Debra Lash: Giving Back is the New Black

Giving Back is the New Black Flyer - Smaller

I feel so honored to be given the opportunity to support the La Crosse Symphony Orchestra in the 2017 Conductor Wannabe contest. The Hunger Task Force of La Crosse and Downtown Mainstreet, Inc., will also benefit from your generous donation.

A little about my background; I purchased The Wedding Tree in 1996 at the age of 26. In just two short years our business had outgrown its location so in 1998, I purchased the John Rehfuss building at 418 and 420 Main Street. Since our move, our growth has continued and we’ve expanded to fill our current 17,000 square foot, 25 dressing room with over 2500 dresses, retail store housing men’s, bridal, prom, pageant, mothers, special occasion, and bridesmaid gowns.

As The Wedding Tree grew and expanded, so did my vision for the future: of the building, of my business, and of our role in the community. In 2014 I purchased the La Crosse Bridal Expo. Each year the Expo brings together small businesses in the spirit of collaboration and celebrates each small business owner for their entrepreneurship, attention to detail, and desire to be the best. I believe that the world needs each and every small business and small business person, and the La Crosse Bridal Expo is a business I am very proud to own and operate. The year 2015 brought continued growth to the businesses and our historic building. Once a “dime store”, then the Kresge Department Store and the YWCA, the building underwent a historic renovation. The original third floor YWCA gymnasium from 1894, vacant for more than 100 years, was transformed into an historically accurate ballroom venue which plays host to weddings, concerts, parties and even prom celebrations! My total vision from 1998 when we moved to this location has come to fruition with the addition of The Court Above Main.

Here are a few of my most treasured accomplishments as a woman in business:

Best Upper Floor Development Award – State of Wisconsin
2007 Distinguished Alumni Award – Western Technical College
Small Business of the Year 2017 – La Crosse Area Chamber of Commerce
First ever recipient
Downtown Mainstreet Inc. – Current President
First female president
Board member since 2007
Western Technical College – Marketing Advisory Committee (25 years)
Bridal Industry Professionals – Board Member
Member since 1997
Rotary Club of La Crosse Member
Valentine Ball Committee Member
City Vision Foundation Committee Board Member
Serving on Steering Committee for La Crosse Synergy

I have never done it alone; I have surrounded myself with staff that is better than me at many things; I have taken risks to nurture growth in my businesses; and most importantly I have always worked with the improvement of our community at heart. I have been blessed over the past 21 years in business to be involved in many local organizations and I have received recognition, given generously, through various organizations.

Each of your generous votes benefits The Hunger Task Force of La Crosse and the Downtown Mainstreet Inc., Public Recycling Bins, along with the La Crosse Symphony Orchestra. I am truly honored to have been given this opportunity and I thank you for your consideration.

Debra Lash