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Storytelling: Laura Thompson, Owner of Lola's

“Lake Geneva has been really good to me. The people I have gotten to know over all these years are incredible. Even with the video rental store in the beginning days it was all locals. Then there's so many seasonal homes here and people that come up every summer. I would look forward every spring to those people arriving again because they would be here the whole season. The people have always been the best part of owning my business.

I grew up in town but left for a while to help my mom with her restaurant in Hot Springs, Arkansas. I moved back to Lake Geneva in 1979 and I got a job selling radio advertising at WMIR radio, which was the only radio station in Lake Geneva. It was an AM daytimer and I got to meet with quite a few local businesses. I worked all the time. From sun-up to sun-down, I was at the radio station. One day my husband said to me, ‘You work harder than anyone else. You're the last one there all the time.’ He said, ‘I think it's time you owned your own business.’ That's when I opened the video rental stores in Lake Geneva and Burlington. That was almost 31 years ago.

I had the video rental store for about 2 years before I added the comic books. In 2003, I went into the clothing business. My husband closed a little section of the video store off for me to sell clothes. We called it Lola’s. Within a few years, we bought a building and moved Lola’s to Downtown Lake Geneva.

Earlier this year I sold the building and Lola’s will be closing in the next few weeks. Our last day open will be about September 17 and we have to be out by September 30th. Everything is currently 60% off with the intention to move to 75% off possibly this weekend.

I don't know what opportunities might arise after we close. I can't imagine myself not working. I really can't. I can't imagine myself staying home and watching the hunting channel with my husband, haha, so you will probably see me somewhere working in town. While I’m going to miss the business, I’m going to miss the people and the relationships I’ve formed over the last 30 years most of all. I appreciate you all.” - Laura Thompson, Owner, Lola’s

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