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Jane Mannetter, owner of Zaney Janey, has recently relocated to Have A Heart, W10356 State Rd 29. Jillian Dexheimer photos

Zaney Janey moves to Have A Heart

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With her lease coming to an end last December, Jane Mannetter, also known as Zaney Janey, decided a move was in order.

After 10 years of being at 208 S. Main St., she decided that she needed to reexamine her business and cut overhead.

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"My Main Street location was a great steppingstone, but I was driven to look at other options," she said.

When Mannetter arrived in River Falls 15 years ago, she started a "playgroup" at Have A Heart, W10356 State Rd 29.

Have A Heart is a nonprofit organization that offers services such as day groups and weekend respite care to children and young adults with developmental disabilities.

With 80% of her business being off-site, Mannetter was looking for a new space to store her many costumes and props. She contacted Have A Heart about relocating there and the nonprofit was very receptive.

With the partnership a go, she realized that there was more potential at Have A Heart.

In the past Mannetter had provided costume and table-and-chair rentals. She also did face painting, play groups and birthday parties. Her biggest business focus has been doing Henna at local events.

As her business's only employee, Mannetter sees herself as an activity director.

Past leads to new beginnings

With a degree from UW-Madison in social work and many years working as the River Falls School District Kids' Club coordinator, Mannetter thought she could offer more to her new home.

After 20 years of working with the special needs population, including hosting a monthly get-together at Zaney Janeys for those with special needs, Mannetter thought she could offer something to the individuals who attend Have A Heart.

"I take items I would use for a party, such as crafts, and I do it with the day group," said Mannetter.

She would like to expand this opportunity further by offering "integration" events. "I would like to provide opportunities for "normal" children to be around those with disabilities."

Business in flux

Before coming to River Falls, Mannetter worked for "It's Your Party' in Madison, where she began doing face-painting and party activities.

When her family moved to Oshkosh, she started "Cowntless Ideas" -- a home-based business with a cow theme.

After coming to River Falls, she started "Check It Out", which later became "Zaney Janey," to supplement her income.

The new move provides potential for change within her current business. Around Halloween, Mannetter rents out her costumes to community members.

Mannetter is contemplating selling her costumes and concentrating on other parts of her business.

"I may continue with costumes -- I am feeling it out right now," she said.

The part of the business that Mannetter has made a name for herself in is Henna -- an ancient practice of creating temporary tattoos with dye derived from the Henna plant.

"It's an art, a science and it educates the public," she said. "I have learned so much. I want to see where things go with it."

She hopes to expand the Henna part of her business and do more community and charitable events. She will be at Relay for Life on Friday, March 23, with all her proceeds going to the American Cancer Society.

Mannetter is working on rebranding herself to De-vine Designz, though she will continue many of the "Zaney Janey" community activities such as the playgroups and youth programming.

Even with the changes Mannetter's goal is to keep things affordable. "I have built a relationship with the community and most of my customers are repeat customers."

Another change to her business is the introduction of green birthday parties.

"I really want to cut down on waste -- focus on the activity and discourage loot bags," she said. "As long as the party engages kids, they will be happy."

She is excited about her relocation and is hoping to partner with others to offer more youth programs within the River Falls community.

Even with the change going on, Mannetter feels "...so lucky to have a business that is so fun."

For more information or to contact Zaney Janey, call 715-352-5616 or email zaneyjaney1@gmail.com. Her website www.de-vinedesignz.com should be up and running soon.

Upcoming Zaney Janey classes

  • Spanish play group: Tuesdays and Thursdays, March 27 - April 19 from 11:45 a.m. - 1:15 p.m. Children and their caregivers will play and learn Spanish all at the same time. The cost is $45.
  • Youth entrepreneur group: Youth ages 11-16 will help set up displays, plan activities and develop a marketing strategy. The group will be held on the following Fridays: May 25, June 27, August 17 and Sept. 14 from 7-9 p.m. The cost is $45 and you must be registered by May 15.
  • Special needs group: Zaney Janey will be continuing with her playgroup for special needs individuals on the following Fridays: April 27 and May 18 from 6:30-8 p.m. The cost is $5.00.

All activities will be held at Have A Heart, W10356 State Rd 29. For more information or to register call 715-497-7144 or email zaneyjaney1@gmail.com.

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Jillian Dexheimer
Jillian Dexheimer has been a copy editor and reporter for the River Falls Journal since 2011. She previously worked for the River Falls Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Bureau. Dexheimer holds a sociology degree from UW-River Falls.
(715) 426-1046
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