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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa—Jennifer Richardson and Dusty Staley are lifelong dreamers.
The Cedar Rapids couple creates and sells stamped jewelry. They enjoy making old things work again. And they support each other with each new pursuit.
“He’s everything to me, so of course I want to make his dreams come true,” Richardson said of Staley.
They’re drawn to the journey of brainstorming ideas and making them a reality. And the longtime Dupaco members say they can count on their financial cooperative when they need a little help seeing their dreams through.
Difficult year uncovers new dreams
Their latest entrepreneurial endeavor began in 2020.
When COVID-19 entered the United States, Staley took a voluntary leave of absence from his construction job due to concerns about underlying health conditions. He spent that time at home reflecting.
“I’ve been doing construction for so long, and my knees and my back won’t allow me to do it for another 20 years before I retire,” Staley said.
He looked to his past for inspiration for his future.
He has fond childhood memories of rabbit hunting with relatives on Thanksgiving morning and Christmas Day.
“I spent a lot of time in the woods with my dad,” Staley said. “There are a lot of good memories.”
During his time off work, Staley began meticulously taking apart and cleaning a couple of old guns. And he fell in love with the detail-oriented process of making something old work again.
Staley hopes to eventually open a gunsmithing business. After finding a school that offers the certification required to do so, the couple turned to Dupaco’s Cassie McIntyre for a loan to enroll Staley in the course.
The couple said McIntyre went out of her way to help them pursue the beginning of a new dream.
“As soon as we got the loan, I knew at that point that my future was going to go down a different path,” Staley said.
And they’ll keep dreaming.
“You never know what’s ahead for us,” Richardson said. “I’ve been praying a lot about it.”