Small town In­di­ana busi­ness at­tracts crafters

Post Tribune (Sunday) - - News - By Mitchell Kirk Pharos-Tri­bune

TWELVE MILE, Ind. — The ladies sat at their re­spec­tive work spaces, hud­dled over table­tops strewn with pho­tos and scrap­book adorn­ments.

They were sur­rounded by con­tain­ers and bags filled with sup­plies and tools. Along both ends of the room par­tic­i­pants cut, glued and laughed. Gro­ceries cov­ered the kitchen coun­ters, and win­dows framed a sec­ond-story view of down­town Twelve Mile.

The group of friends, all from the Fort Wayne area, trav­els there a cou­ple of times a year to spend a long week­end dec­o­ra­tively pre­serv­ing their mem­o­ries while creat­ing new ones in the process.

Kathy’s Kap­tured Mo­ments has been cap­tur­ing mo­ments like th­ese for the past sev­eral years. Owner Kathy Buczkowski opened the busi­ness in fall 2013. Her par­ents own the build­ing next door and bought the one that houses the craft retreat space in 2012.

Buczkowski said the prop­erty was built around 1910 and through­out its his­tory housed a dance hall and then a cabi­net shop. She re­called with a laugh her and her par­ents’ de­sire to tear it down dur­ing their first walk-through. Part of the roof was miss­ing. There was wa­ter and fire dam­age.

“And then we started dream­ing and, I don’t know, we just started see­ing vi­sions of what it could be,” Buczkowski said.

Be­fore start­ing her busi­ness, Buczkowski had been scrap­book­ing for sev­eral years and used to do so at a craft retreat in La Porte un­til it closed. She said it was part of her in­spi­ra­tion to cre­ate Kathy’s Kap­tured Mo­ments.

But she hadn’t planned on start­ing un­til af­ter her chil­dren were grown.

“Then my mom bought this build­ing; she says, ‘We’re go­ing to do it now!’ ” Buczkowski re­called with a laugh. “It’s turned into my col­lege fund now in­stead.”

Along with the prop­er­ties they own, Buczkowski’s par­ents also own a lo­cal vet­eri­nary clinic.

“Their dream is to keep this town alive,” she said.

Af­ter get­ting the prop­erty, the fam­ily brain­stormed ways they could use it to draw vis­i­tors to Twelve Mile.

“This was kind of a neat way to get peo­ple to come into our lit­tle town,” Buczkowski said.

They gave it two bed­rooms that sleep a to­tal of 10, two bath­rooms with sink bowls that rest atop old sewing ma­chines, a kitchen and a large work space in the cen­ter that’s per­fect for craft­ing.

“It’s a re­ally calm­ing at­mos­phere,” Buczkowski said. “I think it’s very peace­ful. It is mel­low and it’s a great place to just hang out with your friends and catch up.”

Along with scrap­book­ers, Buczkowski said Kathy’s Kap­tured Mo­ments hosts re­treats for quil­ters, em­broi­der­ers and even Bi­ble stud­ies. Groups from as far as Chicago and Bloom­ing­ton have trav­eled to the small Cass County town to get away for craft­ing and com­pan­ion­ship.

Buczkowski said her busi­ness av­er­ages about two re­treats a month. Fall and spring are her busiest, she con­tin­ued, adding every week­end is usu­ally booked through Septem­ber, Oc­to­ber and November.

She ad­mit­ted she was ner­vous when she opened, think­ing peo­ple wouldn’t want to come to tiny Twelve Mile, but she’s been pleas­antly sur­prised with the re­sponse. Vis­it­ing crafters will of­ten check out what else the area has to of­fer, she said, like com­mu­nity break­fasts and the nearby McClure’s Or­chard/Win­ery.

Lynn An­tis­del, of Fort Wayne, was at Kathy’s Kap- tured Mo­ments one re­cent week­end. She in­di­cated all of the dig­i­tal medi­ums avail­able for cat­a­loging pho­to­graphs are of lit­tle in­ter­est to her and her friends.

“You don’t get to do all this,” she said, ges­tur­ing to­ward the pho­to­graphs and scrap­book­ing sup­plies be­fore her.

Across the room, Sonja Wine­bren­ner, of Auburn, used a ma­chine called a Cri­cut to cut out small pieces of pa­per in the shapes of swim trunks and a camper. She was work­ing on a scrap­book of pho­tos de­pict­ing her son’s MakeA-Wish trip to San Diego.

Scrap­book­ing re­treats al­low her to take part in a pas­time that life’s re­spon­si­bil­i­ties of­ten keep her from at home.

“It gives you the op­por­tu­nity to be fo­cused and to spend time with friends and re­con­nect with those friends,” Wine­bren­ner said as her Cri­cut hummed.

Cindy Shep­herd, of Hun­ter­town, was on the other side of the room work­ing on a scrap­book of a re­cent fam­ily trip to Bal­ti­more, where her daugh­ter lives. Shep­herd echoed Wine­bren­ner on why she en­joys craft re­treats.

“I can just fo­cus on noth­ing but scrap­book­ing for four days,” she said.

Julie Brown, of Os­sian, and Dawn Kle­ber, of Fort Wayne, worked away in a cor­ner on scrap­books of their own. Brown’s was of a fam­ily va­ca­tion to the Bilt­more Es­tate in North Carolina, while Kle­ber’s was of her daugh­ter’s soft­ball mem­o­ries.

Both said they en­joy the col­lab­o­ra­tive dynamic re­treats pro­vide. The ladies and their friends of­ten bounce ideas off each other and share tools.

Kle­ber said all one has to say is they don’t have a cer­tain kind of pa­per.

“And you’ll get ev­ery­body flip­ping around,” she added.

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