2011 Existing Business of the Year

Fleener Funeral Home

  • Owner: Jeani Gustafson
  • Nature of Business: Art Gallery
  • City: Ulysses
  • County: Grant
  • Phone: (620) 424-3828
  • Business Structure: Sole Proprietorship
  • Business Began: 2006
  • Employees: 3
  • KSBDC Consultant: Pat Veesart

Secret to Success:

"Don’t try to do it all by yourself. Our gallery would not exist without the cooperative work of the artists who make it all possible. We’re stronger by working together."

You could say that The Main ARTery began with a stroke of "Jeanious." Jeani Gustafson began in another location as Jeanious Art Studio, a small studio that featured her work, a custom framing business, and a small classroom. The KSBDC helped her get it started and grow. Through her business she got to know many of the local artists.

A few years later Jeani invited the KSBDC to talk with a group of local women wanting to start a family clothing cooperative called Trendsetters in downtown Ulysses. Jeani is a member of the board and thought the board would benefit from hearing from KSBDC consultants about options available and what to consider in determining a location for the cooperative. Since the loss of the last clothing store, this group was concerned about the decline of Main Street. While discussing ideas for the cooperative, Jeani realized that moving her studio downtown would allow her to bring the framing business to Main Street; expand her classroom facility; add a much larger gallery; provide a place for local artists to gather and show their artwork; and help the downtown area.

The cooperative gallery, the Main ARTery, is located next door to Trendsetters and they share some of the facilities. The gallery features the work of 18 artists who work in a cooperative of their own within the gallery. “I'm very proud of heading up the organization and operation of the gallery. It would not have been possible without input and action from this amazing group of artists,” Jeani explained. "There is a lot of comfort in knowing I can still call on the KSBDC. It's a great resource and I've contacted them many times."