Starting early? Working late?

   That’s just life for small-business owners.

   Paula Hageman, owner of Paula’s Custom Color & Flooring at 1212 W. Fond du Lac St., knows this well.

   It’s not unusual for her to work 50 to 60 hours a week, even after being in the business for 30 years.

   Which is why she was especially appreciative of the gift a customer recently offered.

   “I had to stop and pick something up that I let a customer use of mine ... and I didn’t get there till probably 7:30, quarter to 8, give or take,” Hageman said.

   Hageman hadn’t been home, hadn’t eaten dinner.

   Almost certainly, she was exhausted.

   “She sent dinner home with me,” Hageman said. “[She also sent] homemade cookies. Grandma was there and had baked cookie Christmas cookies that day with the kids.”

   That’s the kind of relationship Hageman has built over the years with her customers.

   It’s also what she’ll miss most when she closes Paula’s Custom Color & Flooring early next year.

Read the full story in the Dec. 20, 2018 edition of the Ripon Commonwealth Press.