“It’s never too late to live happily ever after and that’s exactly what I’m going to do.”
These are the words of Ethel Wolf during a River Country Journal interview on Wednesday (June 30th), the final day for retail sales in her Craft Fair Too store at 53 North Main Street in downtown Three Rivers.
Wolf is wrapping up almost 30 years in business – a combination of working out of her home and, in recent years, at the downtown store, initially as manager and later as owner since inheriting the business from her son, Christopher, upon his passing several years ago.
Wolf said she’s “done a lot of things” in her life – taught school, waited tables, even “the horse business for awhile,” but the majority of her life has been involved with “sewing and the craft business” – “just a whole lot of things” that have made life “a very interesting adventure.” Along the way, Wolf has been a mother, grandmother and, now, a great grandmother. (Ethel_Wolf_audio clip – :39)
Wolf got into quilt making in 2000, the same year that she helped establish the River Country Quilters, a group that currently numbers around 45 members and has been involved in presenting several quilt exhibits and shows at the Carnegie Center for the Arts in Three Rivers, something Wolf describes as “another one of my wonderful experiences.” She plans to continue making quilts.
While operating the downtown store, Wolf served on the board of the Three Rivers Downtown Development Authority, chaired the Promotion Committee, and was involved in a number of Christmas open houses. Regarding her downtown involvement, Wolf said, “Working with folks downtown has been wonderful. I have made so many great friends and have met so many interesting people.”
Wolf is encouraged with the progress that’s been made in revitalizing the downtown area. She said, “I’ve seen it run from one end to the other with the economy being really good and the economy being really bad and it’s been difficult at times to even keep the doors open. But downtown Three Rivers is continually progressing. Even though I’m going out, it’s great to see new businesses, different types of businesses, coming in.”
Wolf said she will vacate the building that has housed Craft Fair Too by July 24th and indicated she’s looking forward to retirement. That’s where the “It’s never too late to live happily ever after” phrase that appears on a bracelet she wears comes into play.
When asked what’s ahead, Wolf said, “Living life happily ever after, which is going to include seeing more of my family and being able to do more with them. Certainly traveling, going back to my home state of Pennsylvania and being able to stay for longer periods of time, and catching up with old friends. And I think I would like to get into oil painting and continue with my quilting and continue with photography and finish working on my house someday. It’s an old farmhouse so it’s always under construction.”
Wolf also mentioned something she almost forgot – drag racing! She noted that she’s been on the committee for the car show that takes place during the Water Festival, “doing the Christopher Wolf Memorial Trophy Awards and having my vehicles out here.” And she added, “I have been to several drag races and am planning going drag racing the end of July in Muncie, Indiana.”
Regarding her life to this point, Wolf said, “It’s been an amazing, wonderful, rewarding journey, experience. I’m not going to say I’m going to miss my friends. I will miss them in one respect, but, in another respect, I will have more time to spend with them because closing the store will give me that time and I am certainly not moving out of state. I’m not selling my home. I will still be right here in Three Rivers.”
Wolf also expressed some words of appreciation: “I would just like to thank Three Rivers for the years that people have been coming in to be customers and for their years of friendship and, at times, picking me up when I’ve been down. I really appreciate all of that from everyone.”
To hear the interview with Ethel Wolf – conducted by Bruce Snook of the River Country Journal – click here (7:17 – 6.68 MB).