Despite challenges, local stores excited for shoppers

Published 6:20 pm Tuesday, November 23, 2021

With COVID-19 restrictions in the rear view mirror, Austinites are ready to get out and do some local holiday shopping.

The shelves of Austin businesses are stocked and ready for the rush shoppers on Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and beyond.

Real Deals is offering many items at discount prices on Friday and will have gnomes and boutiques at the price of buy one, get one half price. Kim Underdahl, co-owner of Real Deals, said it’s a little surreal to think of customers lining up at the store again, but she is ready for a sense of normalcy.

“We’re happy for everyone to be here and supporting us,” Underdahl said.

Like most stores in the area, Real Deals had to deal with the supply shortage.

“It has been a trickle-in for all Christmas things,” Underdhal said. “We have a new Christmas product every week instead of having it all in July. We just got some of it [Monday].”

Sterling Main Street also has its shelves stocked as it will be offering 50 percent off various items. They already have some items available on Facebook. Store manager Jenn Legried said there have been some issues in preparations, but she’s anticipating a good turnout.

“Anybody’s going to say there are some issues. There is a little bit, but we’ve been making it work,” Legried said. “We are back to our normal this year. In the past we had to do it a little bit differently. We have some fun sales going into the weekend also and we’ll also be doing Cyber Monday.”

Local shopping opportunities will not end this weekend. A Handmade Christmas will be held at the Hormel Historic Home on Dec. 3- 4. The event began eight years ago, but was cancelled last year due to the pandemic.

Kristi Rooney, the creator and organizer of A Handmade Christmas, said that she will have 30 vendors from all over southern Minnesota offering quality goods.

“It’s become a tradition for a lot of people. They know what to expect and they put it on their calendars,” Rooney said. “I want to give the community an opportunity to buy quality handmade goods and give these small businesses a place to sell their wares after a lot of them couldn’t do it last year.”

A Handmade Christmas will go from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday. Tickets are available for Friday and Saturday at a cost of $10 or for just Saturday at $5.

There will be handmade pens, goatmilk soap, jewelry, wood cutting boards, canned foods and winter wear available for purchase, as well as wine to create the ambience.

Rooney said that presale tickets for this year’s event are higher than any other previous year.

“It’s exciting as an organizer to see presale tickets go so well,” she said. “Every few hours my phone is dinging with ticket sales. People are ready to return back to normal and they’re ready to get gifts here that they can’t get anywhere else. I think everyone should come out and we’re looking forward to a great event.”