Thinking “Close to Home”

Thinking “Close to Home”

by: Gretchen Schempp,Body Care/Books & Gifts  Buyer

I often think to myself, I have to be one of the luckiest people in the world.  I live in the most beautiful and peaceful place I know.  I have access to great food, I am surrounded by engaged, caring, interesting and talented people, and I have a job that keeps me learning, is fulfilling and serves  my  community.
One of the best things about my job is working with local and regional producers and artists.  Here are the local and regional companies  you can find within the shelves of the Wellness section, along with their location of business and product selection.
Aura Cacia:  Norway, Iowa.  Essential Oils, body oils, bath salts, bulk products.  All things aromatherapy.
Nice Suds Soap Company:   Decorah, Iowa.  Carole Daughton’s  soaps are a best seller in our store and boast all-natural ingredients.  A  variety of scents, sizes and designs can be found.  Carole cures her soaps so that they are longer lasting.
Lynn Staley Originals:  Cresco, Iowa.  Natural essential oil scented soap.
Linden Soaps:  Durango, Iowa.  Bulk slice your own soap.  Naturally scented, botanically colored.  Ronald and Kelly Lindblom, creators of Linden Soaps, are constantly producing loaves of their lovely soap and  even make the soap cutters in their workshop just North of Dubuque.
Eco Lips:  Cedar Rapids, Iowa.  Organic lip balms.  I had the pleasure of trying Andrea and Steve’s organic lip balms back in 1997 when they would bring it to the store I worked at in Iowa City.  Now you can find Eco Lips nationwide!

Four Elements:  North Freedom, Wisconsin.  Four Elements  is located on a 130-acre farm set in the Baraboo Bluffs.  They have been certified organic since 1991, and established in 1987.  All products are created and packaged  by local women in their renovated dairy barn, certified by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture as a commercial kitchen.  Look for lovely infused massage and body oils and balms in our store.

Veriditas Botanicals:  Minneapolis, Minnesota.  Wonderful organic, therapeutic-grade essential oils, flower waters and wellness formulas.

Party in My Pants: Ashland, Wisconsin. “Cloth pads for the princess on her period.”  Lydia and Luci Daum create functional and adorable lined reusable pads for menstruation and incontinence.  They also offer nursing pads, which are cleverly named “Honeysuckles”.   Also super-soft sleep masks in cute and funky patterns and oilcloth pouches perfect for makeup or loose change.

Sunleaf Naturals:  Waconia, Minnesota.   Sunleaf Natural’s commitment is to natural, clean, green and joy.  They use all plant derived ingredients, never any harmful preservatives or synthetics, packaging is minimal, compostable with fresh uplifting scents.  Look for Sunleaf candles, shampoo bars, body bars and green shave bar.  No plastic packaging, ever!

In our gift section you will find more items that are locally handcrafted by talented people.  Many of these folks work with me on a consignment basis.  This is great for the Co-op because we are able to showcase more items and more artist’s handicrafts by utilizing this system.  The artists also get exposure to a wide range of shoppers.  Here are the local artists we are featuring right now and what they have to offer.
Angie Amsbaugh’s precious gemstone earrings.  Cresco, Iowa.
Emil Moorbeck’s  “Nature of Things”  handblown glass pendants and vessels.  Decorah, Iowa.
Elyse Hawthorn’s Simple Silks.   Waldorf inspired childrens toy intended for imaginative play.   Hand dyed 100% silk.  Decorah, Iowa.
Gabi Masek’s Cuddly Critters.  Hand stitched stuffed toys and quilts.  Decorah, Iowa.
Matthew Alexander of Other World Arts.  World Tree design T-shirts.
Aaron Bodling Photography.  Nature and architectural photographs.  Decorah, Iowa.
Rebecca  Splittstoesser Handmade shopping bags.  Rebecca  brings these bags to us from Caledonia, Minnesota where they are made.  All proceeds go to supporting  the persons with disabilities who create them.
Seed Savers Exchange.  Seeds.  Decorah, Iowa.
Locally Grown Clothing.  Kelsey Byus started selling “Locally Grown”  T-shirts  at the Des Moines Farmer’s Market a few years ago.  The response was great and the message  of sustainability and buy local resonated with so many people.  All materials are USA sourced and manufactured.  We  have “Grass Fed,” “Locavore,” “Urban Farmer” and “Grown Locally” shirts, baby onesies, hats and sweatshirts.
Local Authors
The Divine Rhubarb Committee (Nancy Martinson, Jennifer Wood, Heidi Dybing, Mary BellEverything Rhubarb
Jeffery SkeateFamiliar World
Robert WolfEating in Place, and Heartland Portrait
Monique Jamet HookerCooking with the Seasons
Jeanne MeyerFamily Cookbook
Robert FeldeLife at the Crossroads
David AndersonBoats, Ships and a Raft
Local Musician’s Recordings
Footnotes (Beth Rotto, Jim Skurdal, Jon Rotto and Bill Musser)
Contratopia (Erik Sessions, John Goodin, Pat O-Loughlin, Patrice Pakiz)
Amalia Vagts
Local Greeting Card Producers
Alison Dwyer , Carl Homstad, Carol Bentley-Iverson, Alisha Duckett and Kevin Fitzgerald.
Regional Greeting Card Producer
Alisha Duckett
 I would like to thank all of our local artists, authors and producers for the great work that you do.  It is a pleasure to work with you.