CRAWFORD AND VERNON COUNTIES - This holiday season, the Independent-Scout wants to encourage our readers to ‘shop local,’ and support local merchants when making your holiday shopping decisions. Our local merchants are here for us everyday, all year long. Showing support for the businesses that serve the community in the holiday shopping season is a way to ensure the vitality of our local rural economy into the future.
Rather than ordering online or driving off to LaCrosse or Madison, consider doing your holiday shopping in Gays Mills, Soldiers Grove, Seneca, Ferryville, Liberty Pole, and Viroqua. What follows is a listing of some of the area’s local merchants and community groups, and their special holiday happenings.
Perhaps the most exciting news in Gays Mills is that the Village Greenhouse is back up and running under the management of Faye Welsh and Jesse Brandt. In addition to their cut floral delivery service, the store now offers all kinds of options for holiday shoppers.
“When your apple crop completely fails, it causes a person to become very creative and innovative,” Welsh said. “I had to look around our farm and ask myself, what else can we do? When the opportunity presented itself to work with Joe and Jesse Brandt to keep the greenhouse business alive in Gays Mills, I instantly saw the benefits of that for our farm business and for the Village of Gays Mills.”
Welsh said that she has a vision of revitalizing the old downtown area in the village in a way that works with the fact that the area is in a known floodplain. She explained that the Old Main Street location allows the orchard to connect with shoppers in better way than their farm location offers.
The Village Greenhouse will hold a grand opening celebration on Saturday, Dec. 7, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.that will feature organic snacks and beverages, and hourly drawings for door prizes.
Shoppers can also make a donation to the store’s ‘giving tree.’ Donations will be accepted for the Driftless Humane Society, a holiday gift for a local child, or Turkey Ridge Organic Orchard. Individuals making a donation will also be able to select a complimentary gift from an assortment available. The children’s gifts donated will be distributed locally to families in need.
The store will be open from now until the day before Christmas, seven days a week, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The Greenhouse is your destination for holiday greenery (pine, cedar, dogwood), wreaths and poinsettias. They are also back in business with cut flower arrangements for weddings, birthdays, funerals and special occasions. Shoppers can also purchase potted plants and various gardening items. Come spring, the greenhouse will carry on the tradition of serving gardeners with flower, herb and vegetable bedding plants.
Turkey Ridge Orchard will offer their farm-products such as jams, jellies and syrups. They currently have just a few of their gift boxes left, but going forward, this will be an item that they offer every year.
The store will also feature products from Jesse Brandt’s business, Pure Play Kids. In the store, shoppers can find a variety of do-it-yourself craft kits for kids, non-battery operated toys, coloring cards and envelopes, puzzles and sand art. There will also be home goods such as organic produce bags, cookie cutters and organic cotton snack bag sets.
Winter Farmers Market
Farmers and crafters from Crawford County will sell their wares on Saturday, Nov. 30, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.at the Gays Mills Community Commerce Center, 16381 Highway 131. The venue offers plenty of parking. There is no admission fee, and this event will allow you to support your local farm neighbors through your holiday shopping.
The area’s Amish neighbors will be providing baked goods and candy, as well as handmade items. Neighbor farmers will have canned goods, salsa, pickles, fall veggies and fruits, fresh farm eggs, honey, pecans, plus many craft items. The event will offer ‘something for everyone.’
A chili cook-off will be provided by some vendors with $1 donation asked. All proceeds go to the Gays Mills Farmers Market for the 2020 season. Try the chili - vote for your favorite – the winning vendor will win a prize. There will also be a silent auction of Christmas items from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., with winning bidders notified at 1 p.m. There will be a book sale, with books ranging in cost from 50 cents to $2 a book.
On Friday, Nov. 29, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., check out the great deals on Sunrise Orchards apples, specialty food products and gifts. Enjoy creating your own holiday gift baskets with our apples and specialty food products, cheeses and gifts. Enjoy a warm apple cider donut, coffee or hot cider, while you shop.
The orchard’s ‘Apple Store Gift Shop’ showcases the Driftless Studios display of handcrafted signs, magnets, Christmas ornaments, tumblers, and home décor, plus, Christmas cards, calendars, cookbooks, children's books, and kitchen items.
On Saturday, Dec. 7, shoppers will be able to visit with Santa from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. There will be free cookies, coffee, and cider provided by Santa. Enjoy holiday music, an arts and crafts sale by local vendors, and a kids’ coloring contest with a chance to win a $100 Sunrise Orchards’ gift certificate.
Wednesday, Dec. 18, the orchard is pleased to invite you, to their Customer Appreciation Dinner and Shopping Event, from 4 to 6:30 p.m. Enjoy a chili dinner, cookies, apple cider and coffee. They’ll stay open later this evening, for your last-minute shopping. The orchard’s last shopping day of the season will take place on Friday, Dec. 20.
Santa and Holiday Fair
On Saturday, Dec. 7, Santa will be at the Gays Mills Community Commerce Center from 10 a.m. until 12 p.m., Please bring your own camera to get a picture of your child with Santa. The event is sponsored by the Gays Mills Fire Department and the Gays Mills Lions Club.
In the same location on December 7, there will be a Holiday Craft Fair, which will be a fundraiser for the North Crawford basketball team and eighth grade Washington D.C. trip. The event will feature craft and homemade vendors, and will feature free hot chocolate and cookies.
Kickapoo Exchange and
The Kickapoo Exchange Natural Foods Cooperative will participate in a Holiday Arts and Crafts Bazaar in the Gays Mills Mercantile Center on Saturday, Dec. 14, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.The event will feature local arts and crafts, food and live music. The selection of craft items available for purchase will include pottery, fiber art, jams, jellies, cutting boards, wooden treasure boxes, handmade cards, sorghum syrup, baked goods, sewn plastic replacement items, reuseable straws, pot holders, and honey. Snacks and hot beverages will be available.
The Co-op offers holiday gift baskets, beer and wine, healthy seasonal foods and bulk food items.
Driftless Brewing in Soldiers Grove is one of our area’s most exciting new businesses. When considering your holiday shopping and your holiday celebrations, Driftless Brewing Company can help you with both.
The Brewery offers gift certificates for six-packs and growlers, which could make an ideal stocking stuffer for some of the people on your shopping list. In addition, the Brewery offers branded hats, t-shirts, and coming in December, their new zip-up hoodie.
For those in the mood to kick off holiday celebrations, stop by their taproom in Soldiers Grove on Fridays and Saturdays through December 21to register for their weekly drawing of a free t-shirt, hat, or growler. The taphouse is open Fridays, from 3-9 p.m., and Saturdays, from 1-7 p.m.
For the holiday celebration season, the Brewery will also be launching several new varieties of beer – stay tuned!
John’s Sporting Goods
John’s Sporting Goods sells shooting and fishing sports supplies, firearms, as well as various electronic devices such as scanners. “If you can’t find it anywhere, try Johns!”
Guiding Hands Massage
Guiding Hands Massage is the name of a new massage therapy business in Soldiers Grove. The business is located next to John’s TV in the Solar Village area. In honor of Small Business Saturday, on Nov. 30, 2-6 p.m., Jill Quandahl, the village’s new massage therapist, will hold a limited time annual sale. A single massage will be available for $50 (a $15 savings) or you can purchase four and get the fifth massage free (a $125 savings). Shoppers can stop in to view our new shop and enjoy some hot chocolate and cookies. To book a massage, call 563-379-8092.
Johnson’s One Stop
Johnson’s One Stop in Seneca is gearing up for the holidays with a whole line up of gift items, holiday decorating, Christmas trees, and special holiday shopping season events. Best of all, through December 21, the store will now be open from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sundays!
The store’s ‘Christmas Kickoff’ will take place Friday-Sunday, Nov. 29-Dec. 1, with lots of specials on holiday shopping items. As always, the store features free gift-wrapping. People shopping for gifts can shop their wide selection of apparel, housewares, toys, and tools.
For those in the mood to kick off their holiday decorating, the store offers Christmas trees, lights and other holiday decorating items. The grocery store will offer plentiful supplies of all of your holiday meal, snack trays, and holiday baking items.
There will be a ‘pine centerpiece making’ event and Shullsburg Cheese sampling on Saturday, Dec. 7, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and also a Driftless Beer sampling in the store from 12-2 p.m. On Sunday, Dec. 8, the store will host a food drive to benefit the Gays Mills Food Pantry. At the same time, Santa will be in the store from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and families are invited to a ‘S’mores Pit’ and Hot Chocolate Bar.
On Sunday, Dec. 15, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. the store will feature a hot dog stand fundraiser, and all funds will be used to create ‘Merry and Bright’ holiday food bags to be delivered to families in need in the community.
Saturday, Dec. 21will feature a Children’s Christmas Cookie Decoration event from noon to 3 p.m., as well as a ten percent off storewide wine sale.
Pampered Chef party
The Ferryville Vision and Tourism Board will host a Pampered Chef party and fundraiser for the Sugar Creek Park Playground on Saturday, Dec. 7, from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Ferryville Village Hall.
