September 23, 2023


Carefully Crafted Home

Prestige Furniture opens in downtown Sparta

Prestige Furniture opened Nov. 4 in the former Mike’s TV, Appliance & Furniture store at 119 S. Water St. in downtown Sparta, which had closed in January after 47 years in business.

The Sparta store’s grand opening probably will be in mid- to late January, said owner Mike Kidd, who expects to close his store in La Crosse’s Valley View Mall within the next few weeks. He started Prestige Furniture in Holmen in 2016 and moved it to the mall in 2019.

Kidd bought the Sparta building (which was built in 1896) in late September after announcing plans to move his store to Sparta.

With help from his assistant manager, Henry Haas, left, Mike Kidd opened his new Prestige Furniture store at 119 S. Water St. on November 4.

Prestige Furniture

Along with home furnishings and traditional décor, Prestige Furniture in downtown Sparta will offer sports memorabilia.

Mike and Julie Haas owned Mike’s TV, Appliance & Furniture, which they operated with the help of their son, Henry, and his wife, Stephanie. Henry now works for Kidd as Prestige Furniture’s assistant manager. Kidd’s sons Jordan and Jameson also help him run the business.

People are also reading…

Kidd said he has much more space in the new Sparta location than he had at the mall, including about 10,000 square feet of display space on the first floor, and about 8,000 square feet on the basement level, which he plans to expand into within the next several days.

Hours at the Sparta store are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday; and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Starting in January, the store will be open seven days a week.

Kidd also said he expects to complete his purchase of the former Sime Furniture store in Viroqua this week. He plans to open a second Prestige Furniture location there about Feb. 1, after he renovates the Viroqua store.

For more information about the Sparta store, call 608-487-9013 or visit or Facebook.

Steve Cahalan mug

Steve Cahalan

Kelly and Wendy Vaughn opened Rural Sophisticate & Co. home decor and gift store on Nov. 19 at 1535 Commercial St. in downtown Bangor, and plan to open two more businesses soon in an adjacent building at 1531 Commercial St.

The Vaughns have extensively renovated both buildings, which they bought last November. They plan to open two more businesses, the Highland Ridge Market and then the Wales Mill Pub and Bistro, soon in the building at 1531 Commercial St.

The market will sell such things as artisan cheeses, artisan meats, appetizers, take-and-bake pies, cookie dough, bread dough, soups, olive oil and honey. It also will sell coffee, cinnamon rolls and Danish rolls.

The pub and bistro will sell craft beers and wine and will have a light food menu.

Rural Sophisticate & Co. sells special gifts and specialty home decor items that are “something different,” Wendy Vaughn said. “We have a lot of Christmas items” such as ornaments, as well as wine, craft beer, hand soaps, cleaning products, maple syrup, coffees, popcorn, specialty towels, pillows and candles, she said.

The new store is open from Wednesday through Sunday. Check its Facebook page for hours.

For more information, call 608-386-7271 or visit the Facebook page.

Khouri Markos will open The Original, a short-term rental and event space, on Thursday at 305 Pearl St. It’s on the historic building’s second floor, above Markos Wholesale & Retail Apparel, a business at 303 Pearl St. that’s owned by her father, Richard E. Markos.

The space occupied by The Original was the home of the original Gundersen Clinic. Adolf Gundersen established his practice there in 1891. The building was constructed in 1870. The Markos family acquired the building in 1955.

Photos and informational displays illustrate the building’s long history. The Original is furnished with antiques and vintage pieces, Khouri Markos said.

Some holiday parties already have been booked at The Original, she said. And as a short-term rental, The Original also is part of the Airbnb and Vrbo networks.

“I was inspired by my dad’s long-term commitment to the downtown community” and to the building’s history, Markos said of her decision to open The Original, which has been remodeled and is decorated for the holidays.

For more information, call Markos at 507-313-1310 or visit The Original’s Facebook or Instagram pages.

Markos’s husband, Baxter Cochennet, started his Heelclickers Photography business in September.

“I specialize in the candid, photojournalistic style of photography and enjoy applying this to a variety of contexts, from weddings, to live music, to action sports,” he said. “I grew up in Colorado and moved to La Crosse with my family in November 2021.

“I don’t have traditional education in photography (beyond high school fundamentals) but learned through experience in the field as an avid hobby photographer for 15 years,” Cochennet said. He also said he is booking holiday portrait sessions at The Original.

For more information, call 970-769-5769 or visit or Facebook.

Nails by Heather LLC nail salon has opened at 111 Fifth Ave. S. in downtown La Crosse.

“I offer all types of nail services, and I try to find the right product for clients’ nails and lifestyles,” owner Heather Lee said. “What works for some may not work for others. Nails is not a one-size-fits-all service. It should be customized to make the client happy and bring them joy.”

The salon owner works by appointment only and is usually booked out two to three weeks in advance. “My website is, where you can see my services, and maybe find a rare online appointment,” she said. “I prefer all communications via texting at 608-797-1587 to keep everyone’s requests in one simple, easy-to-find spot.”

For more information, visit Facebook or Instagram.

James Cherf has moved his by James Frame Seller custom framing business to a second-floor location, Suite F at 513 Main St. It previously was in the lower level of the same building.

The business opened in July in the new location. Hours are by appointment.

For more information, call 608-785-2637.