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The Gardens Gift Shop gets a makeover!

The project’s vision

[May 28, 2019] When one of our Arboretum volunteers, Jan Feltes, the Gardens Gift Shop Buyer, showed some boards to Dubuque Arboretum Executive Director Sandi Helgerson, Sandi remembers: “When we saw the pile of lumber – we just didn’t see the vision that Jan had.”

Jan’s idea was a beautiful and specific goal-oriented one for the check-out area: She wanted “to have a welcoming, appealing look as we welcome our visitors.” And … Arboretum volunteers delivered!

The team and the process


Jan is so grateful, “I am blessed to have a fantastic team to have fun with!”


Donna Slade contributed more than 70 hours to the project. Donna advised how to prepare the strips of wood to be attached to the existing counter. She white-washed all the shelf display units, then took the Arboretum’s logo, enlarged it, and hand-stenciled it onto the boards finishing it all off with stain.

For the counter, Greg Welbes volunteered more than 40 hours to construct the 50 boards (previously sanded, white-stained, and varnished by Jan Feltes). Jan: “After we decided the best board-fit for the best look, Greg attached all of the boards to the existing counter.”

Cheri Thilmany contributed 20 hours’ time white-washing the foyer’s entry cabinet and display pieces … finishing with varnish.

Jenny Bodensteiner gave time painting the gift shop’s walls. [Terry Mozena and Jan Feltes chose soft colors — like the outdoors — to make the gift shop more inviting to shop.]

The gift shop inventory

For the Gardens Gift Shop’s inventory this year, Terry Mozena and Jan Feltes combed through countless catalogs to find one-of-a-kind, garden-inspired gifts. [Jan: “The two of us will set up the shop displays throughout the season. And Terry is a great person to work with!”]

Other wonderful contributors: Patti Ruden who went with Jan to a gift show and helped carry all their purchases to the car; Donna Beadle and Barb Horsfall who entered all the items into inventory, then tagged them all … a marathon task!


“After it was completed, we couldn’t believe how wonderful it all looked!”

Sandi Helgerson


Wanna join in the fun?

Scheduling Coordinator, Linda Gavin, is always on the look-out for friendly Arboretum volunteers to staff our beautiful Welcome Center and The Gardens Gift Shop. It’s a big job coordinating all the volunteer workers for shifts, 7 days a week. Linda: “It’s truly a wonderful way to meet people from around the world, see wedding celebrations throughout the season, and support this beautiful place! You’ll soon discover that it’s much more than a gift shop; it’s a voice of welcome.”

Interested?
Contact Barb Block, Volunteer Coordinator, at 563.556.2100 to inquire about volunteering.

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