Renee and Tim Saul show off the new collection of custom scrapbooking paper and retro candy that is available at the Variety Vault in Green Lake. Laura Lyke photo
by Laura Lyke
Green Lake Reporter
Shortly after Tim and Renee Saul opened their first scrapbooking store in Ripon, “Crop Paper Stickers,” a storefront “for rent” sign in downtown Green Lake caught their eyes.
At first, they saw the window space as an ideal location to place scrapbooking materials as advertisement for their Ripon business, but then they thought bigger.
“We saw that there was a ‘For Rent’ sign and so we called,” Tim said.
The couple initially discussed opening another scrapbooking store, before having other ideas after seeing a mother and her children walk past.
“As a business owner, I thought, what about the kids?” Tim said. “We should open something for them.”
It was then that the idea for Variety Vault, a new business in downtown Green Lake, was sparked.
“Not only does the Variety Vault have scrapbooking supplies, but now we also have games, doll clothes, retro candy, ice cream, antiques, vintage décor and more,” Tim said. “Adults and their children can walk in, and the parents can walk around and shop while their children can sit and eat ice cream while playing a game. It’s welcoming for everyone.”
The name “Variety Vault” not only comes from the large selection of items they sell, but also because of the building’s rich history.
“This building used to be a bank and in the back of the store is a square room that used to be the vault,” Renee said. “It adds character and displays a historical feature of Green Lake.”
The business’s unique and frequent change in inventory is important to the Sauls, as well.
“Our inventory will change every couple weeks. There will be more shelving and additional candies coming in within the next few weeks,” Renee said. “Also the vintage décor and antiques will change every couple weeks.
Tim explained that it’s very important to them that their shop provides unique merchandise to their customers.
“We knew that we wanted to serve ice cream at our store, but we were also aware that other businesses serve ice cream right down the street,” he said. “So to do something different, we’re selling the fun Dip ’n Dots ice cream.
“We also wanted to provide a unique candy selection, but we knew that Guth’s right down the block sells chocolates and caramels. So, we decided to stay away from chocolates and caramels and stick to retro candy — something that is sweet for the kids and almost nostalgic for the adults. That way as Green Lake businesses we can support and complement each other more than compete.”
Right now, the store will only be open during tourist season, but Renee plays around with the idea of hosting scrapbooking classes in the open space below the shop during winter months.
Tim had an additional idea.
“So many kids have been coming in and using the checkerboard table, we are also thinking about hosting checkerboard tournaments at some point,” he said.
Regardless of what they use the space for, the opening of the Variety Vault is the continuation of Renee’s lifelong passion for scrapbooking.
They opened Crop Paper Stickers shortly after moving to Ripon for Tim’s new position as fire chief for Ripon and the surrounding area.
“Scrapbooking is a huge hobby of mine and has been for a very long time. I wanted an opportunity to share that with other people,” Renee said.
“As large-scale scrapbooking stores are closing, we saw that there was a need for it, especially in the Ripon and Green Lake area,” Tim said. “Renee has a passion for it and is very talented at scrapbooking, so I encouraged it. That’s how our scrapbooking businesses came about.”
The Variety Vault’s soft opening was Memorial Day, while the grand opening with the Green Lake Area Chamber of Commerce took place Saturday, June 20.