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THREE CHEERS — Hip Hip Hooray!
This column salutes REAP businesses that are finding ways to increase their success.

Tooties Art, Frames, and Gifts Grows from Artistic Inspiration
With only a few hundred dollars and a love af art, this business woman has framed her way to success.

It can be done – that is starting a business with $500 and a few supplies! Cheryl “Tootie” Ebel, owner of Tooties Art, Frames and Gifts in Falls City, Nebraska believes that if your business involves doing something you truly enjoy, it shows.

Because of Tootie’s background as an artist and her years of experience with the shop, people trust her in helping them with their framing and decorating decisions.

Last August the store moved just a couple blocks south on Falls City’s Stone Street to a new location. This looks to be a “good move” in the way of increased foot traffic into the store.

The store has had framing service as its backbone service throughout its 15 years. Tootie got into the framing business because it complimented her work as an artist/painter.

Gift sales have grown to be a significant part of the store’s sales. In addition to retail sales, Tootie acts as a wholesaler, selling giftware to area casino gift shops, tribe-owned gas stations, as well as to the nearby Indian Cave State Park “Cedar Post” gift shop.

Tootie advises that new businesses shouldn’t expect the best right off the bat. She worked with her suppliers on a “cash, pay as you go” basis during those early days.

She believes it is important to really listen to customers and don’t over promise. Also she’s learned to keep the store open later to accommodate working women’s schedules.

Being an artist is Tootie’s first love. She uses oil paint as her primary medium, and enjoys doing commission “special order” portrait work. The store carries art supplies, and Tootie teaches art classes at the store on a regular basis. Plans are to make a room in the basement into a classroom and to install a kitchen to make fudge, candy, and popcorn to sell.

A charter member of the Richardson County Business Development Association, which REAP helped form in 1999, Tootie serves as chairperson of the group. She enjoys the networking and educational programs of the group. Continuous learning and networking has been a key to Tootie’s business success.

To learn more or to visit the store, contact Tootie at Tooties Art, Frames & Gifts, 1604 Stone St., Falls City NE 68355, 402.245.3492,

Cheryl "Tootie" Ebel shown in her store in Falls City, Nebraska.
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