Old Dime Store transitions from taking care of taxes to tots

Nicole Rogers

Old Dime Store transitions from taking care of taxes to tots

3 min
February 1, 2022

By Nicole Rogers

OWEN - During Christmas week 2021, Johlissa Gerber opened the doors to her daycare located in the old Owen “Dime Store,” as a few locals fondly call it. Gerber has been taking care of tots in her own home previously and required more room to expand her business. On Dec. 15 she moved in and began renting the building from Marcia Deluca.

Johlissa with her daughter and little daycare buddy. Nicole Rogers photo

The Facility

The daycare facility is bright, open, child-friendly and very clean. “Marcia did a lot of work in here before we moved in. She had everything repainted, covered the columns and beams,” Johlissa explained as she motioned to the lofty ceilings and quaint old beams, “She also put in new fans,a new kitchen area and all new flooring.”

The space is full of little memories of the Owen-Withee Elementary school, as Johlissa received some oldies but goodies that the school was not using. She snatched up some little chairs, a desk, a big green chalkboard and a fish table that was in the elementary library for many years. The fish table fits nicely under the big store front window, which back in the day,displayed holiday decorations and a variety items for sale.

History on the Building

Marcia Duluca bought the 110-year-old building once named Ray’s Variety Store in hopes of converting it to a Italian Restaurant. Even though the vintage building never served Italian cuisine, Deluca put a lot of time and money into bringing the old gal back to life. Before Johlissa converted the building into a daycare center, Socwell Accounting rented the space, offering book keeping and tax preparation for many in the area. So, it could be said it went from taxes to tots.

Daycare Details

At this time, Johlissa has three day care families. She is working on her child care certificate through Child Development Associates,once that is complete she will be able to take more children. However, there are openings at this time. She offers breakfast, lunch and snacks and has been told she has a way of getting children to eat more veggies. She will fit the meal to the needs of the children but generally does not serve a lot of meat.Currently, she is open weekdays 7 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. but is flexible and will do nights and weekends if needed. For more information or to enroll in the daycare call 608-518-9002 or find her on Facebook page.

Personal Background

Gerber has five children of her own their ages ranging from13 to 4 years old. Johlissa grew up in Neillsville and graduated from Cloverdale,IN. Johlissa said she introduced herself to the community by becoming a Girls Scout leader in O-W and continues to lead the Daisy’s. She has been tutoring a girl for a few years now and makes sure all the daycare children have their homework done before they leave for the day. Besides soon having a day care certification, Johlissa has an associate degree in human resources.

So, the old Ray’s Variety Store lives on with youthful energy. Back in the early days, the stately building welcomed youngsters to its expansive candy counter and collection of toys and games, today the rejuvenated old structure again hosts children from infant to school age. Johlissa is very happy to welcome even more children to her downtown daycare.

This article was orginally reported by
Nicole Rogers

Nicole Rogers, lives in Owen, WI, and is the co-editor for the Sentinel & Rural News.