Blue Boxer Arts welcomes crafters of all kinds in downtown Eau Claire

Local owners go from owning one store to two

Taylor Reisdorf

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March 25, 2020

Photo by Taylor Reisdorf

Business partners Jamie Kyser and Erin Klaus opened the art supply store, Blue Boxer, in downtown Eau Claire on July 10. The store sells locally made yarns, beads, and fibers, on top of many other craft-related items.

What started as a hypothetical thought at a time of uncertainty has snowballed into the opening of an art supply store in downtown Eau Claire for long-time friends and business partners Jamie Kyser and Erin Klaus.

“Well, we have massive amounts of beads, we probably have enough to open a bead store,” Kyser said.

This new store, Blue Boxer Arts, isn’t the duo’s first business together. Kyser and Klaus are also owners of the local art store Tangled Up In Hue.

Tangled Up In Hue, which has been owned and operated by the business pair for more than eight years, moved across Barstow Street to a newer, larger location this past March.

Caitlin Umbreit, a junior nursing student said she thinks Tangled Up In Hue is “so cute and original.” The costs of the products are worth the beauty they would add to her home, she said.

The relocation left Kyser and Klaus with two leases and opened the door to an unexpected opportunity. On July 10, Blue Boxer Arts officially took over the old Tangled Up In Hue location.

The entire process, from opening Tangled Up In Hue and now Blue Boxer Arts, has been “a whirlwind,” Kyser said. It all started with a jewelry kiosk in Oakwood Mall, which Kyser owned. Klaus started out as a part-time employee, but eventually took over the kiosk so Kyser could go back to school.

According to Kyser, it was Klaus’ idea to go from the small mall stand to downtown. She also said they wanted to move beyond their supply from jewelry to other hand-made, locally produced products.

“Once you’re a business owner it’s kind of like, ‘why go back to working for someone else?’” Kyser said.

Kyser said she enjoys co-owning the two businesses. She said being a business owner “has its own stresses as well as rewards.”

The work is practically nonstop, but she gets to make it her own, which she finds very fulfilling.

While the stores have the same owners, they each have drastically different products to offer customers. Something both stores have in common, however, is their focus on local artists and products.

Tangled Up In Hue sells locally made, ready-to-display art, jewelry and décor, among other items. Blue Boxer Arts, on the other hand, is a supply store. Kyser and Klaus wanted to keep the focus local, reaching out to nearby farms and crafters to get their products.

The store is filled with color, boasting an abundance of locally spun and dyed yarns, handmade beads and loose fibers for felting, spinning and weaving. While beads, yarns and fibers make up the majority of the store’s products, Blue Boxer Arts also offers some finished items like handmade hats and shawls, wall decor, weavings and art.

On top of that, there is also a small section dedicated to art supplies. Kyser said she hopes Blue Boxer Arts could eventually become an alternative supplier for art and illustration students to obtain materials for classes.

“The only place to get art supplies in town is Michael’s; I would imagine some students would be interested in supporting a small local business,” Kyser said.

In a nutshell, Blue Boxer Arts offers products that “cater to people who like to make things,” Kyser said. The store also offers knitting and crocheting classes.

As for the name of the new store, Kyser said it’s meant to commemorate and honor Emma, Klaus’ friendly and much-loved pet boxer. Emma acted as a store greeter at the former location.

“People would come in just to see her, she used to make people’s day,” Kyser said.

Unfortunately, Emma’s old age brought along a degenerative disease that makes it difficult for her to walk. While she’s not experiencing pain, Kyser said she won’t be around much longer. Emma can sometimes still be found at the new Tangled Up In Hue location.