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Business

Solon's new gift and wine shop, Moxie and Mortar, urges home decor, courage

Connie Davis of Martelle, left, and Deb Wickham of Anamosa browse the merchandise at Moxie and Mortar in Solon on Friday, December 14, 2018. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)
Connie Davis of Martelle, left, and Deb Wickham of Anamosa browse the merchandise at Moxie and Mortar in Solon on Friday, December 14, 2018. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)
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SOLON — Angela Janssen and Gretchen Swan said Pinterest was the catalyst that united them as business partners and owners of Moxie and Mortar, a new home decor and gift shop in Solon.

“Angela and I met through our kids and always gravitated toward each other’s Pinterest boards,” Swan said. “It was like, ‘I love what you love.’”

With the discovery of their shared tastes and interests in home decor and design, Janssen and Swan started discussing over coffee the possibility of going into business together.

“It started so innocently,” Swan said. “Just a caffeinated conversation.”

But for Janssen, who has degrees in design and communications and whose youngest daughter had just started kindergarten, the timing was perfect.

“I was a stay-at-home mom for 15 years, and it’s always been a dream of mine to have my own business,” she said. “I’ve always enjoyed design and making people happy that way.”

The timing also coincided with the growth of Solon, where both women live, with many new restaurants and businesses opening along Main Street.

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“It was more of a question of would this be a helpful, nice thing for the community and a good use of our talents,” said Swan, who previously started a reusable water bottle company and currently owns a property management company with her husband.

In fall 2017, the women began visiting local home decor stores, gift shops, wine bars and coffee shops to explore possible ideas for their business. This past February, they started making decisions.

“We did our due diligence,” Swan said. “We talked long enough and had business minds we respect look at (the plan) and poke holes in it, and we were ready to take the leap.”

The shop, which opened the Saturday before Thanksgiving, offers decor and gift items, with an emphasis on artisan and locally made goods. Wine is available to purchase by the bottle to take home or by the glass for a sip-and-shop experience.

Events, set to begin after the holidays, will include such activities as wine 101 classes, wine-and-food pairing workshops and painting parties.

Janssen and Swan said they chose the name of their business to reflect a philosophy of living life with courage (moxie) and connection (mortar).

“It’s a daily reminder for us to live life to the fullest,” Swan said.

• Know a business in operation for less than a year we should consider for “Ground Floor”? Let us know at michaelchevy.castranova@thegazette.com.

At a Glance

• Owners: Angela Janssen and Gretchen Swan

• Business: Moxie and Mortar

• Address: 121 W. Main St., Solon

• Phone: (319) 624-2829

• Email: moxiemortar@gmail.com

• Website: moxieandmortar.com

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We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.