Local businesses offer holiday gift ideas

December 6, 2018
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Susie's Petpourri Owner Susie Roraff shows Kong brand pet toys available at the Reedsburg pet store.

As the holidays near, shoppers who missed the after Thanksgiving Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, or Cyber Monday sales, or those who are still looking for another gift for anyone, can find what they are looking for in the local area.


“There’s got to be something here for everyone if you look,” said Peggy Albert said, owner of Lorraine’s Mini Mall in downtown Reedsburg.

Located on Main Street, Lorraine’s Mini Mall has four stores: Lorraine’s Hallmark, Peggy’s Boutique, U.S. Cellular and RadioShack. Albert said the mall tries to bring the newest and hottest items to an area mainly surrounded by small towns.

One of the items at Lorraine’s Hallmark is recommended for children eight-years-old and under and meant to be given before the holidays. “The Reindeer in Here” tells the story of how a special reindeer watches children, keeping a keen eye on behavior leading up to Christmas.

A gift set includes a book and the reindeer. Matching socks can be purchased separately. In addition to selling the gift set, Albert said the store is selling the reindeer separate because those who walk into the store adore the reindeer. The gift set is available for $29.99.

“The idea behind it is to bring some magic back to Christmas for your children and this is what it does,” Albert said. “It teaches your child that everybody can be different. It doesn’t matter what color your skin is, what you look like, that you are all important.”

Similar to Elf on a Shelf, the reindeer reports to Santa Claus to tell him if children have been naughty or nice. However, while the elf sits on a shelf, the reindeer can be cuddled and played with. It disappears every night to report to the jolly old man but also through its book stresses the importance that being different is okay.

“It’s just new and different and brings a better meaning to Christmas because it talks about how kids are different,” Albert said.

For those looking to give a gift for pets, Susie’s Petpourri carries a lot of Wisconsin made food and treats made with natural products as well as several types of cat and dog toys. Owner Susie Roraff said one of the popular items people will buy is Kong Brand pet toys, a brand she said owners like because it can withstand constant use. For cats, the pet store offers cat nip toys and cat wands.

“It depends on the animal and what they like,” Roraff said.

The typical price range for all pet toys are between $3 and $12. Through Christmas, the store is offering 20 percent off on all dog and cat toys.

One of the unique popular items at Liberty Flag and Specialty Company at 121 South Webb Avenue is an animated holiday symphonium music box that shows people at a ballroom party dancing to 12 Christmas music songs. It’s normally price is $132 but for the holiday season is on sale for $75.

“It’s kind of an old fashioned theme,” said Kathy Gonzalez, general manager.

Liberty Flags has several types of commercial items, the most popular are college to professional sports memorabilia and home banners. The store is offering 25 percent off all sports items, including its flags which are marked down from $30 to $10 for the holidays. The nylon banners can be put by homes, like by a mailbox, front door or anywhere in the front yard, Gonzalez said.

“They’re expressions. You could give them to your mom or your grandma,” Gonzalez said of the banners.

The banners have different types of season and holiday themes. A 2 feet by 3 feet banner normally cost $21 and are on sale for $10 for the holidays while smaller banners are available for $8.

Wisconsin Dells

For those with a sweet tooth, Goody Goody Gum Drop has three locations where shoppers can find stocking stuffers, candy, truffles, candy apples, or fudge.

“We make the fudge and caramel apples here,” said Ana Ketchum, manager. “They’re some of our most popular items, along with truffles.”

The home-made candies range in price from about $3 for a truffle to $8.50 for a caramel apple, and $16 for fudge. Other candies in the store vary in price based on how they are sold, with some items individually packaged and others sold by the pound.

The store in downtown Wisconsin Dells also has a Christmas shop, which features holiday ornaments, figurines, and decorations.

“The Christmas store is open year-round and has products you can’t find at large stores, you can buy them here or directly from the designers” Ketchum said.

Goody Goody Gum Drop is located downtown at 401 Broadway, Wisconsin Dells, next to Timbavati Wildlife Park at 2210 Wisconsin Dells Parkway, Wisconsin Dells, and in the Wild West Lobby at the Wilderness Resort, at 511 E. Adams St., Wisconsin Dells. For more information or hours, visit goodygumdrop.com.

Winnebago Gifts, a family-run business operating in downtown Wisconsin Dells since 1949, has numerous holiday related items on offer, with most priced under $30.

“We try to offer something a little different than other stores… it’s really more unique and boutique-style,” said Tara Anchor, co-owner of Winnebago Gifts.

Anchor, who is co-owner of Winnebago Gifts with Bridget Galle, said seasonal items are their most popular items this time of year, with inventory moving rapidly and new items constantly added.

Among the items prominently displayed for the holidays are 1803 Candles, which Anchor says are exclusively sold at Winnebago Gifts in the zip code, World’s Softest brand socks, holiday plates, and snowmen, Santa Clauses, and reindeer.

