EagleHerald/Rick Gebhard
Owner Julie Primeaux (center) helps Linda Norton, Marinette, with her chair as Rebecca Moody, Marinette, (back) works on refurbishing her chair as the Marinette County Group Home Association has its Christmas Party at Happenstance on Thursday in downtown Menominee.
EagleHerald/Rick Gebhard
Owner Julie Primeaux (center) helps Linda Norton, Marinette, with her chair as Rebecca Moody, Marinette, (back) works on refurbishing her chair as the Marinette County Group Home Association has its Christmas Party at Happenstance on Thursday in downtown Menominee.

MENOMINEE — Julie Primeaux, a native of Menominee, recently opened up a new art shop on 1st Street. Her shop, Happenstance, officially opened in September.

“My first class was in September, and I’ve been open now and then since, but my goal was to have classes,” she said. “I was open during certain events because I’m a registered nurse, and I worked in and out of town.”

Primeaux said that she wanted to have a shop on 1st Street since she was a child. She was inspired by the shops she visited as a kid, and especially loved the idea of having a store with a view of the bay.

She said that she was always an artistic person. “I’ve always loved creating things. When I was little I used to make dolls, and my mom would take me to the Art Barn during grade school, which had art classes for kids,” she said.

Primeaux said additionally that furniture has been a source of inspiration for her even before opening her shop. “I just love the way furniture looks; you see it everywhere, you see pieces of it here and there, and a lot of it could use a little more color. I just love the idea of adding color to our world,” she said.

She said that her classes usually occur by happenstance, which is where the name of her store came from. “Sometimes people just call me and get together little groups. I’m trying to put out the word that I do private parties, though; people can call me if, say, you’ve got three people in town and you want to do something and we can schedule something,” she explained. “My schedule’s usually pretty open.”

She also touched on one of her favorite things about hosting the chair-painting classes that she does. “Every one of these chairs is different, but then when the people do them they’re so much more different because they pick their own colors and fabric, and it’s just amazing what these chairs look like when they’re finished.” She also said that she’s had people come in before who have never painted, and what they produce is incredible. 

Primeaux has already held several chair-painting classes, during which people select a color or mix of colors for the chair they want to work on, and if that chair has a cushioned seat they can select a fabric design from Primeaux’s “miles of fabric,” as she describes it, to reupholster the seat with. She’s also done classes focusing on box centerpieces. She said, “We take these old rustic box centerpieces, I build the boxes, and people either paint them or stain them, and then we fill them with things and they’ve been beautiful.”

Her supply of furniture comes from a variety of places. She said, “I do a lot of thrifting, sometimes people call me with something because they know I use them, sometimes people just drop them off behind the shop. When I travel, I always hit the Goodwills and the St. Vincent de Pauls, sometimes flea markets too. Sometimes the furniture finds me.”

Primeaux mentioned that this December she will be travelling for two weeks, so she’s getting her schedule of painting classes set through February ahead of time. Otherwise, she said, her classes usually occur by happenstance.