Roughing It In Style came to fruition like many great ideas—after a satisfying meal and a few glasses of wine.
Sue and Gerry Torgeson, two adventurous souls, were on the hunt for their next challenge. So they called Sue's brother Keith and his wife Carol with an idea: what if they opened a gift shop in "America's Little Switzerland," New Glarus, Wisconsin?
Keith and Carol, always up for a lively discussion over a meal, invited the entire Torgeson family for dinner and some brainstorming.
The meal was exquisite, and the conversation that followed on the deck was even better.
As they pondered what kind of shop they would open, the group decided Sue and Gerry's experience in designing and building log homes and their appreciation for a relaxed, down-to-earth lifestyle would be the perfect theme. Sue suggested the group first needed to “come up with a name, and then we'll know exactly what kind of store we're creating."
The debate over the name continued late into the night. When it seemed like they couldn't settle on a fitting name, Keith interjected: "If we stay up much longer, we'll have to rough it out here on the deck."
"That wouldn't be ‘roughing it,’" Gerry responded, "that would be roughing it in style!"
And so, the seed was planted: Roughing It In Style began in an old, red, brick bank building in downtown New Glarus, offering southwestern and rustic-themed jewelry, clothing, and gifts alongside a small collection of furniture. The furniture was delivered in a ramshackle horse trailer, and the entire family pitched in to help build the business.
As word spread, people came from far and wide from across Wisconsin and Illinois to visit the unique little gift shop. The demand for furniture grew, and they needed more space, so Roughing It relocated to a renovated red barn in northern Illinois, where it continued to thrive. Keith and Carol eventually bid the business farewell, leaving Sue and Gerry to run it on their own.
The Torgesons spent a few wonderful years in Lena, IL, ventured into Madison, WI, and expanded their delivery area northward into Wisconsin. Eventually, they settled in Harshaw, known as "The Gateway to Northwoods" of Wisconsin.
But adventure soon called again.
Sue and Gerry now set their sights west and opened a second location in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in Fort Collins, Colorado.
Roughing It In Style is now managed by the second generation of Torgesons and continues to provide customers with interior design, cabinets, unique gifts, furniture, and decor that embody the relaxed, down-to-earth lifestyle that has been the guiding principle of the business from the very beginning.
We look forward to continuing to help our customers outfit their dream houses and find peace in the home.
The Torgesons—Sue & Gerry ↟ Sam & Erik