Makes its new home in downtown Fort Dodge, leaves Crossroads Mall after more than a decade
Homespun Collection, which for 13 years sold its wares at Crossroads Mall, has moved. The store is now in downtown Fort Dodge at 25 S. 12th St.
Bonnie Gerdes, who with husband Brian Gerdes co-owns the business, said the decision to relocate their enterprise came about because they concluded that the mall was no longer the best venue for the store’s future success.
“The way the mall situation was, I started to look for my own place,” she said. “A lot of people said they didn’t come to the mall because things are just fizzling out there. We just felt like if we were going to make this work, we needed to get somewhere where people can find us. We feel this is a good location.”
The store’s new home in the Kirchner Square complex, which Rich Seltz developed and owns, is proving to be a superb spot for Homespun Collection, Gerdes said. It occupies the corner location that for many years housed Xessorize.
“It’s a little smaller than our store in Crossroads Mall but it looks bigger because of the windows,” Gerdes said. “It has worked out really well.”
Before welcoming the first customers at the downtown site on March 15, the Gerdes family renovated the space to give it a look in sync with their tastes and merchandise they sell.
“We changed a couple of the walls,” Bonnie Gerdes said. “We did new flooring. Painted the whole thing. We made it look like our own.”
Homespun Collection sells a variety of home decor items. It features custom-made furniture.
“My husband builds the furniture we sell,” Bonnie Gerdes said. “I would say it is a farmhouse style. He also does kitchen cabinets. You can buy furniture off the floor but he also custom builds furniture to meet customers’ needs. We go to markets around the United States and we order things – florals, candles, just home decor items. We sell a lot of signs, prints — things like that.”
Seasonal merchandise is also popular.
“Every season we do something,” Gerdes said. “Christmas is big.”
The store is very much a family project.
“It’s my husband and I and my two daughters — Brady Weller and Brittany Snell — work here, too,” Gerdes said. “It’s a family thing. It’s nice to be able to work with my daughters and all have something in common.”
She said staying on top of what’s in demand in home fashion is an extremely important part of what it takes to make the business thrive.
“Colors change. Trends change,” Gerdes said. “We go to market three or four times a year. The whole family goes.”
Those industry events, however, aren’t the only source of ideas for merchandise to stock.
“We can do a lot of it online now,” Gerdes said. “I have a lot of sales reps who come through, too, which is nice.”
Whether at trade shows, online or in meeting with sales representatives, Gerdes said she is always on the lookout for products that are manufactured in the United States and if possible in Iowa.
“We try to do as many American-made items as we can,” she said.
P48 Boutique, operated by Brittany Snell, which was a separate store at Crossroads Mall, also moved downtown and is now a section of Homespun Collection in its new venue.
It features contemporary women’s clothing that is chic, trendy. The assortment is extensive. P48 Boutique was launched by Snell in 2015 and has developed a large following.
“I’ve always loved clothes and I’ve always loved shopping,” Snell told The Messenger at the time the store originally opened. “So, I’m in my comfort zone for sure.”
That remains just as true in the new downtown site.
Gerdes said she finds being in the city’s historic commercial center is a good fit for her store and the family team. She said they are enjoying the collaborative approach to marketing that has been developed by the downtown merchants.
“I like it,” she said of the new location. “One advantage is I get to make my own hours. That was one of the main reasons I moved. One feels a little more independent than you do in the mall.”
The store opens at 10 a.m. Tuesday through Saturday. It closes at 5 p.m. except on Thursdays when it remains open until 7 p.m. Homespun Collection is closed on Sunday and Monday.
Gerdes has a welcoming message to anyone who has yet to check out her shop.
“We’re unique,” she said. “We have things that maybe other stores don’t have. We try to make it look like what it would look like in your home.”
Gerdes said helping patrons find just the right solution to home decorating needs is a joy.
“People bring in pictures and paint chips and things like that,” she said. “They want us to help them. It’s really fun to help them.”