The event is advertised as a way to “find the perfect stocking stuffer, take home the perfect kitchen gadget, and take your baking to a new level.”
Ferryville Cheese Store
The Ferryville Cheese Store offers cheese and sausage gift boxes. To order, go into the store, call Ferryville Cheese Store at 608-734-3121, or https://ferryvillecheese.com/products.php?cat=Gift+Boxes. The cheese store also offers cheese and sausage items for all of your holiday entertaining needs.
Viroqua's annual Twinklefest festivities and parade take place on the city’s Main Street on Friday, Nov. 29, 7-9 p.m.Participants can enjoy beautiful downtown Viroqua, decked out in lights for the holiday season. There will be food, shopping, open houses, a dance party at the Driftless Cafe, pictures with Santa, after parties, and ‘Elf’ screened at the Temple Theatre. Participants can stop in at the new Visitor Center for a chance to win one of four Viroqua Bucks gift certificates.
Viroqua Food Co-op
The Viroqua Food Co-op is hosting its Holiday Open House on Saturday, Dec. 14, from 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m.Shoppers can take a stroll around and enjoy a variety of samples from local producers. Music will be provided by: Firefly Brass Band (12-2 p.m.), and Kickapoo Pearls (2-4 p.m.).
The free samples from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. will include Kickapoo Coffee, B & E's Trees: Forest Foraged Foods & Farm, Cress Spring Body Care LLC, LuSa Organics, Soler Romero Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar, and the VFC Bakery. Free samples from 1:30-4:30 p.m. will include L'Eft Bank Wines, Kickapoo Meadery, Driftless Brewing Company, Ferndale Market, Driftless Provisions and VFC Deli.
Attendees can also enjoy a free class, hang out and enjoy local music, and enter to win a Ferndale Market turkey, a prize basket and a holiday tree.
Free Classes in the Co-op Community Room: 11 a.m.-Noon: Co+op Explorers Holiday Cookie Decorating with Sam Witte, VFC Deli Manager; and 1-2 p.m.: Seasonal Cheeseboard Creations with Sarah Clemens, VFC Cheese Buyer.
Holiday Artisan Market
VIVA Gallery’s 8th annual Holiday Artisan Market will include the creations of a dozen guest artists, and new work from the gallery’s 25 member artists. The market, which debuted in November, is a perfect place to find one-of-kind, locally-created gifts for the holidays.
VIVA’s member artists create a stunning array of artwork in multiple media: decorative and functional pottery; woven wearables and wall hangings; eco-printed scarves; deer hide bags and hats; silver, wire and gemstone jewelry; beadwork and metalwork; photography, prints and mixed media; oil watercolor and acrylic paintings representing a wide variety of subjects and styles; wooden cutting boards, spoons and bowls; and furnishings and basketry wrought from nature.
Guest artists add a number of new and unusual offerings: felted vessels and textile artworks; quilted wall hangings; clever potholders; pottery and paper mache figures; forged metal jewelry, candlesticks and knives; whimsical metal lamps; sculpted candles; vivid abstract paintings and nature-composed assemblages; and kalimbas, musical instruments originating in Africa.
VIVA Gallery is also a great place to find holiday cards, stocking stuffers and ornaments.
The diverse works of these 37 member and guest artists will be featured at VIVA’s First Thursday reception on December 5t from 5-7 p.m., and will be on display throughout the month December.
The gallery’s First Thursday reception will be followed by a 7 p.m. dinner next door at Rooted Spoon Kitchen Table. E-mail email@example.com or call 608-632-2120 to make reservations. The Rooted Spoon cash bar will be open during the reception.
Parrish Music represents a very carefully selected line of instruments that offer the very best quality and value. They don’t carry anything based solely on price; rather, their product choices are based on tone, playability, build quality, and bang for the buck: the “best in class” instruments. They carry the Midwest’s best selection of ukuleles, and often have over forty models on the wall. In Catherine’s ‘flute corner’ you’ll find new and used concert flutes for sale and available to rent, alongside flutes from Ireland, India, Japan, and South America. They also carry locally crafted Native American Flutes from two different makers.
Viroqua Public Market
Shoppers at the Viroqua Public Market can stroll through the beautiful art gallery or browse the great selection of jewelry, gifts, candy and canned goods, and antiques in the market.
Liberty Pole StoreThe Liberty Pole Store in Liberty Pole, S6685 Highway 27, will hold a ‘Country Christmas’event in their store for the first three weekends in December.Their offerings include Ridge & Valley Expressions and rope baskets, gnome ornaments and Primitive Pumpkin Décor, CBD bath bombs and melts and lefse. Shoppers can enjoy refreshments, door prizes and hot cider.