Cathy Langel, owner of Rumor Prom and Bridal in downtown Fayette, continues work on the outside renovation of her building. On October 29, Upper Iowa University will present her with a ceremonial check for $100,000 as this year's recipient of the Upper Iowa Business Development Grant, which supports economic development of the community.
FAYETTE, Iowa (October 19, 2012) — Upper Iowa University will present the ceremonial check for $100,000 to Cathy Langel, owner of a new prom and bridal dress shop in Fayette at 1 p.m. on Monday, October 29. The check presentation will be held in front of Rumor Prom and Bridal at 8 S. Main Street.
The check represents the University's fourth Upper Iowa Business Development (UIBD) grant, which is awarded annually to new or expanding businesses in Fayette. The UIBD grant is a cash award given to support economic development in the city of Fayette. The grant was created through a $500,000 endowment by Upper Iowa University Board of Trustees Chair Bob Firth and his wife, Betty, who is also a trustee. Previous recipients of the UIBD grant have included the renovation of Fayette Flooring, construction of the S.K Rogers Funeral Chapel, and equipment and furnishings for Victories Restaurant and Sports Lounge.
"We are especially pleased to be able to award the UIBD grant this year because it results in extensive renovation of a badly dilapidated structure on Main Street," said UIU Acting President Richard Patrick. "It was very important to rehab that building as part of the ongoing facelift of downtown Fayette, which is part of the commitment the University made through its strategic plan to partner with the city on our mutual economic development."
"We are excited to help bring a new retail business to Fayette, and we envision that it will help make Fayette a wedding destination in the area," added Andrew Wenthe, UIU vice president of external affairs, who oversees the UIBD program. He pointed to the proximity of a flower shop, locations for rehearsal dinners, and event space on campus, which has hosted both indoor and outdoor weddings since the Student Center was built.
Langel, owner of Rumor, resigned from her UIU position in July to concentrate on rehabilitating the building and working full time on her new business.
"We have been focusing on complete renovation of both the façade and the inside space, which was a mess," Langel said. "The building is over 100 years old, and needed a lot of structural work not just cosmetic paint and carpet. We have added a beautiful façade of windows along with a few other replacements, completely rebuilt the framing and drywall, run new wiring, installed a new heating system, tuckpointed the exterior, and recoated the roof. We will retain the original tin ceilings where possible and will drop the ceiling where needed. New lighting will be installed along with carpeting throughout. One of my favorite touches is a disco ball that will add to the atmosphere. This feels like building a house, but possibly is more challenging. Before we could rebuild, we have had to tear out ceilings and walls and clean items left behind by previous owners."
"The building has quite a history," Langel added. "One hundred years ago, it was a furniture store; and Mom and Dad remember it being a John Deere dealership in the 1950s. Later, it was classroom space for high school automotive and woodworking, and a snow mobile and motorcycle shop, too. It has also been a flower shop and the food pantry. At one point, the addition was added for a plastics factory that never opened. Most recently, it was a liquor store with apartments."
Langel said she is bringing back the original façade of brick and decorative elements, keeping some renovated apartments upstairs, and will offer bridal, prom and other special occasion dresses in the downstairs shop. Rumor will also offer accessories, dress design and alterations.
Langel, a former Watermelon Days queen and UIU alum, said she chose the business because of her love for sewing and design, which recently resulted in a "beautiful" prom dress for her oldest daughter. She wants to see her hometown benefit from an exciting business that complements many existing businesses in Fayette.
"I have already been on some buying trips and look forward to hosting a prom and bridal fashion show in January," Langel said. "Each week brings us closer to being ready to open, and I can't wait. This store will be the realization of a dream for me, and I am very grateful to the University for helping to make it happen."
About Upper Iowa University
Founded in 1857, Upper Iowa University is a private, not-for-profit university providing undergraduate and graduate degree programs and leadership development opportunities to some 6,200 students—nationally and internationally—at its Fayette campus and learning centers worldwide. Upper Iowa University is a recognized innovator in offering accredited, quality programs through flexible, multiple delivery systems, including online and independent study. For more information, visit www.uiu.edu.
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