People are always looking for gifts. When a customer, though, is looking for an exceptional gift, Fort Dodge's locally-owned businesses are proud to rise above and beyond.
At Wicker Jewelers downtown, the greatest gift they've ever provided is two gold engagement rings, each with four carats of diamonds.
"It was a special order. Part of it was already made and they added to it," Marty Pickett, staff member, said. "It was a beaut."
According to owner Marilyn Simonson, the store occasionally does custom jewelry. In this case, adding more diamonds to the two-carat diamond rings. The ring covered an entire finger segment, between knuckles.
Two customers requested the special rings, one in the spring and one the previous Christmas.
Other gifts are always available, Simonson said.
"We sell a lot of these musical clocks. They make good presents, especially at Christmas," she said. "They sell themselves. Somebody might be standing here waiting for a watch battery and one of these will go off."
At Tea Thyme, people come for a gift unique to the bakery and restaurant.
"We just had it go out the door, a beautiful coconut cream pie," Deb Lacina, owner, said. "It's our specialty. We serve them by the slice in the tea room and we also sell whole pies. It is a deep dish coconut cream pie with a toasted coconut pie. Very unique, delicious."
According to Lacina, the pies, which they have been offering for 20 years, are often purchased as gifts.
"Especially birthdays," she said. "Instead of the traditional birthday cake they'll purchase a coconut cream pie. And at holidays, when families members come home, they want a coconut cream pie"
The local restaurant also has a gift shop that includes items as varied as jewelry, Lacina said.
Sometimes the greatest gift one can give isn't a material possession but spiritual guidance.
Such is the case at Beacon of Hope men's shelter.
"I have to say, the greatest gift I've ever been able to give anyone here at the shelter is the word of Jesus," Steve Roe, shelter director, said. "He's the greatest gift we've able been able to receive."
According to Roe it is a gift that has helped the homeless who take residence at the nonprofit.
"It changes their lives," he said. "Because of the gift of Jesus, I've watched people bring in gifts for the men, I've watched people donate to keep our doors open, I've watched people bring in food. Our biggest blessing is to watch what he does through the lives of people."