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Paynesville Press - December 1, 2004

BlessingWell opens downtown

By Bonnie Jo Hanson

The BlessingWell is open for business in downtown Paynesville. Owned by Robert and Kay McDaniel (pictured below), the BlessingWell offers custom framing, Kay's unique calligraphy and watercolor art, and gifts. It is located on James Street in the west half of the Ben Frank-lin building.

BlessingWell The store's name comes from the special blessings Kay creates for her customers. Using a questionnaire to determine the personality of each recipient, Kay creates personalized blessings, each a work of art. Many of her blessings have been requested by parents for their children, she said, but she also makes them for friends, other family members, and even pets.

The McDaniels bought the Ben Franklin building in August and will continue to lease space to Ben Franklin. Their store did take over the custom framing department.

While remodeling, the McDaniels have added art and gifts to their inventory, and they plan to have a gallery where they sell the works of regional artists and artisans as well as Kay's work. They also want to have a studio where Kay will work and a meeting room for art and craft classes and other purposes, according to Robert.

In the gallery, Kay hopes to feature a local "Artist of the Month."

Currently, BlessingWell is open Mondays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Kay is also available by appointment. In the summer, the shop could also open on Sundays to serve seasonal residents, according to Kay.

Kay and Robert, who also remodeled an apartment above their store, moved to Paynesville from Buffalo. They previously lived in North Dakota and Washington state. Kay was a graphic designer and worked in sales while Robert worked in personnel for an aerospace company. The couple used to own a book store in North Dakota.

When they're not busy in the shop, Robert enjoys home improvement projects (he's doing most of the carpentry in the store and the apartment himself) and volunteering. Kay, who describes herself as deeply spiritual and is a former Catholic nun, likes to spend quiet time in prayer and meditation. The couple also enjoys spending time with their granddaughter.

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