Roughing It In Style was created, not unlike many of us, after a wonderful dinner and a “couple” of glasses of wine. The founders, Sue and Gerry Torgeson, were looking for their next adventure. They called up Sue’s brother Keith and his wife Carol and proposed an idea. What about opening up a gift shop together in “America’s Little Switzerland” New Glarus, WI. Keith and Carol, never ones to turn down a chance to serve up a meal and have a lively discussion, invited the whole Torgeson family over for dinner and a brainstorming session.

The marvelous meal led to an energetic debate out on the deck, onto just what kind of shop they would have. One of Gerry and Sue’s businesses was designing and building log homes, and they all loved the relaxed, down to earth lifestyle that came with that industry. This gave them a natural theme. Sue said, “We need to come up with a name, then we’ll know exactly what kind of store we’ll have.” The debate began and as the night wore on, nothing seemed to fit. Keith said, “If we stay up any longer, we will have to “Rough It” out on the deck”. “That wouldn’t be Roughing It!”, exclaimed Gerry,”That would be Roughing It In Style!”.

The venture started in an old bank building in downtown New Glarus. Roughing It began as a southwest and rustic themed jewelry, clothing, and gift shop with a dash of furniture. Furniture deliveries were made out of an old horse trailer and the whole family pitched in to help. Soon the store began to pick up steam. Folks traveled from all over WI & IL to shop the unique little gift store. It became apparent that they needed more space due to a growing demand for furniture. Roughing It made the move to a revamped red barn in northern IL and continued to flourish. Keith and Carol took a bow and rode off into the sunset (in a pretty darn nice motor home, we might add).

After a few fantastic years in Lena, IL , and ever increasing deliveries north into Wisconsin, The Torgesons decided to bring Roughing It back to the dairy state. Family friend, and true kindred spirit, Bo Palenske, came on board as a partner. He turned his years of experience in exteriors and landscaping towards interiors and furniture design. Roughing It soon made the jump up to Madison and then quickly after added a location way up north in Harshaw, WI.

Roughing It In Style had a humble beginning and Bo, Gerry, and Sue have not forgotten what kind of service, product quality, and creativity brought them to where they are now.

Roughing It In Style’s story continues and we can’t wait for you to be a part of it!