Ready for the holidays

Local businesses expect more shoppers as year’s end approaches

The “holiday season” threshold was crossed earlier this week with Halloween celebrations, and now many Central Iowans, including small business owners, are looking ahead to the next few months.

“You always expect to have an increase during that time; people are out shopping for gifts,” said Willard’s Furs and Fashion owner Jonathan Hull. “Between the holiday shopping and the change of season, yeah, we’ll see some good shopping happening.”

Another downtown business owner, Lanesa Webber of Create-A-Keepsake, also said she’s expecting more customers in the next several weeks.

“It’s starting now, but through November and December are really my busiest months,” she said. “I also have a lot of Christmas ornaments and decorations.”

With former Marshalltown Mall General Manager Ken Huge recently retired, mall spokesman Scott Wacha said there is plenty for customers to shop for this holiday season.

“There are the anchor stores, J.C. Penney and Younkers,” he said. “There are gift shops; there’s Liberty Gifts and Charmed by Kim where you make your own jewelry.”

Wacha also said Younkers is set to be open 11 a.m. on Thanksgiving Thursday for early Black Friday shoppers.

“We don’t hold the smaller stores to it, simply for staffing, but the mall itself will be open,” he added.

Hull said Willard’s, which carries items like coats, jackets, sweaters, fur accessories and similar products, has unique items for prospective customers.

“It keeps us in business so we can offer our products and service to the town here,” he said. “It allows us to pay our property taxes, which go back into the community, and salaries of people who live here.”

Marshalltown Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Lynn Olberding said it’s important that Marshalltown residents shop as much as possible in town.

“We highly encourage people to make those purchases locally,” she said. “Not only large purchases for the holiday season, but things like your groceries, too.”

Olberding said small, local businesses use their earnings on keeping their businesses going and growing.

“By spending your money in town, that investment in a small business is then reinvested; that allows that small business owner to pay their employees, maybe make improvements in their business,” she said. “It’s not only important because you’re supporting a small business, but those are people who are also supporting our school district, they are paying taxes for our police department and fire department, they’re paying property tax.”

Olberding said the Chamber encourages Marshalltown residents to opt for products and services available locally, rather than going outside the community.

“Those are our neighbors and they are our friends, and they are people who are paying back and giving back to the community,” she said.

For more information on Marshalltown businesses, visit


Contact Adam Sodders at (641) 753-6611 or