Variety in store
The Corner Score and On The Block Events opens in downtown West Bend

By AMANDA VOSS - Daily News

Sept. 17, 2014

 Patrons walk by at The Corner Score and On The Block Events on Saturday morning in West Bend. The Corner Score and On The Block Events will feature a peanut butter and jelly bar, old games and books. On the Block is a shop inside the corner store that is open for vendors to set up shop and sell their items.
Photo by John Ehlke

WEST BEND - Mary Jo Joyce had an inventory of card and board games she invented and decided to open a business that has a unique vision and will bring a variety of goods to the city.

The Corner Score and On The Block Events, 104 N. Main St., opened Saturday. It’s a business venture for Joyce that she said was born out of a need to solve a few problems.

“One was that I manufactured card and board games that I invented in 2011,” she said. “And now we have inventory for those games that we are having stored elsewhere and I wanted to have some presence in a retail spot here to sell them as well.”

The other problem Joyce faced was she downsized her home and had a lot of furniture.

 Owner Mary Jo Joyce holds a deck of cards containing the founding fathers and Presidents at The Corner Score and On The Block Events on Saturday morning in West Bend.
Photo by John Ehlke

“When I saw this space it occurred to me that instead of putting it in storage and paying monthly fees I might just put them in a window with a price tag on them,” Joyce said.

Joyce noticed the building was for lease and realized there was more space than she needed so she developed a concept that would fill the rest of the space and keep it an active changing retail environment by opening On The Block Events.

Store Manager Veronica Ordaz said she was walking downtown and noticed a now-hiring sign in the window. She took a peek and Joyce told her to come in.

“I was kind of recruited. She gave me the grand tour and explained her vision,” Ordaz said.

Ordaz said The Corner Score will be a happening place for West Bend.

“You really don’t get rare books around here or vintage-style toys. It’s really nice,” Ordaz said.

Samples of dark chocolate and cinnamon swirl peanut butter with pretzel sticks at The Corner Score and On The Block Events.
Photo by John Ehlke

The Corner Score has card and board games Joyce invented while working in Washington, D.C., for another business she owns — Practical Strategies Inc. She noticed there were many students who would visit and thought it would be great if students could have something like baseball cards to identify statesman and learn history while on the bus or in the hotel.

The first board game Joyce invented is “U.S. Presidents and Founding Fathers.”

“Everybody racks up points even if you don’t know anything. Everybody learns because questions are read out loud as well as the answers,” Joyce said.

Joyce also invented a card game called SpeakGOV. Players hold up a card with a government agency acronym on it and the opposing team has to guess what the acronym stands for. She also created a similar game for sports, law, texting and medicine.

To fill the other side of the space Joyce will house On The Block Events, which is a series of sales events that will be held in the business. The Corner Score and On The Block Events opened Saturday and independent sales representatives sold goods.

 Diane Denow of West Bend surveys the On the Block section of The Corner Score and On The Block Events on Saturday morning in West Bend. 
Photo by John Ehlke

“We’re trying to keep it a different set of products and inventory. We try to offer something for everyone,” Joyce said.

She said there will be a series of events for collectors and this winter she will hold a series of indoor rummage sales. Because of Joyce’s participation in toy fairs several inventors will preview games and toys.

“It occurred to me that retail is suffering in historic districts of just about every downtown in America,” Joyce said. “It occurred to me to draw people from a greater geographic area and keep people coming back.”

The Corner Score and On The Block Events will also feature a peanut butter and jelly bar. Joyce knew she would be selling some of her rare books and she said coffee goes well with something sweet.

“Peanut butter and jelly is something many people love,” Joyce said. “It’s very 1960s. It’s very retro and and today there are so many flavors of peanut butter and jelly. So, I thought it would be a good compliment to the coffee and the books and the period of this building.”

Collections of first editions and signed books at The Corner Score and On The Block Events.
Photo by John Ehlke

Peanut Butter and Co. will supply the peanut butter and jellies and jams will come from two Wisconsin manufacturers — Slack’s Jams and Jellies and Rose Cottage Jams. Samples will be provided on occasion and people can order a sandwich from a menu.

Other items in the retail space include bedroom sets, living room sets and lamps. Also games will be brought in to be played or demonstrated on the floor. Mirrors framed by salvaged ceiling tiles from historic buildings made by a company called Olde Good Things will also be sold.

To get the business ready, Joyce had to get the store in shape by replacing the floors, ceiling tiles, the counter and sink. She also painted and cleaned.

The challenge for Joyce has been trying to launch one business while running another, which has made for some long days. The rewarding aspects of starting a business have outweighed the challenges. She said she enjoys developing concepts and seeing them come to life.

 Owner Mary Jo Joyce talks with a customer sampling peanut butter at
The Corner Score and On The Block Events. 

Photo by John Ehlke

“My strength has always been in developing and creating things for my clients on the consulting side and inside this space in many respects I’m now doing those things for myself,” Joyce said.

Ordaz encourages people to stop by because they will always find something new.

“It’s good for kids,” Ordaz said. “It’s good for teenagers. Vintage records are coming back in style. For the older community we had two ladies come in and look around and they’re like ‘Whoa, you’re brining back memories.’ We customize for all ages and variety of interests.”

“Much of what they see when they visit will be one of a kind items,” Joyce said. “So it will be entertaining for them to visit and they could bump into a real opportunity. It’s also a place the entire family can enjoy.”

The Corner Score and On The Block Events is open 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and 7:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturdays.