Local Businesses Help Shoppers Check Off Christmas List

Rae Baxter's at 345 S Central Ave., Marshfield

Marshfield, WI (OnFocus) This holiday season, local businesses are ready to help shoppers check off their Christmas list.

Downtown sporting goods shop and repair center The Sports Den carries many items that appeal to outdoor enthusiasts, whether that’s a new pair of snowshoes or a smart trainer for indoor virtual riding. Its biggest seller this holiday season is Smartwool socks.

Smartwool socks

“They make great stocking stuffers for people,” said Breanna VanDeHey, sales manager. “You don’t have to know a lot about a person to be able to find a cute pair of socks for them.”

The brand offers a wide range of colorful patterns and are designed for various activities such as running, cycling, hiking, and hunting. Another stocking stuffer is a bike tail light or headlight, plus accessories like handheld bike pumps.

The Sports Den highlights multiple brands that are made in the U.S., including Stormy Kromer wool caps. Original to Wisconsin, Stormy Kromer caps are now handcrafted in the Upper Peninsula.

“They were designed a long time ago by the wife of a railroad engineer,” VanDeHey said. “His hat kept flying off on the railroad, so she designed a hat with the flaps that would cover his ears and tie down. They’ve really expanded into a lot of cute colors and styles.”

Regarding the shop-local movement, VanDeHey said she understands the convenience of online shopping for certain items and tries to stay competitive with prices where possible, but points out the value communities get from their local businesses.

“Amazon and Walmart aren’t necessarily going to be investing in your kids’ Little League team, your different trail development programs,” she said. “The CEOs don’t live and work here, so they don’t know what our individual needs are and can contribute to or support those different initiatives.”

Carol Knauf, owner at Rae Baxter’s Fashions in downtown Marshfield, said the difference between a brick-and-mortar store and shopping online is personalized service.

“We really work with our customers — we aren’t here just to sell them,” she said. “We really want them to walk out of here feeling good about what they have, knowing that people look at them and wonder where they bought it from, and maybe ask them. So we’re very honest with them about what looks good and what doesn’t look good, and also makes sure it fits.”

At Rae Baxter’s, gift certificates are especially popular this time of year, plus sweaters, tops, socks, and slippers. Animal prints are a big trend.

The store carries three types of quality socks this winter: Alpaca, Solmate, and Ozone. “Solmate is made of recycled cotton in the U.S., and they have the same colors but each sock is different in pattern,” said Knauf. “Alpaca socks are popular. They’re as warm as wool, but they don’t itch.”

Kozikicks, a fleece-lined support slipper, keeps feet warm without making them sweat, she said.

Rae Baxter’s has introduced two popular lines of jewelry this fall. One is sustainable Tagua jewelry handcrafted from a palm tree nut native to the tropical rainforests of Ecuador. A second is jewelry made from resin, which produces vibrant colors.

For more local gift ideas, browse the 2019 Explore Holiday Guide available at this link.