The spice of life

-Schossow opens The Variety Store downtown -Baked goods, baby toys among items for sale

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson
Gerry Schossow, owner of the recently opened downtown shop called The Variety Store, poses with some of the items for sale there. Baked goods, baby items, candles and mugs are some of the goods available for purchase at the shop, located at 1222 Central Ave. Schossow is hoping to recruit other vendors into the store.

Owner Gerry Schossow’s vision for the newest store downtown is to have a little something for everybody.

“I know a lot of things you can get cheaper at Walmart, but my wife and I will be your cashier,” he said. “We will care about how your day is going. We are community and here to help each other.”

Schossow is in the process of opening The Variety Store, 1222 Central Ave. There, he hopes to bring a farmer’s market of sorts inside.

Some of the items for sale include: scented candles, mugs, baby toys and baked goods.

Schossow started selling his baked goods under the name Oh My Goodies during the local farmer’s market this year.

“We sold at the farmer’s market for two months,” he said.

Schossow bakes a variety of cookies, cupcakes and breads.

“We do a lot of different varieties of banana bread,” he said. “We do gluten free and diabetic friendly cookies and breads, especially the banana bread.”

Cookies include: oatmeal raisin, monster, sugar cookies, chocolate chip and chocolate chunk.

His signature cupcake is inside of an ice cream cone.

“I have a thing I do — ice cream cone cupcakes — a cupcake inside of an ice cream cone and then we do normal cupcakes,” he said. “I also do muffins — blueberry and banana bread muffins — and then double chocolate muffins.”

Schossow, a native of Arizona, spent most of his childhood in small town Arkansas. He moved to Fort Dodge when he was 18.

“The rest of my family kind of followed,” he said. “My mom is here now. My sister lives here and my brother lives here.”

His interest in baking stems from times in the kitchen with both is mother and grandmother.

“When I was a kid I used to help my mom,” Schossow said. “My mom does a lot of baking. My grandma used to bake a lot and I would be in the kitchen with her as a kid.

“I like sweets and if you can’t make it, you can’t eat it. And if you can’t make it good, you can’t eat it.”

Oh My Goodies also accepts orders from customers.

“If somebody wanted 150 cinnamon rolls, we could do that,” Schossow said.

Oh My Goodies will just be one part of the store. Schossow is hoping to attract other small businesses into the space.

“I am actually not charging the rental space,” Schossow said. “I am just going to have them tack on a dollar on each of their items so we make a little bit and can get situated and people see that it will go.”

There’s about eight spaces available.

Schossow, who runs the live stream for First Presbyterian Church services in his spare time, said any business considered family-friendly is welcome.

“My hope is to have a store that is going to save you time from going store to store,” he said. “Have what you need at one spot. Enough variety to get what you need and leave and get back home and kick back in your easy chair.

“I thought this whole concept and the spaces being rented, I got that concept from the farmer’s market and I thought it’s going to start getting cold and people will want to sell their stuff year round.”

Raised dog bowls are also available at The Variety Store.. Another vendor will be selling block signs.

The baby items for sale are provided by a company called Itsy Bitsy.

“They are 100 percent mother-owned, woman-owned company,” said Schossow, a father of two daughters. “Who better to know what a baby needs than a mother? We have basically anything to keep a baby happy.The wraps, the cocoons, pacifiers, teethers, and then we have some used items, kids clothes, kids shoes. It doesn’t have to all be new stuff. One man’s garbage is another man’s treasure. If doesn’t matter what you have to sell, if you want to sell it and have a place to do it, you are welcome to come.”

Schossow also plans to install an ATM onsite.

He’s excited about being around the downtown area.

“We are still considered downtown and I like the parking availability,” he said. “If I would have got something actually on Central, parking would have been only on-street. Parking was a big plus. I believe it’s a good central location between downtown and 15th (Street).”

The Variety Store will be open Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Anyone interested in renting a space in The Variety Store can contact Schossow at 515-206-3666.


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