From left, Sally Geething and Joanne Thatcher
From left, Sally Geething and Joanne Thatcher
VAN WERT – It was just a few weeks ago that experienced Van Wert artist, Sally Geething, walked into the downtown interior design business, Elite Interiors, and asked owner, Joanne Thatcher, if she had any room for an artist in her business.

Thatcher, who moved her business from her home to Main Street in May of 2016, was overwhelmed at the suggestion. Although she has a large inventory and capability of interior design, there are times when a certain type of picture or customer personal preference is missing. Immediately she envisioned the potential of Geething filling in those vacancies.

“I liked the creative part of this suggestion,” said Thatcher. “In order to create space that people are comfortable with, it is important to have an artistic side.”

“The two of us together can ultimately combine to find or create artwork needed to finish a design project,” observed Geething.

“I have customers and I can’t find the right artwork,” noted Thatcher. “Now I have a source to find the artwork I need to finish a project.”

Thatcher’s heart has beaten for interior design for a lifetime. She received an interior design degree at IPFW in Fort Wayne and then went to work for Beckmann’s Furniture in Delphos for several years. When she started having children, she developed her own interior design business in her home.

Her business was officially established in 1989 and continued there until her children left home in pursuit of education. That’s when she moved to her downtown store in 2016.

“When my youngest went to college, I knew it was time to open a downtown business,” said Thatcher. “I’ve always looked for interesting and new things. I am interested in unique things that work into anybody’s style and budget. I like whatever completes rooms – window treatments, walls and accessories,” continued Thatcher.

Thatcher moved to the Van Wert area in junior high from Mansfield when her father, a school teacher, got a teaching job at Lincolnview. In that district she also raised her children. These days, Kory has an engineer degree, Kyle is in farming, Kaylee has a psychology degree from Ball State and Julia is a junior at Bowling Green studying to be an intervention school teacher.

Geething likes to think of herself as a “point person” for the business.

“We are joining forces,” said Geething. “My participation will be portfolio and actual physical pieces.”

Geething has painted for 50 years, including 20 years of teaching art oil on canvas. It all started when a close friend, who had gone through a divorce, asked Geething to attend an art class with her.

“She left after six months but I stayed with the same teacher for 16 years,” said Geething, who has published many different types of art expression.

“One of the problems I have here at the store is that people see me as a designer,” said Thatcher. “People see me as a retail store. It’s a showroom as well as a retail shop. I hope that Sally can help with this perception.”