Questioning the Locals: Katie & Brit Bushman
free-wheelin' discussion with local folks
Katie and Brit Bushman, co-owners of String Theory Studio in Chippewa Falls, describe themselves as Chippewa Valley locals-by-choice, choosing to settle down to raise their family, start a business, and focus their volunteer efforts here because they hold the Valley's beauty dear to their hearts. When the duo aren't running the local arts and crafts shop, you can often find them all throughout the community enjoying events and working on the various non-profit boards they sit on.
WE CHOSE THIS PLACE TO RAISE OUR FAMILY, START A BUSINESS, AND FOCUS OUR VOLUNTEER EFFORTS BECAUSE WE LOVE THIS AREA.
KATIE & BRIT BUSHMAN
CO-OWNERS OF STRING THEORY STUDIO
What is your occupation?
Co-owners of String Theory Studio
K: Zumba instructor + crafter
B: Analyst at JAMF
What place in town considers you a “regular”?
Oof. That’s a long list. The Nostalgic Bean in Altoona, Iris Boutique in CF, Bridge Street Brew in CF, Chippewa Family Restaurant in CF, Chippewa Candy Store in CF, and Eevie Ivy Over in CF are top of the list.
What frustrates you about the Chippewa Valley?:
We love the Valley SO much, but truthfully this place doesn’t always feel safe or welcoming for everyone, us included. We’re working hard to change that, but it hurts when community members come in because their “All Are Welcome” signs were vandalized, or when we hear that someone was harasses or threatened right here in the community. We truly believe that this community is full of loving and inclusive people, and we hope that we will continue to see those individuals stand up and speak out so everyone can feel safe and welcome in the Valley. Every voice counts.
What is one of the best cultural experiences you've ever had in the Chippewa Valley?:
We took our kids and nieces to Matilda (put on by CVTG) at the Pablo to watch our very talented friend Kristen Ruka perform, and it was such an awesome experience. We have so many incredibly talented community members, and the opportunity to see the joy on those kiddos’ faces as they experienced the magic of local theater was truly phenomenal!
What's your favorite local festival?:
Easily Pride in the Park, which sounds a bit self-promotional since we’re both involved with CVLGBTQ+, but truthfully attending this event is what sparked our passion to join the org. You’ll never feel as unconditionally loved and accepted by everyone around you as you do at a Pride celebration.
What is your favorite piece of local trivia?:
The tunnels under Chippewa are a point of fascination for us both. We toured an old building in our quest to find the perfect space for String Theory Studio, and there was a brick wall in the basement that had a distinctly tunnel-shaped entrance all bricked off, reportedly from the old tunnels. The stories and mystery of it all is titillating!
Death bed, one meal from a local restaurant, what would it be?:
K: Maui roll from Shanghai.
B: House Pho from TemptAsians.
What book, TV show, or movie would you recommend to the members of city council?:
K: The Good Place, for sure. It’s just the perfect encapsulation of how-not-to-run-stuff, plus the Religious Studies major in me appreciates all the philosophy jokes.
B: “The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team” by Patrick Lencioni. I’m not implying that they are dysfunctional in any way, however the book does an amazing job of laying out how to build a strong, trusting team.
What sort of economic development would you like to see in our area?:
K: I would love to see more mental health support and accessible options for counseling and peer support, especially for young kids and teens. (Shout out to At The Roots for doing some stellar work on this already!) Our community has a lot of young folks dealing with big traumas, and our experiences as foster/adoptive parents really opened our eyes to how hard it is for our kiddos here to access those supports.
B: I’d love to see more opportunities for social interactions that don’t involve alcohol, ideally through incentives for small businesses to offer those experiences.
Katie & Brit's Shoutouts
Combo Pho from Thai Orchid. “This is our go-to meal for everything – bad day? Pho. Celebrating? Pho. Hair looks particularly nice today? Pho. There's no wrong time for combo pho."
The staff at our local libraries. “We are incredibly lucky to have great public libraries in our communities! The amazing folx who work there make our libraries a place to find safety, new passions, and a sense of community."
Teri at Chippewa Main Street. “She spends so much time and effort making sure our local small businesses are promoted and getting the support they need. Her hard work creates a lot of the "charm" of Chippewa Falls."