When one door closes, another carpet and tile store opens.
After nearly 65 years in business, Slinde’s Interior on Main Street closed on July 1. Five days later another business with similar services opened their second location at 200 Main Street.
Susan Slinde, co-owner of Slinde’s, said it was a bittersweet moment when she and her son, Stuart, turned their business over to Erik and Marci Kadlec of Walgenmeyer’s Carpet and Tile. Her family owned the building since 1957, and the city’s founder Luke Stoughton built the building in 1848. Her father-in-law started the business after returning from World War II and her husband and later her son continued it.
Fortunately, Slinde said, another carpet and interior supplies store moved in who wants to preserve the historic character.
The Kadlecs have always wanted to open a second location in Stoughton after needing more space in their Madison location, they said.
“We fell in love with the historic downtown area and the idea that the Slindes had a floor covering store in this area for so long — they were iconic to Stoughton,” Marci said.
Since the move, the Kaldecs started restoring the 4,000-square-foot building to its original characteristics.
They removed the stone on the outside and found the original cast-iron pillars. They restored the stamped tin above the door, exposed the historic brick and restored glass panes.
“We like taking it back further in time than where it was when we bought it,” Erik said. “There is something about having a historic-looking building — we wanted to do the restoration because it deserves it.”
While in the process of restoring the building, they found a directory in the basement with a red cover: “Stoughton Wisconsin ConSurvey directory 1961.” The Mullin-Kille Company and The Courier Hub Publishing Corporation printed it 60 years ago — Marci said customers come into the store to page through it and find old relatives.
There are old vinyl composition tiles (VCT) in the basement with intricate pharmaceutical insignias and music symbols.
There is even a memento from an old grocery store that the Slinde’s had in their store and have now passed on to the new owners — a bean pot that was given out to customers on Christmas.
“This bean pot was given to Lester and Martha Parish...in the 1930s by OC or Oscar Leng, a handwritten note set inside the bean pot reads.“Leng Grocery was on the n.w. corner of Main and Water Street in Stoughton.”
Susan Slinde said she remembers the day a gentleman brought the pot to Slinde’s and said it should stay with the store. Three months ago the Slindes passed it onto the Walgenmeyer store.
Susan said the best memories of the store were the customers. She recalled once when the former police chief couldn’t pick out a color for carpeting. She offered to go to his house and help him.
“That’s the kind of service that you give a small town,” Susan said.
Walgenmeyer hopes to build that same trust in the Stoughton community.
“We are glad to be here,” Erik said. “Everyday we start to like it more and more.”