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Business going well at Main Street Thrift Buzzarr

T-R PHOTOS BY LANA BRADSTREAM
Shirley Wenner is the co-owner of Main Street Thrifty Buzzarr. She crochets a variety of items and sells them in the store and is enjoying the increased foot traffic that has come through the doors since the business opened in its location in October.

Business has never been better for Main Street Thrifty Buzzarr.

Two months after co-owners Wendy Siefken and Shirley Wenner opened the door to their business at 122 E. Main St., they wanted to observe Black Friday. Wenner offered customers 50 percent off of crochet items and Siefken offered 50 percent off of used books.

“This place has exceeded our expectations,” Siefken said. “Our visibility is much better. People are finding us. They drive by and see our window.”

Not only is the business doing well enough to observe Black Friday, but the amount of traffic they received from the Nov. 23 Holiday Stroll blew them away.

“We had some 600 people here,” Siefken said. “We ran out of cookies, fudge and pretzels.”

T-R PHOTO BY LANA BRADSTREAM
Wendy Siefken spends a lot of time organizing books that she sells in Main Street Thrifty Buzzarr. She is preparing a grand opening for the store on Feb. 15.

The Main Street store front is not the first location for the business. Prior to Oct. 1, it was located on Linn Street. Siefken said the business outgrew it. Now, enough people are walking through the doors to where not only Black Friday deals can be offered, but flash sales as well.

“I can offer 10-cent deals on Danielle Steele books or cookbooks for 20 minutes,” Siefken said.

Wenner and Siefken plan on hosting a grand opening event at Main Street Thrifty Buzzarr on Feb. 15.

While Siefken sells the books, Wenner sews and sells a variety of crochet items — everything from hats and blankets. She was even asked to make some ankle scarves. Yes, ankle scarves — itty bitty scarves intended to be worn around ankles rather than necks.

“I can make almost anything,” Wenner said. “I have donated thousands of things to the Iowa City Children’s Hospital – hats, blankets, prayer shawls.”

Wenner had a cancer scare a couple years ago and was treated at the Iowa City hospital. Making blankets and more for patients is her way of giving back.

Siefken not only sells books, but she will also buy them from people and repair them as well.

She also likes to highlight independent Midwest authors. Siefken has books from authors in Marshalltown, Des Moines, elsewhere in Iowa, Wisconsin and more.

In fact, that is why she wanted to open a store. Siefken and her son, Charles, wrote some books and self-published them. Many book retailers will not accept self-published authors, so by opening a store that also catered to self-published authors, Siefken would have a location people could go to purchase the “Kai’s Journey” novels.

Also within the walls of Main Street Thrifty Buzzarr are other vendors selling hand-painted mandala records, Paparazzi jewelry, knick knacks, steampunk items and more.

Hours the Main Street store is open are:

• 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday

• 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Friday and Saturday

• Noon to 4 p.m., Sunday.