Winnebago Gifts is located at 226 Broadway, Wisconsin Dells, and is open Sunday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, call 608-253-0414 or visit winnebagogiftshop.com.

Those shopping for wearable gifts and accessories can find a variety of items at Affordable Leather and More in downtown Wisconsin Dells.

The shop offers leather bags and purses, doo-rags, belts, wallets, clothing, moccasins and slippers, and luggage.

“For Christmas shopping sheepskin lined blankets and moccasins are huge,” said Jim Decker, owner.

Most items in the shop are priced under $100 dollars. Moccasins range from $25 for kids sizes to $35 to $95, depending on the material they are made from. Blanket jackets are $25 to $30. Leather luggage prices go up to $80 for the largest size.

“My whole philosophy for running the business is to bring a quality product in and sell it for a price people can afford,” Decker said.

The shop offers products both in store and online, and offers free shipping anywhere in the United States with a purchase of $50 or more.

Affordable Leather and More is located at 513 Broadway, Wisconsin Dells, and is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. For more information call 608-253-0441 or visit affordableleatherandmore.com.

Located in a home built in 1909, A Homespun Heart offers handmade wooden decorations made by owners Dudley and Barbara Brown.

Offering “primitive home décor and gifts,” the shop opened 3 ½ years ago and sells items ranging from about $5 to about $60.

“Everything in the store that is wood we make ourselves,” Dudley said. “It’s very unique, and as the seasons change so do we.”

Among the items in the store during the holiday season are handmade wreaths, priced at around $7, handmade Santa or snowmen decorations priced at around $60, and various other decorations ranging in price depending on material and size.

“This is the way everyone who has a house, cabin, or condo in the Dells wants to decorate,” said Brown. “We keep the prices real reasonable because we have no middle men.”

A Homespun Heart is located at 514 Broadway, Wisconsin Dells, and also has booths at the Wisconsin Dells Craft Mall, S2279 Timothy Lane, Baraboo. The shop is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, call 608-253-0772 or email ahomespunheart@gmail.com.

Sauk Prairie area

Sisters Trisha Alt of Madison and Stephanie Brickl of Prairie du Sac operate their side business, TS Designs, offering hand-crafted, one-of-a-kind wood signs with messages ranging from the humorous to inspirational. Brickl said their most popular product is having someone’s family name featured, with an established date, or the latitude and longitude location of the town they live in. They also take requests and try to accommodate every customer’s ideas. They also make signs to sell at small business events such as signs for the laundry room, bathroom, farmhouse décor or wood blocks with kind or motivational sayings.

Alt said they get their wood pieces wherever they can find them, whether it be scraps at a reduced price from hardware shops, donations from friends and family, or even alongside the road.

Brickl said when they need help cutting a piece of wood or screwing in brackets, her husband, Adam also chips in.

“He might roll his eyes when I ask him,” Brickl said. “But it gives him a chance to use his tools.”

While wood signs are the bread and butter of their small operation, Brickl said they have also begun experimenting with mugs, wine glasses, trays and even canvases.

TS Designs doesn’t have a storefront; Alt and Brickl create their product in Brickl’s basement. They largely get by on word-of-mouth recommendations and social media. They also do shows every so often as their time allows. “We mainly do it because we enjoy it,” Alt said. “We do it for fun.”

Because they are constantly customizing products, they experiment with ideas a lot and “do a lot of random things,” Brickl said.

Brickl said prices depend largely on the scope of the piece. “It ranges anywhere from $5 to $45,” Brickl said. “But most pieces end up costing in the $20-$25 range.” For more information, visit TS Designs on Facebook.

The chocolate most people buy for special occasions can usually be found in a pre-packaged box on the shelves of many stores. While there is nothing wrong with that selection, Paul Beloungy wants people to know there is another option for purchasing the confection: handmade and locally crafted.

Beloungy started making chocolate truffles about 30 years ago as a hobby, giving it as gifts to friends and family. He received so much praise for his product, he decided to make a living at it. Paul’s Chocolates was established about 10 years ago in Beloungy’s home. He retrofitted a former workshop he built into a commercial kitchen. With his official license and proper state inspection, Paul’s Chocolates was established.

Beloungy offers a variety of truffle flavors to suit just about every discerning palette with a base of white, milk or dark chocolate such as double chocolate, espresso and delightfully dark, to raspberry, almond and chocolate malt and orange and lemonade among the flavors.

Beloungy said for the holidays he has created peppermint and eggnog flavors to feature. Earlier this year he also released a new flavor that is doing well: amaretto and crème with kalua.

Paul’s Chocolates offers a variety of box sizes, from two, four, six and 12-piece for truffles, to a small variety size box featuring two turtles and eight truffles, and a larger variety box with four turtles and 16 truffles. Prices range from a two-piece box of either truffles or caramels for $3.25, or $25 for the large variety box.

