- Fisher Decorating Center is celebrating 75 years in business. It started in 1946 under Ivan Fisher.
- Bill Potter bought the business in 2015 from Roger Eastman, who took over from Don Lessig, who bought it from Fisher.
- Potter said business has been booming during the pandemic and he’s happy to see Main Street on the upswing.
- Fisher’s sells paint, wallpaper, carpeting, floor coverings and home improvement supplies.
COSHOCTON – Bill Potter, owner of Fisher Decorating Center, said people never remember when home décor projects go perfectly. It’s only the problematic ones they still talk about years later. Good or bad, his business has been there for the community for 75 years.
Potter started working for the store in 1984 while still in high school. He returned permanently in 1992 and bought it from Roger Eastman in 2015. Eastman started with the business in 1973 when his father-in-law, Don Lessig, was the owner. Eastman bought it from Lessig in 1987. Lessig bought what was then Fisher Wallpaper and Paint from original owner Ivan Fisher in 1958. He opened the store just after World War II ended in 1946 when paint was just $1 a gallon and wallpaper was 50 cents a roll.
Potter has seen a lot of major changes in his more than 35 years with the store as well. They once carried rolls upon rolls of contact paper to line shelves. Now he wouldn’t even know where to find it. Wallpaper has also taken a huge dip and people are more likely to hire a contractor than do the work themselves like years ago. Painting is now king as it’s cheaper and easier to do yourself.
“I always say, as long as I don’t lose money on wallpaper, I’ll carry it. We were originally Fisher Wallpaper and Paint, so I always want to be able to carry it,” Potter said.
They do a lot with carpet and sheet vinyl remnants as it allows people to get higher quality material at lower costs. The store has also expanded with various types of tile and hard floor coverings. Professional installation is available with free estimates.
While Fisher’s works with most local contractors, the majority of customers are local homeowners looking to do their own projects. Home owners are not just looking for supplies, but advice that Potter is happy to offer.
In March 2020, Potter closed the store for several weeks because of the COVID-19 pandemic. On the last day open, many people came into the store. Potter could tell they were buying things they didn’t need, but just wanted to support him.
“I could just wait on customers and talk to people all day. If you don’t like that, you’re in the wrong business,” he said. “I would like to think because of the relationships we’ve made and keeping the customers happy, them feeling like they’ve been treated fairly and courteously and like we care, is what keeps them coming back.”
People looking to do home improvements or hiring someone to do them skyrocketed during the pandemic as people were housebound and had extra money from stimulus funding. So, while the store has been busier than ever, this has made some supplies more expensive and less available, but nothing too bad, Potter said. In his history with the store, he’s never seen it like this and it’s not slowing down.
“In the pandemic, people were realizing their house may need fixed up because they were sitting at home starting at it. Certainly, stimulus money may have something to do with it. Why it’s continuing, I don’t know. I’m happy it is, but I thought we would have a leveling off period, but it’s just booming,” he said.
Booming is also a word he would use to describe downtown Coshocton. While he knows it will never be like it was 40 years ago with factories and retail stores, there’s good energy and projects all around him. On his block alone, Rust Décor recently moved in, Renaissance on Main bed and breakfast opened and Grason Properties is refurbishing a building to serve as an annex to the Thompson Business Center.
“Coshocton is doing really well,” Potter said. “It’s great to have people who want to invest in the community like that. It’s a good sign to see Main Street coming up the right direction.”
Potter has three employees, and his daughter Kenzie will help too while home from college this summer. Her voice can be heard on radio commercials encouraging her dad to change the name of the store to Kenzie’s Carpets. That won’t happen anytime soon, nor retirement for Potter.
“I enjoy what I do. As long as I keep doing that and the town continues to support me, which it’s done so graciously for the business for 75 years, we’re going to keep on,” Potter said.
The business at 549 Main St. can be reached at 740-622-0372 for more information.