Paintbrush in Hand, Maurer Shares Her Time & Talents
It started with a simple request.
HSS staff asked local businesswoman Lisa Maurer if Community Day Services clients could take a tour of her Waterloo-based furniture painting and restoring business, Farm Girl Finds.
Lisa graciously agreed.
That one visit blossomed into so much more than Lisa – or HSS staff – could ever have imagined.
During the tour, Lisa showed the group a piece she was working on. While demonstrating how she applies the paint, Lisa asked if any of her guests would like to try her technique. Lots of enthusiastic hands shot up. Lisa passed around the paintbrush and everyone eagerly gave it a try.
Lisa loved being able to inspire creativity and witness the look of pride on the clients’ faces as they painted. She knew right then that this had to be more than a one-time experience.
Now, Lisa is not only the newest member of the HSS Board of Directors, but she visits our facility weekly to paint furniture with clients. She is helping clients develop an entrepreneurial spirit by teaching them the process of her business.
Every Wednesday, Lisa and her staff bring a piece of furniture into HSS for clients to work on until it’s ready to sell. The piece is then delivered back to Farm Girl Finds where clients learn how to take the measurements, price it competitively, and stage the furniture to sell. Lisa generously donates 100% of the sales of these pieces back to HSS.
The clients love painting and sanding the furniture – and thrive in perfecting their new skills. But the Farm Girl Finds staff might enjoy these Wednesdays even more.
“The clients are always excited to see us and we are greeted with hugs, smiles, and high-fives,” said Lisa. “We also love watching them do the ‘money’ dance after a piece of furniture that they worked on has been sold!”
As an entrepreneur, Lisa knows exactly how rewarding it is to make something that people admire and want to showcase in their home.
As caregiver for a sibling with a developmental disability, Lisa also understands the value of supporting an organization like HSS – especially for families who care for loved ones with developmental disabilities or mental health concerns.
“I quickly learned how having an organization like HSS that provides services in the community can be a much-needed resource, not only for people like my brother but for myself as his guardian,” Lisa said. “I didn’t realize how hard it would be to help him apply for a job, fill out resumes, prepare him for interviews, and to find those employers who are willing to hire, train, and work with those with disabilities.”
Lisa and her husband moved frequently for many years, which she says allowed her to experience a great variety of opportunities. Besides raising a family and opening her own business, Lisa has been involved in fundraising and special events with the Madison Symphony Orchestra, and has helped open and operated a resale//consignment shop with the board of directors at Youth In Need. She also served as executive director for the Lake Mills Main Street Program.
In addition to HSS, Lisa is a current member of Explore Waterloo, the Waterloo Chamber of Commerce and St. John’s UCC Church in Maeystown.
True to her “Farm Girl Finds” moniker, Lisa rarely passes up a thrift store, estate sale, auction, or garage sale.
“I’m always out looking for quality furniture and farmhouse finds. I like finding statement pieces that make customer’s homes more unique and inviting,” she explained.
This passion for preserving farm living stems from growing up on a farm in rural St. Clair County.
Now, Lisa has turned her hobby into a successful business and a way of life. After moving to Monroe County over 10 years ago, Lisa and her husband renovated an 1870s farmhouse and one room log cabin.
HSS is beyond grateful for the collaboration that has formed between our nonprofit and Farm Girl Finds. We encourage you to stop in and check out this lovely store – and our clients’ handiwork – next time you are visiting Waterloo!