Featured Vendors

people > stuff

Sarah Ahrens

Hello to all our new followers, customers and friends! We are The Ahrens Family and we wanted to share our story as to how we started our small business. We had tossed around and were toying with the idea of creating a small business for a few months to help support the NEEDS of our two children, Mason & Emma. Mason has a speech delay, which we were all working through, and in the process we found out he needed speech sessions several times a week to help him. These sessions would not be covered by insurance even though the need was definite. At over $100 for an hour session we knew we had to do some quick thinking to financially provide for him the services he needed. We created our first flag in July 2017 and Love Actually Designs LLC. was born. Since then we are happy to say that Mason has received his needed speech sessions and has made leaps and bounds. He worked hard and has overcome so much at such a young age and it is all thanks to your support and orders that he is where he is today❤️ Our small business has grown in the last three years and you can now see our work in Best of Beloit Vintage Mall and Best of Janesville Vintage Mall where we have booth spaces. Besides the flags, we also create farmhouse shelving, ladders, tables, Wisconsin chairs & rockers, barn & cottage doors as well as design & construct new decks. We also have a home staging service that was created from our business and we currently stage local homes that are for sale. We are grateful beyond belief for all the love, people, support and work we have been given and to find something we ACTUALLY LOVE to do!

Nick Skrepenski

Hello BOJ family and customers, my Name is Nick Skrepenski and I am the owner of “1974.” I was born and raised in Manitowoc, WI, but call Sun Prairie my home. I am married to my wife, Nessa, and have two daughters, Emma and Molly. Emma is a sophomore at UW Platteville majoring in Veterinary Science and Molly is a junior at Sun Prairie High School. I also have two dogs named Brutus and Cooper. Brutus is exactly what you would think, a 200-pound slobbering St. Bernard. Cooper is a mix of some of this and some of that and maybe some Great Pyrenees and Golden Retriever. I’m not sure if I could narrow down my ultimate job to just one. I think if I could be an antique picker, run a doggie daycare, be a new member of Motley Crue, and play for the Green Bay Packers all at the same time, that would be the start of my ultimate job! In all honesty, I never really intended on starting a business but with some encouragement from my family, I decided to put my skills to the test and started a small business about 8 years ago. While working as a Law Enforcement Officer for the past 20+ years and having an active family life, I never thought I would have time for much else. But when I began to understand the toll of my career and day to day life experiences can have on your mind, body, and soul, I realized life is too short and needed to focus on the positive experiences. I have always been a creative person and felt a great sense of pride in making and designing anything and everything for friends and family. I realized the time spent working on projects made me relax and relieved stress. I love for all of my art to have a meaning. Every piece that I make needs to have a piece  that has been “upcycled” or given to me from a special person. I have made several pieces of abstract dog art, where all the wood I used came from a puppy mill in Berrien County, GA. As I was contemplating starting a “small business,” I had come up with several crazy and outlandish business names, but nothing seemed to stick.  I took my mom’s advice and came up with the simple business name of “1974.” The year that all of the creativity began (The year I was born.) My favorite part of being a vendor at the Best of Janesville is the people.

The advice I would give to any new maker/entrepreneur would be to “find what you love and let it kill you.”  To me, this quote means finding a purpose in your life, no matter how small or large and live for it. Finding the passion and purpose in your life is a trial-by-fire process. You don’t simply wake up one day and become happy doing one thing forever and ever.  It’s a constant work-in-progress. You must try something, pay attention to how it feels, adjust and then try again. Nobody gets it right on the first try, or the tenth or sometimes even the two-hundredth.  I am definitely not a philosopher or a poet, but the quote really stuck with me. So much so that I had it tattooed on my forearm. Thank you for checking out my small business within the Best of Janesville Vintage Mall.

Renee Gunderson