What’s unique about Paul’s Chocolates is all box sizes he offers are 100 percent customizable. And there is never any added sugar or preservatives. “It’s fresh-made, you know who made it and there are no preservatives,” Beloungy said. “That gives it a limited shelf time, I realize that but that’s the way I want to do it.” Paul’s Chocolates can be found at paulschocolates.com or through Facebook at Pauls Chocolates. The information provided is informational only, to order customers need to call Beloungy at 608-643-4653 or email him at paul@paulschocolates.com.

When the winter weather is frightful, Dana Fehrenbach of d.marie Knit and Fiber is ready to help customers ward off the winter blues with a variety of hand-knit items guaranteed to keep hands and heads warm. The store sells everything from cold weather must-haves such as hats and mittens, to cozy socks, cowl and infinity scarves, ponchos, wraps and shawls. It’s also the place to find wash clothes, an assortment of bags and kids crocheted owl hats.

Prices range from $7.50 for a crocheted wash cloth up to $375 for a hand-knit table cloth with a linen/silk blend.

Fehrenbach said her items can be made to order, any size, color, texture or pattern. Dmarie is located at 422 Water St. in Prairie du Sac and can be found at dmarieknitandfiber.com or 608-370-2414.

Juneau County

Critters Pet Shop at 211 South Main Street in Necedah is offering something truly unique: a pet bird.

“Right now we have a special going on, if you buy a bird cage and a bag of seed, it’s like $25, you get a free parakeet,” said Critters Owner Linda Weckesser. “I have 16 parakeets left.”

Fish tanks are also available for a wide range of prices. A full setup sits on display at the store’s entrance. “(That’s) everything you would need to start a fish tank,” Weckesser said.

Critters caters to our furry friends too. The business sells dog treats, cat treats, blankets, carriers, food, toys, shampoos, deodorizers, eye wipes and more.

Hamsters, guinea pigs, fish, turtles and lizards are all available to take home, and for those feeling a bit uncertain, gift certificates are available.

“We’ve had quite a few,” people stopping in for Christmas, Weckesser said.

Customers who spend more than $10 at Critters also get their name entered to potentially win a prize.

“We’ve given away a 55 gallon tank, stand and hood,” Weckesser said.

Just down the street from Critters at 308 South Main Street, Red Hen Antiques & Collectibles is offering a wide variety of products to make homes feel just right for the holidays this year.

Everything from books, candy, custom holiday cards, sleds and toboggans, custom barnwood furniture, decorations and even Evening in Paris perfume are available this season.

Red Hen Owner Darlene Markowski has been collecting antiques for years. She knows what people are looking for to make their house feel like home.

Floral arrangements, wool blankets, feather boas, lace doilies all work to give the place character, and can do so in other locations.

“They just kind of make the room complete,” Markowski said.

She even found a European style wash basin for the place.

“I don’t really know how old it is,” Markowski said.

But not all the furniture on sale at the Red Hen has obscure origins. Markowski’s husband, Jim has years of experience in woodworking and produces custom made barnwood furniture.

Pieces can be made to order or purchased at the Red Hen.

“This furniture is really wonderful,” Markowski said. “It really is.”

Table prices range depending on size.

“The small ones run $625, and the eight foot ones run $825,” Markowski said. Small corner tables can be sold for as little as $99.

Barnwood bookcases are also available for those shopping for the family bookworm this year. “He always gets the best wood, with the most character,” Markowski said.

For history buffs the Red Hen also has an old immigrant’s trunk with a secret compartment, and World War II memorabilia.

Those shopping for loved ones who seek the cutting edge might find what they’re looking for at Games For Us at 111 East State Street in Mauston.

Games For Us Owners Jayson Brollini and Nicolette Lesetmoe keep up on what is catching the attention of gamers of all ages.

“We have packages already set up for the holidays,” Brollini said. “Pre-bundled sets of different things from Magic (the Gathering) to retro games.”

Games For Us has been selling copies of two of this year’s hottest video games: Battlefield 5 and Red Dead Redemption 2.

Board games and Magic the Gathering products are likely to go on sale for an anticipated 10 percent off. Magic the Gathering events are held every Friday and Saturday night, and staff will sit down to teach newcomers the game.

Reservations for the store’s birthday room has become a popular option, with a recent sale dropping the price to $100 for a two hour reservation including snacks and games for guests. The room includes a projector and multiple game stations for console gaming.

“Fortnite birthday parties is what everyone wants in there,” Brollini said. “I set it all up.”

Games for Us also keeps stock on Japanese sodas and snacks.

“That sells out every time I put it on Facebook,” Brollini said. “It takes a good solid three weeks to get here because it’s all imported.”

Those looking to repair loved ones’ damaged gaming consoles or iPods can also have their needs met at Games For Us.

Whatever your loved ones value, local businesses have options available this year to make everyone happy.

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