Manhattan businesswoman owns several Aggieville shops

Danielle McCulley, Acme Gift store manager, and Diane Meredith, Acme co-owner, work in Aggieville on Wednesday. Meredith opened Acme in 2003. (Jessica Robbins | The Collegian)

Diane Meredith, owner of Acme Gift, The Dusty Bookshelf, Threads and Varsity Donuts, has been in Manhattan since 1982 when she attended K-State. She currently serves along side her co-owner and partner, David Sauter.

Before she was able to finish school, Meredith purchased The Dusty Bookshelf, which at the time was located where the salon Shaggieville is located. This is where her story begins.

“If it weren’t for my parents, who encouraged me to buy The Dusty Bookshelf for $7,000 at the time, I don’t know where I would be currently,” Meredith said.

She moved the bookstore to its current location in 1991 and opened Acme Gift in 2003.

“When I first started Acme, I originally was picking products that I personally enjoyed,” Meredith said. “However, I learned that most people do not match my preferences. Therefore, I started branching out and tried looking for items most people would be interested in.”

Meredith said the peanut-eraser in Acme Gift is a symbol for the fun atmosphere of the store and has been in the store for a long time.

“I like Acme,” Laurel Burton, senior in life sciences, said. “It’s creative, fun and relaxing all at the same time.”

Meredith said the staff at Acme is happy and drama-free, which makes the staff feel like family.

“Even though Acme is definitely a work-hard business, it is also incorporating a large play-hard atmosphere,” Danielle McCulley, 2014 K-State alum and Acme Gift store manager, said.

McCulley said a large part of having a good staff is through the management.

“Diane is a quirky person with a unique perception and an eye for seeing things differently,” McCulley said.

McCulley also said Meredith empowers her employees.

Meredith said owning all these businesses has been a good opportunity for her. They give her a lot of pride and the work suits her.

“It is also good because I am not a nine-to-five desk job type of person and these jobs keep me active,” Meredith said.

Running a store like Acme does not just include the selection process of determining what the shop will carry, it also requires numbers and technical work.

“This is where my partner David comes in,” Meredith said. “He is the numbers guy and enjoys this type of work.”

Today, Acme Gift carries an assortment of gifts ranging from catalog products to its collection of “Local,” which is the company’s customized brand that carries the slogan “Kansas is not that bad.”

“Acme is unique because you can walk in and feel more lighthearted while forgetting about your worries,” McCulley said. “You can just laugh.”