LA CROSSE, WI (WXOW)—A survey from the National Federation of Independent Businesses shows only six-percent of small businesses surveyed think now is a good time to expand.
But that's not stopping one La Crosse business.
Miles Wilkins came to the board store in 1990 to set up a home improvement department. He never expected one day he'd be the owner.
"That's been my work but it's almost like a hobby. I really love doing it," Wilkins said.
Wilkins ran the home improvement department for 18 years.
"I had a substantial part of my life invested in home improvement organization here," Wilkins said. "And the owners were willing to work with me to purchase it. Otherwise if someone else purchased it we may have been left unemployed."
Over the years, home improvement grew larger than the furniture business. Now, as owner, Wilkins is working to expand that.
"We decided we need to get in it to win it so to speak so we started expanding the store," Wilkins said.
They gutted out the second level and turned it into a showroom because he said you can only sell what you show.
"I've begun to enjoy the furniture business," Wilkins said. "It's kind of like a new kind of fun after being in home improvement for as many years as I was."
He says the idea behind home improvement and new furniture isn't much different.
"You work with people and you do things that make their life better and that's what makes it fun," Wilkins said.
Wilkins is also working on restoring the outside of the buildings historical features. He's already uncovered the original columns hidden under stucco in one section.
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