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“No peeking” signs are down, and all are welcome to peek

By Staff | May 27, 2018

Sarah Zabel and her husband, Kevin, have set up shop in the downtown mini-mall with their new business known as “The Rustic Board.”

Just a few months ago, Kevin and Sarah Zabel’s new business was warning passersby on Main Street in Blue Earth to not peek in their windows.

Something big was coming.

Now, it’s finally here.

The Rustic Board is now open for business.

Sarah Zabel, who is originally from Granada, says she and her husband, who is from Blue Earth, had been considering opening a business based on their love of reclaimed wood furniture and painted wood signs.

“I have loved doing these types of projects for over 10 years,” says Zabel. “My mom was always doing reclaiming projects stripping wood, revarnishing it. I loved watching her do it, and always liked helping her. And I got into it, too.”

Once friends began noticing Zabel’s knack for painting wooden signs, she began creating more and more items for friends and family to enjoy.

Zabel’s cute, fun designs paired with repurposed wood has caught the attention of locals for a while, as some of Zabel’s works have been donated items in past community fundraising auctions and events. Then, she began hosting, and assisting with hosting, craft parties around Blue Earth.

“The question every time we hosted a party was where the location would be,” she says. “Then, after a while, we began asking what the rent would be like in the space we have now, and we took a chance. I’m happy we did.”

That chance has already been paying off fairly handsomely. Zabel says her family’s new business already has backorders for furniture pieces, especially planters that have caught the eye of many a local gardener.

While Kevin makes most of the wooden furniture, Sarah takes responsibility for finishing and painting the projects. From wood stains, to paint, to antiquing the duo can do it all.

Their first week of business began the Saturday of the Wine Walk, and Zabel says the traffic during the Saturday celebration certainly gave her a vote of confidence for the business.

“We’ve been open for maybe two weeks, and the response has been amazing,” she says.

The Rustic Board offers reclaimed furniture, home decor, and something called ‘creative space.’

“We have a space to host our craft parties, and it’s so great that we have such a wide open space to do it now.”

Where the “Belly, Baby and Beyond” business used to be, The Rustic Board crew has moved in and made themselves at home. And they’ve kept quite busy.

“We are open to talking with folks about projects they may want to bring in to be refinished or repurposed,” says Zabel. “We are absolutely willing to talk with our patrons about that possibility.”

To be completely honest, however, the duo is quite consumed with orders, already.

“It’s crazy. One week, we were wondering if we were doing the right thing, and the next week, our garage is pretty much full with orders,” Zabel laughs. “Kevin plays a huge part in our business. I?can’t possibly imagine doing this without his help at this point.”

The two entrepreneurs were somewhat hesitant at first to begin their business downtown. There were a lot of what-ifs, but Zabel says there comes a point where you just have to take a leap of faith.

“When I was first thinking about it, of course I was nervous. It’s a fairly important investment,” she says. “But I love doing this, and I have enjoyed doing it for a long time, and I thought ‘what’s there to lose?’ I’m still going to do these projects no matter what, and you never know who you will pull in for business.”

Zabel says the team is still working on what business hours are best for The Rustic Board, but encourages anyone with inquiries to give her a call at (507) 525-3010.

“We will have regular hours soon, but we just want to make sure we have a schedule that works not only for our customers, but for us while we are creating more pieces for the storefront and working on orders. I am very excited to see what is to come for us.”