Blue Bench celebrates grand opening

Chris Rusch opens boutique with non-boutique prices in downtown Oconto Falls
By: 

Warren Bluhm, wbluhm@newmedia-wi.com


Chris Rusch opened the Blue Bench Boutique in downtown Oconto Falls at the beginning of February and marked her grand opening March 2. (Times Herald photo by Warren Bluhm)


Customers check out the grand opening deals Saturday at Blue Bench Boutique in Oconto Falls. (Times Herald photo by Warren Bluhm)


The silhouette of a stylish shopper adorns the front door of the Blue Bench Boutique in Oconto Falls. (Times Herald photo by Warren Bluhm)

The sun shone Saturday as the ribbon was cut for the grand opening of the Blue Bench Boutique in Oconto Falls.

Chris Rusch opened the store at 211 N. Main St. a month ago, offering affordable fine clothing and home decor.

After serving 30 years as bookkeeper at KW Rusch Inc. — owned by her husband, Kevin — Rusch started Blue Bench out of their home about two years ago to gauge interest in the business.

“I ran out of room and started looking for a nice place on Main Street,” she said as customers began to file in to check out the grand opening sales. “I hope it’ll encourage others to open downtown.”

The business grows out of Rusch’s love for clothing and good deals.

“I love boutiques, but not boutique prices,” she said. “I wanted to make it affordable so everyone can have the best clothes.”

Why the Blue Bench? The name hearkens back to her childhood in Lena as one of 13 children. Her dad built a long bench for the dinner table and painted it blue. The name recalls that fond family memory.

Rusch is running the boutique with help from her sisters, Diane Wessley and Gail Madson, and niece, Grace Madson. Another niece, Tricia Cops, baked and decorated special sugar cookies for the occasion.

Gail Yatso, president of the Oconto Falls Area Chamber of Commerce, and City Administrator Vicki Roberts were among dignitaries gathered around the ribbon as Rusch wielded the ceremonial scissors to open the event.

“It’s exciting to have such a beautiful presence on Main Street, in more ways than one,” Yatso said.

A drawing for three gift cards was part of the festivities. Renee Lemke won a $50 gift card, Jamie Warner $25 and Colleen Duame $10.

Blue Bench Boutique is open 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. For information, visit the boutique’s Facebook page or call 920-373-6494.