After opening a business in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Waukon resident Daneela McKee has rebranded the former Rain or Shine Treasures and opened Buck Me Up at 3 East Main Street in downtown Waukon.
Getting into business
McKee grew up in Gays Mills and Prairie du Chien, Wis., before moving to Waukon after high school. She initially started her career in marketing sales, but the pandemic put a halt to that when she was laid off. That was when McKee turned to online sales.
She and boyfriend Brady Sorum, a Waukon native, began selling antiques and vintage signs online under the name Rain or Shine Treasures in May 2020. “I’m not one to sit still, so I had to do something,” she said. “It definitely was scary taking a chance, investing money into something not knowing what the outcome would be…were people going to shop with COVID or completely shut down?” McKee also began working as a real estate agent to diversify her earnings and reduce risk to her income.
By October 2020, McKee and Sorum began renting, and a few months later, purchased 5 East Main Street to open a storefront. The space allowed them to expand to selling antiques and vintage items.
Growing her brand
While the project began with antiques, McKee said she soon began looking to sell local-made items, Iowa wine, jewelry, clothing and more. “I truly enjoy looking for new and different items to bring into the store,” she said.
With the change of inventory, McKee said it made sense to change their business name to avoid confusion.
“Buck Me Up is, as in cheer me up, a long with our eight foot rocking horse, the name just fits,” she said.
The change in name coincides with the business moving one door over. “We started working on the spot next to us, knowing it would be easier to slide over versus closing to remodel the location we were in,” she said. “After sliding over, we will now remodel the other side as we have plans coming up for that location.
“I wouldn’t have imagined a year ago how this old building has grown from then until now.”
Now the transformation is complete, McKee said they sell several items, including Duke Cannon Products for men, men’s and women’s clothing, decor, candles, purses, jewelry, hats and more.
“I like having my own boutique as I like being in retail. I enjoy making a shopping experience personal, meeting new people, talking to regulars about family and life and just learning what people ‘like’ and meet their needs,” she said.
Part of the growth
Being a realtor and a business owner, McKee has had a special seat in watching the downtown of Waukon grow in the past few years.
“Watching the town come back to life has caused great happiness to a lot of people. It’s so enjoyable to see people smiling and laughing while walking the streets with shopping bags, drinks or even walking their pets while window shopping,” she said. “I feel as new businesses come to the area, it brings more people to the area. It’s a good thing for the new and already established businesses. Northeast Iowa is a beautiful area for sightseeing, camping, hiking, boating and shopping.”
McKee also credits the special retail events like Wine with the Witches, Ladies Night Out and Holiday Hop that the Waukon Chamber hosts with bringing more options to town.
Buck Me Up is open Monday, Wednesday and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The business is closed on Sundays and Tuesdays.
For more information, check out Buck Me Up Boutique & Gifts in Waukon at www.buck-me-up.com.