‘Tis the season for holiday shopping. Why not consider shopping local? It doesn’t matter where you live, you can find locally-made products or procure what you’re looking for by shopping locally. In Iowa, the entire state is your shopping bag.
In partnership with Travel Iowa (opinions and views are ours), we’ve created a holiday shopping guide that includes cities we’ve visited during our travels around the Hawkeye State. And, the best part is that you don’t need to leave the comfort of your home to shop. In fact, you don’t even need to live in Iowa.
Shop Iowa is an online marketplace consisting of hundreds of local stores offering the opportunity to shop at stores in communities you may not have the chance to visit before the holidays. You can shop multiple locations at one time, too. Have your order sent to a business listed near you, or have it delivered to your home.
Live in Council Bluffs, but want to buy a gift from a store in Keokuk? Shop Iowa is the place for you. While each store participating on Shop Iowa offers unique gifts and ideas, here are a few of our favorite places we’ve shopped during our adventures.
The Rustic Corner
The Rustic Corner in Charles City quickly became one of our favorite home decor and accessories store. We actually had coffee mugs made featuring our first two books – 100 Things to Do in Omaha Before You Die and Unique Eateries of Omaha – when they were published. Using a laser, the staff created beautiful lettering on the mugs.
With about 500 items in the store that can be engraved, you may want to consider a personally-engraved gift this year. But, if you happen to be looking for something other than an engraved coffee mug, The Rustic Corner can help you out.
With a wide selection of home decor and accessories, as well as clothing and shoes, The Rustic Corner is an excellent spot to buy a unique gift.
Have a coffee fanatic (yes, I’ve asked my brood for a coffee of the month subscription) in the family? Aromas Coffee in Charles City is family-owned and roasts its own beans. With a variety of beans from around the world, including Africa, Indonesia and Latin America, coffee maintains its natural flavors, with undertones of chocolate, caramel, spice, berries and citrus, as well as other notes.
Wright on the Park
Mason City may be best known as having the last working hotel in the world designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. If you have an architecture enthusiast – or Wright fan, as I do – in the family, a gift from Wright on the Park may be spot on. Home decor in the prairie school design for which Wright is famous, or even gift certificates for a stay at the hotel and a docent-led tour, makes the perfect gift under the tree.
Vander Ploeg Bakery
Pella is proud of its Dutch heritage, and Vander Ploeg Bakery is the next best thing to visiting an Amsterdam shop. Offering online orders of Pella bologna, letter pastries and cookies, the original Dutch bakery, open since 1847, may be the perfect Christmas afternoon treat.
No Coast Candles
The Everly Brothers once lived in Shenandoah, performing live on the radio before hitting it big as an early rock-and-roll act. But, the southwest Iowa community is also home to No Coast Candles. The family-owned business hand-pours each of its products, such as candles (8 and 16 ounces), hand soap and car fresheners.
Angel Wings and Country Things
In Winterset, there’s more to do than tour the Bridges of Madison County. Located on the historic downtown square, Angel Wings and Country Things offers boutique women’s clothing, accessories, and hand-crafted jewelry. Along with repurposed vintage items, the store features pocket tokens, from hummingbird pins to lucky gnomes. You’ll also find home decor and garden features.
Iowa Quilt Museum
The Iowa Quilt Museum quickly gained popularity after opening in 2016, attracting quilters and the curious from around the country. The museum’s gift shop features quilt-inspired greeting cards, art and coffee mugs.
Dungeons and Dodgers
After spending about an hour at Dungeons and Dodgers, Lisa about had to pull me away. Hundreds of comic books, from classics to contemporary, graphic novels, games, accessories and more are available for online purchase. If you have a comics fan or gamer in your life, Dungeons and Dodgers is the perfect place this holiday.
I could go on and on with the thousands of gift possibilities with Shop Iowa and its support of local businesses. You can load your cart up and fill those stockings with just one checkout on the ShopIowa.com site. But, we all have our wish lists to fulfill, so it’s time to go shopping. Happy Holidays!