It’s time for the third and final part of our holiday series, the Holiday Wrap-Up. If you are doing some last-minute planning or shopping this season, don’t worry – we know some great local businesses that can help you cross off everything on your to-do list!
Here at Strictly Business, we strongly encourage you to shop local. Let’s look at why it matters, and how it makes a difference. According to the Andersonville Study of Retail Economics, for every $100 you spend at a locally owned business, $68 will stay in the community compared to $43 if you were to spend it at a national chain. Local businesses also create jobs for the community and studies have shown that they donate to nonprofits and charities at more than twice the rate of national chains. Local stores also offer unique product selections that cater to the community’s wants and likes.
There are many businesses in Lincoln that offer fabulous holiday gifts for all of your family and friends, and others that can help you prepare for the holiday festivities. We’ve spoken to just a handful of the amazing small businesses here in our community, and here is what they have to say!
Last-Minute Holiday Gifts
Clothes are always a fun gift to receive for the holidays, so shop for the special lady in your life at Charm Boutique & Bar (charmchix.com). Yes, you read that right – it’s a clothing store with a bar! When you visit Charm, the only boutique in the city that has a full bar, you can sip ‘n’ shop any week on Tuesday – Saturday. Charm offers much more than just clothes – their products include accessories, candles, BruMate and SIC drink cups, purses, shoes, bags, and hair accessories. This is also a great opportunity to give the gift of a gift card, and treat a close friend or family member to a shopping spree complete with drinks!
“We also offer private party rental space,” added Owner Lindsey Tederman. “Book a holiday party with us where you can sip and shop with your friends, and have the store to yourselves! We offer a unique party setting where the fun of shopping and drinking can be combined. Men are always welcome, and we are in the process of getting a television in the store, too. Bring your own food and we can provide the drinks, the music, the shopping, and the atmosphere!”
A great last-minute gift that you can never go wrong with is jewelry. Jewelry offers a vast array of ways you can tell that special person in your life that you appreciate them, but if you are unsure of what that special person would like, the experts at Sartor Hamann Jewelers (sartorhamann.com) can help you make the right selection.
“The holidays are fast approaching and Sartor Hamann has fine jewelry for all occasions and every budget,” said Anna Alcalde, sales and marketing director. “Our knowledgeable staff will help you select the perfect gift, and we’ll even gift wrap it for no extra charge. Whether it’s the holidays or you are getting engaged, celebrating an anniversary, need custom work or jewelry repair, we want to be your local jeweler.”
When purchasing jewelry, be sure to visit your local jewelers rather than buying something online. Not only are you supporting a local business, but jewelry can be a big purchase – financially and emotionally – so viewing the piece in person is important.
“Buy local, if possible,” Anna advised. “Purchasing jewelry online can be frustrating because you can’t tell the quality or size from a computer screen. You may then fi nd yourself returning it and starting all over. Jewelry is a personal item, so you need to see and touch to determine the quality. Due to our wide selection of name brand lines, we may already have your ideal gift in one of our stores. If not, we can typically order it or make it for you, and you can choose all the details. Our trained staff will guide you through the process, even probing with special questions to get the perfect gift for that special person.”
We also heard from Ann Ringlein, owner of Lincoln Running Co. (lincrunningcompany.com), about some great last-minute gifts for the active runner in your life that you can find right in her store.
“Running socks are a must for every runner,” Ann said. “If you love your runner and want to keep them safe, headlamps and blinking lights are the way to go. We are also approaching the season where there will be ice, so YakTrax – which help keep traction on ice – are extremely sensible and necessary. Lastly, we offer the widest selection of running apparel, so pick up some running gear that will be useful in the winter!”
Ann also shared a story with us that was a great reminder of why it is important to shop local. There are many reasons, but a big one is that these local stores know their customers and have a relationship with them that big box stores do not.
“Last year, we had a customer that had already left town for their holiday get together, but an order they had placed showed up at the store after they were gone,” said Ann. “We were able to find someone who was heading to that town for their own holiday gathering, and they took the package to be delivered to the customer. Everyone was happy, and had a great story to share!”
Sweet treats a great option for holiday gift shopping. They make fabulous stocking stuffers, wonderfully accent or act as a centerpiece for a gift basket, and everyone loves sinking their teeth into chocolate confections. Shop for the sweet-tooth in your life at Lulubee Artisanal Chocolates (lulubeechocolates.com)!
