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Local merchants offer holiday gift ideas

-Messenger photo by Kelby Wingert
The Green Dragon Bookshop is ready for the holiday shopping season with full shelves.

With Black Friday officially kicking off the holiday shopping season, millions of shoppers across the country will be looking for the perfect gifts this weekend. Locally, Main Street Fort Dodge Executive Director Sharon Stroh encourages shoppers to spend some time in the locally-owned small businesses in Fort Dodge to find those perfect gifts.

“I like the box stores as much as anybody and they have things that I might never find in a local shop, but that sort of goes both ways,” Stroh said. “The boutiques have things that are very unique and therefore make them stand out, as opposed to the same 100 red sweaters that you can find at a Target or a Walmart or a Marshalls. It’s the uniqueness of the merchandise that I always find appealing because there’s not going to be 100 of those running around.”

With dozens of retailers, personal services and restaurants in downtown Fort Dodge, there’s something for just about anyone on your shopping list, she said.

At Dungeons and Dodgers, 1018 Central Ave., owner Ethan Becker expects to see plenty of Pokemon trading cards fly off the shelf this season.

“Kids always love Pokemon cards,” he said. “And we’ve got some new Pokemon cards coming in with some restocks coming in for Black Friday.”

-Messenger photo by Kelby Wingert
Upon entering the Green Dragon Bookshop at 9 N. 11th St., customers are greeted with stocking stuffers and other gift options.

Board games are another great gift idea for all ages, Becker said.

“We’ve got a variety of different board games,” he said.

Becker noted that comic books are also a good gift idea and the shop gets new comics in every week.

“There’s always new stories from those favorite characters, and a variety of different reading levels,” he said.

Becker also expects that a new trading card game produced by Disney, called Lorcana, will be a popular gift item this winter, but it may be difficult to find at times.

-Messenger photo by Kelby Wingert
Woobles crochet kits are popular gift items, according to CoriAnn Theroux, owner of the Green Dragon Bookshop in downtown Fort Dodge.

“That’s a very popular game,” he said. “We do have some of that in stock, but it’s limited quantities because it’s difficult for me to get that product right now.

Green Dragon Bookshop, 9 N. 11th St., is also preparing for the holiday shopping season. Owner CoriAnn Theroux has stocked up on more than just books.

“I’ve stocked up on lots of stocking stuffers and small gifts so it’s not just books in here,” she said. “I try to have a little something for everybody, so that way if one person wants books, and maybe the other person you’re shopping for doesn’t, you might find something in here for both of them.”

Some of the stocking stuffers include stickers, enamel pins, bookmarks, notepads, tote bags, stuffed animals and book-themed scented candles.

One of Theroux’s favorite items are the post-it-sized coloring books with simple designs.

-Messenger photo by Kelby Wingert
Board games make great gifts for friends and family of all ages, said Dungeons and Dodgers owner Ethan Becker.

“I have a lot of people that keep them at their desks at work so that way they can get their mind off of whatever for a short minute or two, and then they just go back to doing whatever they need to,” she said.

An item Theroux expects to be popular this year are the Woobles.

“These are cute little crochet kits,” she said. “It comes with everything, including online videos on how-to, with both left- and right-handed instructions.”

Theroux is also on hand to provide book recommendations, but in preparation for the season, she’s posted a holiday shopping guide for books on the Green Dragon Bookshop Facebook page.

At Nin’s Custom Creations, 1012 Central Ave., manager Emily Schmidt knows exactly what she’d want for a holiday present — wooden rounds home decor signs. These signs are popular and at Nins, fully customizable.

-Messenger photo by Kelby Wingert
Wooden rounds home decor are popular gift items, according to Emily Schmidt, manager of Nin's Custom Creations, 1012 Central Ave. Nin's is able to fully customize just about any decor item or accessory that a customer might want, Schmidt said.

“They’re really good Christmas gifts,” she said. “I just love the rounds.”

Schmidt said she was married recently and she’d like one that says “Mr. & Mrs. Schmidt” for her home.

“These are all things that can be customized and in a bunch of different sizes,” she said.

At Nin’s, they’re able to create an array of custom items, including clothing, accessories, decor, tumblers and more.

“I think of us more of a gift shop than anything, because a lot of this stuff does make good gifts,” Schmidt said.

A newer offering the shop has are laser-engraved wooden cutting boards. Currently, Schmidt is working on two orders where customers brought in a handwritten recipe from their mother or grandmother and Schmidt is going to have the cutting boards engraved with that handwritten recipe.

“We can legit customize anything,” she said. “We have lasers, we have an embroidery machine, vinyl cutter, just a whole bunch of stuff. It’s never dull.”

Other gift ideas that support local businesses include gift cards and gift certificates from salons, tattoo parlors, massage therapists, bars, restaurants and coffee shops.

There are also a few newer shops that have opened in downtown over the past year, Stroh said, including the Card Collective Hobby Shop of Fort Dodge at 700 Central Ave. and Sunmed CBD Store at 1026 Central Ave.

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