October 14, 2019 – West Bend, WI – This week Michelle Gruszynski, owner of Michelle’s Beauty Boutique, is celebrating 25 years in business. Michelle’s Beauty Boutique has been a fixture at the corner of Eastern Avenue and Decorah Road.
Gruszynski is a familiar face in town having graduated Erik of Norway in April 1985 she soon was working for Rose Marie’s Hair Design at the Westfair Mall, 1986 – 1994.
Photo courtesy Stores Forever
“I remember a ramp connecting the mall to the Shopko,” said Mary Driscoll of West Bend who remembered stores like Bit’s N’ Pieces (the water wheel and the talking parrot named George), Little Professor Book Store, Kindy Optical, West Bend Savings and Loan, George Webbs (owned by Ron Buck), the Shoe Rack which later became Nobel’s Shoe Store, Little Professor Book Store, JD Codys (a pants store), Canton House, Rose Marie’s Hair Design and Allen Hron Jewelers.
Vera’s hair salon was one of the main attractions at Westfair. “That was the salon,” said Jean Falk who worked for Helen Baierl and her sister Rose Marie Alf at the store for 10 years. “She was ahead of her time and for West Bend that was a really cool salon,” she said about the business which later became Rose Marie’s Hair Design.
“I remember there were big wooden clowns on the wall with balloons and stores had their names on the balloons,” said Rose Marie who had 12 chairs in her salon. “I was actually the last one to leave the mall when it closed and I remember all the other stores moved out and it was scary at night for the employees, especially when you wanted to use the restroom way down the hall.”
Many who recalled the final days of the mall said the downturn occurred when Shopko moved across the street and businesses followed into the new, enclosed Paradise Mall.
Gruszynski struck out on her own in October 1994 when MJ’s Beauty Boutique opened on Main Street in West Bend. In 1999 she bought Michelle’s Beauty Boutique from Dorothy Blanchette, who built the home/salon when the high school was constructed in 1970.
Over the year’s Gruszynski has given back to the community with volunteer work at the Albrecht Free Clinic, The Threshold, and working as a rape counselor at Friends of Abused Families.
Congratulations Michelle on your business success.
On a side note: For those of you who remember, Rose Marie Kasten died December 16, 2010. She had been battling cancer.