BY ANN FOSTER THELEN
Ho, ho, ho! It’s time to deck the halls, turn on the holiday music, roll out the wrapping paper and start this year’s holiday shopping.
Electric cooperatives are committed to the communities we serve, and it shows with the way member-consumers, employees and directors rally around to support one another. During the holiday season, shopping local is one of the easiest ways to support your friends and neighbors who are also business owners.
To help your holiday gift-giving or list-making, we’ve combined a list of electric cooperative-served businesses that offer unique gifts to place under the Christmas tree or in a stocking. As you embark on Santa Claus duties this year, keep in mind that this list is just a sampling of local businesses. Take a walk along your community’s Main Street or explore all that your local area offers for additional inspiration to shop local this holiday season!
BLOOM AND BARK FARM
Bloom and Bark is a glass-blowing studio, local artisan market and natural farm. They offer glass-blowing classes and demonstrations along with an artisan market filled with local art and fine crafts.
A family-owned business that sells premium raw honey and raw honey products. Customers can shop for delicious raw honey, flavored creamed honey, comb honey, beeswax hand lotion bars in five fragrances and beeswax lip balm, all crafted from the Boernsen’s honey bees.
BRITCHES ‘N’ BOWS
Britches ‘N’ Bows is a rustic country gift shop in Panora offering modern farmhouse décor, boutique-style clothing and trendy accessories. The shop also offers rustic wedding rentals, styling services and fresh wedding florals.
Ebert Honey produces 100,000 pounds of Iowa honey per year. Most of the Iowa honey is sold directly to grocery stores, bakeries, breweries and restaurants throughout central and eastern Iowa.
GARRETT LAND AND CATTLE BEEF
From the Garrett’s sixth-generation family farm in western Iowa to customers’ kitchen tables, the business is committed to providing the highest quality, home-raised beef.
GREAT RIVER MAPLE
Great River Maple is a family business producing 100% natural maple syrup. They offer a variety of additional maple products, including cream, sugar, bratwurst, granola and gift baskets.
HARVEST BARN MARKETPLACE
A barn doubles as a gift shop, and the family sells frozen and fresh pre-made meals, their locally raised beef and homegrown produce. They offer a variety of amazing, custom gift boxes with a variety of Iowa foods. Make it a holiday destination every year; September through December. Online shopping is available and products can be found at the Des Moines’ Downtown Farmers’ Market.
HEAVEN BOUTIQUE WINERY
Heaven Winery is a beautiful place to discover your new favorite Iowa wine or craft beer, pick up the perfect gift and unwind with friends. They feature more than 110 different native Iowa wines and craft beers, wine slushes, art and gifts by Iowa artists, and two unique, one-of-a-kind lodging options.
INSPIREU ALL THINGS GOOD
A boutique offering a wide variety of home decor, unique clothing, coffee and delicious baked goods. A variety of the store’s clothing items are also available online.
IRISH MEADOWS YARN BARN AND BOUTIQUE
Irish Meadows is an Alpaca farm featuring the Yarn Barn and Boutique in a beautifully restored red barn. Shoppers can peruse a selection of scarves, hats and gloves handmade with fleece from Alpaca. The boutique also features other women’s fashion, home décor and alpaca-themed items.
J&J Candles is a family-owned business that has been offering handcrafted, scented products for more than 25 years. They feature nearly 200 scents. In addition to individual sales, they offer wholesale pricing with minimum orders and do fundraisers. All the scented products are made at its facility south of Manson.
A local beekeeper sells raw honey made from wildflowers.
THE PIE LADY
The Pie Lady offers made-from-scratch pies, cheesecakes, and rolls and cinnamon rolls during holidays. There are no preservatives or additives added to any of her pies.
A family-owned and operated business in Traer offering top notch outdoor equipment and accessories, including Green Mountain Grills.
RED ROCK SIGNWORKS
Red Rock Signworks is a full-service, family-owned sign shop providing everything from the original concept to the creation and installation of the sign. The facility has a complete fabrication and production shop, using the most current equipment and technologies to build, fabricate and produce signage. In addition to signs, they also offer promotional printed items.
THE RED SHED
Hwy. 63, Bloomfield
The Red Shed has a wide variety of gifts, including their handmade chocolates, a large selection of farm toys, games, dolls, craft kits, home décor, Amish-made rugs and baskets, soaps and candles. The Red Shed serves lunch daily and also carries kitchenware and outdoor merchandise.
Ann Foster Thelen is the editor of Iowa Electric Cooperative Living magazine.