It is not a surprise that I love to shop. I don’t have to always make a purchase but I do love to see what local stores are offering and this past Friday the North Iowa Bloggers spent a bit of time together enjoying a few of my favorite shops in our town.
First stop was Soyphisticated Candles. I love all of the products that Camille Lee offers and have never been disappointed with anything that I have gotten from her. I have blogged about her before several times (check out my first mention of her in 2010 here) so you know that I really do love all the wonderful things that she creates. I have included her candles in giveaways several times here on It’s Just Life so you know I love them.
Next stop —Market 124. The beauty of Market 124 is that it that their inventory is always changing. I always find new and different things by different vendors each and every time I visit which makes it so appealing. I have painted pottery in their pottery area, sampled cupcakes from Grandma Sugar’s Cupcakery, purchased wine and yes–even purchased my share of gifts and items for myself. I did an entire blog post on this wonderful place not too long ago. You can view that post by clicking here.
We decided to grab some sustenance at Papa’s American Cafe before we ventured out too much longer and my Jamaican Chicken Sandwich was tasty and filling.
Next stop was the Orange Possum which has two locations—one in Mason City and one in Hampton. I love this store. Some of the clothing is a little too young for me but it does not prevent me from seeing what they have that might be suitable. Plus I have gotten gift certificates here before so it is nice that they offer those as well.
The final stop of the day for this group of bloggers was to visit the Willowbrook Mall to see what what going on there. The indoor farmer’s market was going on which was an added bonus and I have to remember that those vendors are there on Fridays during the off months. There are always treasures to be found.
One store that I always have to check out in that mall is Unique Repeats because they offer some pretty wonderful consignment items that you won’t find anywhere else. The inventory is constantly changing and you never know what might be available. Teapots? Yes. Often. Although this trip I refrained from buying any. I did find some great candle holders with letters on them that I am going to be using all year long as all 4 sides feature different letters. The difficult part is coming up with the right combo for the words I want! This is one attempt for the season.
When it comes to shopping I love to shop local. There are small businesses that really rely on local customers to keep them afloat and some of the best shops are those little ones that are perhaps a little out of the way or not as easy to get to. I always find that it is worth the extra effort to explore them, make a connection with the owner and basically help support a local small business that deserves some recognition.
When I give gifts I like to think of the person I am gifting and find the perfect gift. This Christmas I have a few more personal suggestions of local gifts that can be given.
- Kush Salon offers a wide range of great services. From hair cuts and color to nails and massages the professionals there can turn your day around with a makeover and a day of pampering. If you need a cut and color you definitely need to ask for Paula–she can make even me look good. Gift certificates from Kush are an easy and welcome gift.
- Today’s Your Day is a fabulous shop in Willowbrook Mall that features all kinds of interesting balloon creations and themes. The ideas are limitless and I suspect if you give owner Lisa Lofing an idea she will be able to come up with the perfect creation. The great thing is that birthday parties can be hosted through Today’s Your Day and Lisa is offering a $25 discount for any party in 2015 if you book it before the end of the year.
My favorite thing had to be the dinosaur that you can actually rent for an event and sit on –if you are the right size, that is. (I apologize for not holding the camera correctly but you get the idea—he is CUTE!)
- If you have a gardener on your Christmas list or an outside project planned you might want to check out Natural Plus Nursery. They have gift certificates available and there is no limit to what these folks can do for you. It is not always something that you think of when it is snowy and cold outside but what a great idea to give a gift of something living or some landscaping once the weather clears. Mary and Dave Hopper are fabulous folks who have such a great business. They recently were the ones responsible for the fabulous landscaping around the Cannonball Garden in East Park in Mason City.
There are so many unique and different options when it comes to gift giving and locally in Mason City there are quite a few great places to get some special gifts for that special someone. I always support small businesses and hope that you will as well.
Do you have a favorite small business that you like to patronize? Leave me a comment and a shout out to your favorite one so we can all share the love of small businesses. Thanks to all the shop owners who go above and beyond to provide great shopping experiences for their customers.
Don’t forget to enter the giveaway for 2 books–one written just for the kids and one written for the grown ups by “Cotton” Ketchie. Click here to go to the post where all you have to do is leave a comment to enter the giveaway. Couldn’t be easier!