August 6, 2007

Scrappin' with Kim Niska

By Karrah Anderson
Staff Writer

Stickers, cutouts, paper galore – every tool imaginable to set the stage for creating a memory.

“Scrapbooking your memories one photo at a time,” is a slogan that Kim Niska came up with when designing the flavor for her new business in Delano called Scrappin.’

The name was inspired during a conversation Kim had with her son, Timothy, when he asked her what she was doing one night with papers and cutouts across her lap, and she replied, “just scrappin.’” From there, the name stuck.

Niska became interested in scrapbooking when she was introduced to stamping, and opening a store came to her on a whim.

“This fell into my lap,” Niska explained. “I was just at a garage sale and got to talking, I found out that the bead store was leaving, and decided to lease the building.”

And she did just that. Niska opened for business July 10 and has already made the impact she wanted to make on the community of Delano.

Upon entering the store, a great sense of home is emitted from the cool green walls and open layout. The store allows you to both purchase supplies and to come and join others to make memories on paper.

Niska makes a point to carry every sort of supply and foundation needed to create a scrapbook page, book, and other crafty memories. Every month there is a new schedule of events planned that offers classes like “Make and Take,” where for a small fee you are able to create cards, notebooks, etc, and bring them home.

“Scrap Mania” is another regular scheduled event at Scrappin.’ When Niska closes the store at 6 p.m., many ladies show up and bring their scrap-booking supplies. These women stay until 1 in the morning having a great time.

“It’s good camaraderie with the ladies,” Niska said. “You get to eat pizza, drink pop, giggle, and have a good time.”

Open six days a week, Niska runs the business by herself, making sure to make each person who enters feel welcome and relaxed as soon as they arrive.

“You know people in other stores, they can be pushy – I treat people how I want to be treated. I’d like to be your friend, but also keep it professional and honest,” Niska explained.

Niska’s enthusiasm for a creative outlet inspired her to leave the mortgage business after 15 years and create a scrapbook store close to home. Niska and her husband, Aaron, live in Delano, just a short jaunt to work each day. The small town atmosphere was what made Kim sure Delano was where she wanted to start Scrappin.’

“Everybody knows everybody, it’s like Cheers,” Niska said. “Instead of ‘Hey Norm,’ it’s ‘Hey Kim.’”

Niska explained that a lot of independent scrapbook stores have faded out and the bigger department craft stores lack the feeling of comfort and familiarity that Scrappin’ has.

“People need an outlet to use their time creatively,” Niska said. “But it’s nice to also know people by name.”

Scrappin’ has brought a new flavor to the town of Delano, offering people young and old the chance to come and enjoy a creative space. Niska designed an area for children to enjoy when visiting the store with their parents; they are invited to make a card and color while the adults look around.

Each day, Niska is there to help answer any questions, and to inspire new ideas. If you need suggestions on a theme, a color scheme, or just the perfect sticker, Niska intends to help you get what you need.

“It’s the labor of love,” Kim said. “Whether you’re beginners, or have been doing this for years and years, these are your memories.”

She has found the best of both worlds. Going from a job that left her burnt out, to being inspired daily by the atmosphere and community that surrounds Scrappin,’ Niska is very happy where she is at in her life.

Scrappin’ is located at 203 Bridge Avenue West in downtown Delano. For more information, call (763) 972-8887.

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