Meet Me Downtown: Barb McWithey
Macy Place may still seem new to Fond du Lac natives, but owner Barb McWithey is far from being a rookie business owner. When she opened Macy Place in the fall of 2015 it was with a skill set honed over a lifetime of different careers and businesses.
“Tupperware gave me my start. I went from being a shy flower to an outgoing personality and learned how much I loved the art of making the products look great,” said McWithey.
With her new personality and merchandising skills in hand, McWithey moved into graphic design work creating layouts for a magazine. At that time “cutting and pasting” advertisements meant using glue and scissors, so when computers started arriving on the scene, she quickly saw the potential efficiencies they could provide and jumped in with both feet by opening a computer store.
The computer store, housed in a strip mall near Plymouth, taught her the importance of location. “When I opened Macy Place downtown, it was based on my experience at the computer store. A downtown location has much better visibility and the parking is just as good!”
From building custom computers to working at the Plymouth Arts Center to opening a kitchen and bath design business, McWithey continued to expand her expertise before retiring to Asheville, North Carolina in 2014. Six weeks after retiring, she discovered that she was about to become a grandmother and moved right back to Fond du Lac. Upon arriving she spent time with the new baby and then brought all her experience to a brand-new business hosting art parties, classes, and workshops.
“I didn’t want to twiddle my thumbs forever and I realized that through all of my experiences and even as a child, I had always found a way to do art, but had never considered myself an artist. My shop now lets me see other people learning they can be artists. When you can teach or explain something to someone, whether a child or an adult, and they learn it with delight, that’s a good thing and it brings me joy. Our success is measured in smiles.”
On the third Sunday of each month, readers of the Fond du Lac Reporter catch a glimpse of the world of the entrepreneurs of downtown Fond du Lac via the "Meet Me Downtown series.” For suggestions of a specific business owner to be featured in "Meet Me Downtown," contact the DFP at email@example.com or at 920-322-2006.
The Downtown Fond du Lac Partnership, Inc. is a nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing people, activity, business and a thriving civic life back to the heart of Fond du Lac. The DFP serves 214 properties with 284 businesses, 76 percent of which are small, locally owned and operated.