Corrie Danks has been a crafter for more than 20 years and her dream has been to open her own scrapbooking business. The dream came true on Aug. 1, her first day as owner of The Craft Coop in downtown Great Bend.
The new business at 1210 Main will offer classes in scrapbooking techniques and card-making, as well as the supplies needed for the crafts. In addition, it will provide equipment such as punches and a cricket, which are used in scrapbooking.
“The customers will need to have their own supplies but they can use our equipment for a very nominal fee,” Danks said. “We will be open during this transition, which will culminate with a grand opening on Labor Day weekend.
“We want people to stop in any time,” added Danks, who moved here from northeast Kansas. “We need to know what they are driving to Hays or Hutchinson to buy. Our customers will guide us as we expand over the weeks and months to come.”
Package Express, the popular UPS service, will remain open at the location, which was home to R.B. Teller. Hours are 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. – the same as for The Craft Coop.
Jessica Holt, a Danks family friend, also moved here to work at The Craft Coop.
Danks said she became a crafter out of necessity; she and her husband, Dr. Roy Danks, have 10 children. “I started making my daughters’ clothes,” she explained, noting the children’s age range is 6 to 28. There are six grandchildren and another on the way.
“I kept saying someday, someday,” Danks commented, referring to her craft-store dream. “I have been a doctor for 14 years and felt like I needed a change. This great opportunity to move to Great Bend has been terrific for helping me make that change.”
Danks graduated from the University of Kansas School of Medicine in 1998; her residency was in internal medicine and pediatrics. She finished that residency in 2002 and was a hospitalist in Topeka and Wichita.
In preparing for her new venture, Danks conducted market research through Washburn University and Fort Hays State University. “I think we are filling a niche,” Danks said. “There is nothing else like it here and we want people to stay in Great Bend for their crafting supplies rather than driving to Hays or Hutch.”
The Danks family moved here from Holton and now lives in rural Stafford County. Roy is a surgeon at Great Bend Regional Hospital.
Mark Bitter, MyTown board member, noted that The Craft Coop is the third success story for the organization in about a year. The others are the new home of Gambino’s Pizza and Yours Truly, an event-planning business that will open soon.
“The MyTown board’s original goal was to create synergy to revitalize downtown,” Bitter said. “It is not our goal to operate stores. We have been getting buildings ready and helping people get started. Then we let the market take care of itself and rent the buildings to owner-operators.
“We were excited when Corrie approached us about The Craft Coop. She needed a certain square footage and the R.B. Teller location was perfect,” added Bitter who said the name R.B. Teller will remain on the original location.
Some R.B. Teller merchandise is finding a new home at next-door neighbor, Heart of Kansas Mercantile. It includes many Fuller Brush items, Red Barn pet products and sportswear.
“We continue to look forward to other possibilities to make a difference in the downtown community,” Bitter added.