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By Ann 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!

Benton Ave. Boutique

Facebook: bentonaveboutique

Instagram: bentonaveboutique

Benton Avenue Boutique is located on the beautiful historic square in Albia. Two moms with a love for cute clothes bring trendy looks to small-town Iowa so that women in every size look good and feel good. Shop online or visit their storefront.

Bergman Farms

Facebook: BergmanFarms1884

From their pasture to your table, Bergman Farms offers quality beef, pork, chicken and produce. Located between Cedar Falls and Hudson, the online shop offers a variety of cuts and package sizes. Plus, they also own Velvet Hoof, a customized apparel and gift company. See more information on the next page.

Britches ‘N’ Bows

Facebook: shopbnb

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.

CAM Custom Designs

Facebook: CAM-Custom-Designs-104853484709869

Located in Reinbeck, owner Carrie McCalley offers customized apparel and home decor.

Country Blend Seasoning

Facebook: CountryBlendSeasoning

Country Blend is Grandma’s secret to excellent cooking. The seasoning blend is manufactured in Rockwell City by Midwest Flavors, LLC. It makes the perfect addition to grilled or baked chicken, pork, beef, turkey, fish and wild game. It’s also great on potatoes, salads or in soups and sauces.

Down Home Creations

Facebook: DownHomeCreationsAlbia

Down Home Creations is a handmade-focused gift shop with more than 25 artisans and crafters who sell handmade and refurbished creations. Shop online or visit their storefront.

The Holton Homestead  

Facebook: TheHoltonHomestead

Instagram: theholtonhomestead

Owners Sara and Tyler Holton founded The Holton Homestead in 2015 on their small acreage in Elkhart. The farm specializes in market gardening, beekeeping, honey production, food preservation, natural remedies and lifestyle products. Products can be purchased at a small store on the farm or in numerous retail locations in central Iowa.

J&J Candles

Facebook: jjcandlesmanson

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.


Facebook: mollyscountrystore

Molly’s is an old barn turned vintage-inspired retail store in Audubon. The shop offers quality home décor, clothing and accessories in a weathered and worn, tattered and     torn style.

Mustard Seed

Facebook: mustardseedcoalbia

Mustard Seed Co. is a family-owned, unique shop featuring home inspirations. Located one block south of Albia’s quaint historic square, the shop delivers with charm and character. Shop online or visit their storefront.

Nightingale Bakery

Facebook: Nightingale-Bakery-473092180174458

Nightingale Bakery offers homemade pies, cakes, cheesecakes, cupcakes and more in a cozy setting in Albia.

The Pint-Sized Farm Wife

Instagram: ThePintSizedFarmWife


Katie Putnam and her husband Nick farm corn and soybeans in rural western Iowa. Katie offers custom sugar cookies featuring everything from farm scenes to business logos to holiday greetings.

Recreation Unlimited

Facebook: recreationunlimited04

A family-owned and operated business in Traer, offering top notch outdoor equipment and accessories, including Green Mountain Grills.

Sweet Honeymoon Winery

Facebook: sweethoneymoonwinery

Sweet Honeymoon Winery is a craft winery in Calhoun County making quality wines (including dry wines) in small batches from imported grape juice from all around the world. Because of this approach, the business offers varietals not normally available to wineries in our northern climate. They also make an award-winning Mead (honey wine).

Velvet Hoof


The shop expresses a love for the outdoors, hunting, farming, cattle, livestock and all things western and rustic with custom creations. Shoppers can find stickers, decals, apparel, decor and more. Join The Velvet Hoof’s Facebook group to learn more!

To find more local business in your area, check with your local chamber of commerce or electric cooperative. Happy shopping!

Ann Thelen is the editor of Iowa Electric Cooperative Living magazine.

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