FAIRMONT - Two local women have purchased the J&R Gift and Floral building on Downtown Plaza and will relocate their existing businesses early next year.
Brenda Buntjer and DeAnn Eversman plan to split the existing building into two sides, each with its own entrance.
Buntjer's Salon will relocate from West Second Street to the north half of the building. Eversman, who works in the floral department at J&R, will simply shift to the south side of the building.
TEAMING UP — DeAnn Eversman, left, and Brenda Buntjer have purchased the J&R Gift and Floral building on Downtown Plaza.
Last fall, after hearing about the retirement plans of the building's current owners, Jim and Ramona Marcovich, Eversman toyed with the idea of buying the building to keep the floral enterprise going.
"I just didn't think I could do it by myself," she said.
Buntjer, who has been in her present location about seven years, coveted a more high-profile store and one that didn't have steps.
"I wouldn't say I was aggressively looking, but I kind of wanted to become more visible," she said.
The two discussed the possibility of joining forces, and "it snowballed from there," Buntjer said.
Eversman's career in the floral industry began more than 20 years ago when she was an intern at Wallace's Department Store. The lifelong Fairmont resident also worked at Fairmont Flowers and J&R Floral.
Tom Schultz works with Eversman at J&R and will stay at her new business, which will be called Dee's Floral and Designs. She also employs part-time and seasonal help.
"We're not going to close during renovation," Eversman said.
Her new business will continue to offer flowers and plants for all occasions, including her personal favorite, weddings. By Valentine's Day, she hopes to be fully settled in her new store.
The business will operate with the phone number currently used by J&R - (507) 235-9856. (When its pharmacy closed in mid-October, J&R's original number was transferred to Shopko to serve its former prescription customers.)
Buntjer's move will be a bit more daunting and time-consuming.
"I'm doing a complete remodeling," she said. "I'm hoping by the end of February, we can move."
Buntjer, originally from East Chain, has been in the beauty business for more than 20 years. She works with Melissa Lampman, who will join her in the new salon, which will continue to feature hair care, manicures, pedicures, tanning, massages and facials.
Buntjer said their lifelong ties to the area has enabled them to build a loyal clientele.
They will take possession of the building on Jan. 2, and renovation will begin soon after.
Ramona Marcovich is thrilled about the sale to two local residents.
"We're excited for them," she said. "It's a wonderful opportunity for them, and exciting for the city."
After 37 years in business, J&R will close its doors permanently on Dec. 24.