Jenny Eklund of Perry, local entrepreneur, former city councilperson and moving spirit of the annual Art on the Prairie festival, sold the Perry Paint and Design business Thursday to her longtime colleague Larry Moore and to former Perry Chief publisher Patricia Saulsbury Snyder.
Terms of the sale were undisclosed.
A longtime fixture of Perry’s downtown retailing, Perry Paint and Design sells paint, flooring, glass and mirrors, cabinetry and countertops, windows and many other products. They consult on interior design and remodeling and also offer a wide range of equipment rentals.
Eklund said Saturday the move will let her devote her attention more fully to La Poste LLC, the 100-year-old former U.S. Post Office and administrative offices of the Perry school system that she and co-owners Mary Rose Nichols and Ann Connors — the self-styled Ladies of La Poste — purchased in 2012 for $1 and have painstakingly restored to its former beauty.
The downtown building has become a popular venue for weddings and parties, and the building’s basement, called the Cellar at La Poste, attracts regular crowds for musical entertainment and refreshments.
“I’ve been so divided between the store here and La Poste that I couldn’t really do justice to either,” Eklund said Saturday morning, standing beside the paint mixer in the workroom of the business she has spent the last nine years building. “We are incredibly busy now at La Poste, and this way I can give it the time it deserves.”
Larry Moore has worked at Perry Paint and Design seven years. Eklund said Moore is the most skilled glass worker she has ever seen and never cuts corners on a job.
“Larry is so talented,” Eklund said Saturday, raising a blush on the face of the modest Moore. “He doesn’t do the kind of slap-dash work people used to see, where they’d just grab the money and run.”
Moore said changes in the business will be introduced gradually under his leadership.
“There’s not a lot of changes yet,” he said. “We’re just going to try to get a smooth transition here and carry on as we have been. Maybe we’ll introduce some new stuff up in the front of the store here once we get going.”
Moore said he and Eklund negotiated with local bankers over several months in order to put together the deal.
“We’ve been working on it for a while and finally got it done,” Moore said. “The first year or six months is going to be what decides it.”
He said Snyder would start work March 23.
“Pat’s going to come on board and kind of buy herself into the company,” Moore said, “and we’ll work it out that way.”
Snyder will bring her vision and accounting experience to the business. She became publisher of the Perry Chief and Chiefland Shopper in May 2013, when Arkansas-based Stephens Media bought the local business from longtime publisher Steve Whitehead of Perry.
Stephens Media, which also owned newspapers in Ames, Boone, Adel and elsewhere in central Iowa, sold its media assets to New Media Investment Group, a New York holding company, in February 2015.