Family ties bring business owners to Orfordville

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Ashley McCallum
Monday, September 18, 2017

ORFORDVILLE—Family ties can bring people closer together.

Sometimes, they also can bring business owners to downtown Orfordville.

The owners of the two newest downtown storefronts chose their location for that reason: family.


Tina Wellnitz and Rhonda Streich began the Sassy Farm Chicks quilting business four years ago after their husbands died three months apart, Streich said.

Wellnitz and Streich “married into” Orfordville about 30 years ago, Streich said. Wellnitz, a Janesville native, and Streich, a native of Afton, raised families together in the small western Rock County village.

The women supported each other after the death of their husbands, who were longtime friends and Orfordville natives. They bonded and found comfort in quilting.

Their business developed with help from Wellnitz's daughter Angie, Streich said. After a couple of years of stop-and-go progress on the business, they have moved into the former library at 203 W. Beloit St.

The Sassy Farm Chicks celebrated their opening Saturday with a ribbon-cutting ceremony hosted by the Orfordville Economic Development Committee.

“We wanted to give people another option so they didn't have to drive so far or try something new,” Streich said. “Quilters like to be together, try things out and talk to each other.”

There are many quilters in Rock and Green counties, Streich said. The women hope their new shop can be a gathering place for those who quilt or want to learn.

The shop will offer quilts for sale, custom-made quilts and monthly classes where quilters of all skill levels can learn the craft.


Sisters Shelley Johnson and Becky Olver grew up watching their father run an appliance store and laundromat in Orfordville.

They're taking their turn in business now with a coffee shop, The Haven, 114 E. Spring St. Their goal is to have the shop open before Parkview High School's homecoming Friday, Sept. 22.

The sisters spent many hours downtown as children, Johnson said. Working there now feels nostalgic.

“Part of the reason we picked that (location) is it brought back great memories of our dad being an entrepreneur there,” Johnson said. “(We're) trying to help make the village grow again.”

The sisters got the idea for the coffee shop in January, Johnson said. They saw more businesses opening in the village, and they wanted to join in.

Like Wellnitz and Streich, the sisters want to give residents a local place to spend time and money.

“(Our goal is) to give Orfordville a place where they can gather with their friends or just come by themselves and sit and relax,” Johnson said. “That's where we came up with the name. It's kind of that place that takes you away from everything else.”

The coffee shop will also offer sandwiches and ice cream, Johnson said. Hours are not yet set, but Johnson knows they will not be open Sundays.

Residents also will be able to rent the shop for special occasions and meetings, she said.


Alongside Sassy Farm Chicks quilting, two other businesses celebrated changes with ribbon-cutting ceremonies Saturday.

The Swartz Chiropractic office will move from 120 E. Spring St. to 106 N. Center St., owner Heidi Swartz said.

The chiropractic office has served Orfordville for 17 years, she said. The new setting will not change or expand services, but it will provide more space.

Swartz hopes her business can help bring more people downtown.

“We're definitely trying to be progressive in downtown Orfordville,” Swartz said. “We would like to make it a destination town and make it look like a cute downtown like other places. We know there's room to grow.”

A Cut Above Salon, 105 S. Wright St., is expanding its offerings and selling clothing from Honey and Lace, according to a news release.

Owner Vikki Marchant has owned the salon downtown since 1997, according to the release. She will continue to offer hair products, haircuts and styling.

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