116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
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Amanda Happel's life took some unexpected twists and turns over the past couple of years.
'It's such a dream,” Happel said of the surprising path that led her to open her own business in January. 'Some mornings I wake up and think ‘Am I still doing this?'”
While completing her marketing degree at Mount Mercy University in 2013, Happel took a job as manager of the CreARTivity Studio in Vinton. While she initially envisioned the position as one that would give her an opportunity to apply her marketing skills, she found herself involved in all aspects of the studio's operation, including teaching its Cork and Canvas painting classes.
'I don't consider myself an artist,” Happel said. 'I haven't taken an art class since junior high school.”
The painting classes provided participants with simple instructions for creating a canvas painting while socializing with friends and enjoying a glass of wine or other adult beverage.
'I took the step-by-step directions from the prior instructor and practiced painting the designs on my own,” Happel said. 'When I got comfortable with those, I started creating my own designs.”
Happel's painting classes proved to be so popular that Kirkwood Community College booked her, through the studio, to teach monthly classes as part of its continuing education program.
When CreARTivity Studio closed in December, Kirkwood did not want to cancel the Cork and Canvas classes that it already had scheduled. The studio's owner gave Happel the studio's paint brushes, canvasses and other painting supplies, and Happel formed her own business, Cork N Canvas Iowa.
In addition to the classes offered through Kirkwood, which are scheduled through March 2015, Cork N Canvas Iowa holds classes at public venues such as Brick Arch Winery in West Branch, Franklin Street Brewery in Manchester, and 101 Gastro Pub in Cedar Rapids.
Private parties, corporate events, and classes for children also are available.
Around the same time she started Cork N Canvas Iowa, Happel also took a full-time position as a marketing intern. She gave notice at that job in June.
'I was turning down parties because I was working full-time,” she said.
Happel said she is not sure what the future will hold. Her options range from going back into marketing some day to franchising her business.
'I'm still dazed from this taking off as fast as it did,” she said. 'I'm good with whatever happens. It's been a great opportunity so far.”
AT A GLANCE
l Owner: Amanda Happel
l Business: Cork N Canvass Iowa
l Email: Cork.N.Canvas.Iowa@gmail.com
l Phone: (319) 929-4300
l Website: corkncanvasiowa.wix.com/corkncanvasiowa
l Know of a company in business for less than a year that would be ideal for 'Ground Floor”? Contact George Ford at email@example.com.