- Real Estate
- Food & Drink
By Jodi Schwan
Vonda Cotton is a self-described do-it-yourselfer.
She can pour concrete, lay tile, work with wood and weld.
“I’m very hands-on, and when I’ve taught people how to do this or helped them at their house, it’s very rewarding to see people say, ‘I can do this.’ It’s empowering. Especially for a woman to get a power tool in her hand and accomplish something she didn’t think she could do feels very good to me.”
The DIY urge led her to buy franchise rights to Board & Brush Creative Studio, a fast-growing national chain based in Wisconsin. That’s where Cotton’s sister discovered it earlier this year. Cotton saw a wood sign her sister made posted online and asked where she bought it. When she learned it was handmade, she looked up Board & Brush immediately.
“I had been looking for a franchise for a few years and couldn’t find the right fit,” she said. “With this, I can teach something fun and offer something important. It incorporates people getting together and reconnecting and using their creativity, which a lot of people don’t do anymore.”
Cotton’s career has taken her from working in equipment manufacturing to auto sales and advertising. She has taught at USD and recently earned her Master of Accounting.
She plans to open Board & Brush at 1813 S. Marion Road next to Breadsmith.
The business offers a variety of public classes as well as special events. Within the wood sign workshops, Board & Brush also works with materials such as glass, chalkboards, canvas pillows, slate and terra cotta pots. The plan is to offer beer and wine as customers craft.
“We will do bachelorette parties, date nights, corporate events,” Cotton said. “We’ll have a screen set up to do a lunch, have a presentation and do a team-building experience, plus holiday parties and birthday parties.”
She plans to hire up to 12 part-time employees because the business model emphasizes flexible scheduling.
“It’s a very family-oriented business. They want families to run their businesses and want employees to have family life, so people who work for us have a very flexible schedule and work as much or as little as they want.”
The hope is to be open by the end of September.
Oh, and for those who really struggle to get crafty, there’s a guarantee for that.
“If somebody really, really is bad at this we will make a sign for them, and they can come pick it up the next day,” Cotton said. “I’ve not heard of anybody say the person wasn’t happy when they left. We do have people that struggle, but there’s usually a fix we can do and then they’re happy.”
It’s the second new national DIY business to announce it’s coming to Sioux Falls. AR Workshop announced recently it plans to open at the Western Mall.
Vonda Cotton’s love of DIY and desire to own a business led her to bring Board & Brush Creative Studio, a fast-growing national chain, to Sioux Falls.