retirement, she has established a legacy fund in honor of the contributions made by small, family-owned businesses to communities.
"Over the years, the retail climate has changed with big-box retailers taking over, but I feel that small, family-owned businesses are still the backbone of small communities and very important to the strength of those communities' economies," insists Joyce.
Country Treasures Hallmark Gold Crown store on Bridge Street in Chippewa Falls opened in 1979 as a spinoff of the Pugh family's P-B Office Supply store. Dick and Viola, along with her sons Jerry and John, purchased an existing office supply store, which included a small Hallmark department, in 1951.
Joyce and her four children were all born and raised in Chippewa Falls. Andrea lives with her family in Chippewa County and has taken over most of the day-to-day operations of the business, which also has stores in Eau Claire and Maplewood, Minnesota. Joyce's other three children, and their children, live in the Eau Claire and Twin Cities areas. She has five grandchildren. "A family-owned business consumes your life at times, and family support plays an important role in the business's success. My children all grew up knowing the challenges of running a small business."
Before starting a family and the business, Joyce graduated from UW-Eau Claire and worked as a teacher. Her Chippewa Falls roots extend back to her great grandparents, who settled here in the 1800's. "I really love the Chippewa Valley. The rolling hills of the valley are a welcome sight after traveling, and I know I'm home," Joyce says. She and her husband, Art Schunk, call Chippewa Falls home.
The quality of life in Chippewa County is even more enhanced by generous people giving their time and resources, and the Foundation is definitely a tool to allow people to do that. I hope this fund, along with others, will continue that legacy.
Funds are used for grant-making at the discretion of the Foundations Board of Directors.