“To make gift-giving even easier,” shared Owner and Chocolatier Gaylene Steinbach, “we’ll take care of the details. From packaging and shipping or delivering, our team will make sure everything’s perfect for everyone on your list.”
Each season, Gaylene develops a collection of seasonal flavors for Lulubee’s signature bonbons. This year’s Holiday Collection of small-batch bonbons consists of: Sticky Bun, a lightly spiced ganache topped with toasted pecans followed by soft, cinnamon caramel; Cranberry Orange, a bright handmade cranberry jelly topping a vibrant orange and dark chocolate ganache for the perfect sweet–tart combination; Hot Chocolate, a milk chocolate, lightly spiced ganache topped with a handmade vanilla bean marshmallow; Peppermint Crunch, fresh mint leaves infused in cream as the base of a rich ganache, topped with crunchy bits of peppermint candy to make a refreshing bonbon; and Pistachio, house-ground pistachios mixed with white chocolate and a sprinkle of fleur de sel salt to bring out the essence of fresh pistachios.
Other seasonal treats you can fi nd at Lulubee include Cocoa Bombs, which create rich sipping chocolate when hot water or milk is poured over; Peppermint Bark, swirls of dark and white chocolate covered in crunchy bits of peppermint candy; melt-in-the-mouth English Toffee, your choices being pecans with dark chocolate or almonds with milk chocolate; Caramels, available in seven flavors including vanilla, passion fruit, and cardamom; and Turtles, a seasonal favorite filled with locally sourced, freshly roasted pecans and Lulubee’s signature, vanilla-flecked caramel, and then drench in milk or dark chocolate.
If you are last-minute shopping for the adults in your life, gift them a bottle of wine from James Arthur Vineyards (JAV jamesarthurvineyards.com). Grown and produced right here in Nebraska, they offer the finest table wines, from barrel-aged dry reds to sweet, crisp whites to delicious dessert wines and everything in between. One of the best parts about the gift of JAV wine is not only are you shopping local, but your family member or friend can easily purchase more after they taste the delight that JAV pours into each bottle.
JAV also offers Curveball, their line of hard ciders. Curveball is made from only the fi nest apples, and they’ve hit this one out-of-the-park with their line-up of great flavors. Curveball Ciders pay homage to the timeless game of hard ball, with names such as Grand slam, Double Play, Walk-Off, and Knuckleball. Baseball season may be over for the players, but it can keep going for the fans by cracking open a can of JAV’s refreshing hard cider.
Take your holiday festivities on the road by renting a party bus from Tailored Dreams Party Buses (tailoreddreamslimousines.com). They have several buses in their fleet to fit your guest list, with their largest party bus having a capacity of 45 people! Locally-owned by Tyler and DeeDee Loomis, Tailored Dreams’ friendly drivers make all the difference. Passengers can feel safe and welcome when working with Tailored Dreams.
“We can take your group around town or from one spot to the next in one of our six decked-out limousine-style party buses,” shared DeeDee. “Turn up the holiday tunes on our Bluetooth sound system and rock out under the LED lights!”
One of the things that make Tailored Dreams unique in this industry is that they are the only party bus company in the area that has handicap accessible buses in their fleet. They’ve thought of everything in order to create a custom driving experience at an economical price. Tailored Dreams will work with you and your guests to make sure everyone has a great time. Don’t hesitate to call them – reservations book up quickly!
Another great venue to host your holiday party is at Tomahawks Axe Throwing (tomahawkslnk.com). Treat your guests to a unique experience that they will be talking about for months! Tomahawks features several axe throwing lanes to accommodate your entire group, as well as a bar stocked full with all your favorite beers, hard ciders, and seltzers.
“Axe throwing is all about technique, not strength, and it is great for everyone,” shared Shane Kearns, co-owner. “Safety is our number one priority at Tomahawks. All axe throwing is supervised by our Tomahawks axe throwing coaches and takes place in our purpose-built facility in dedicated throwing lanes.”
Tomahawks also offers gift cards, so even if you aren’t looking to throw a party, a gift card for axe throwing is a great gift idea for anyone on your list!
Is it really a big holiday dinner if there’s not homemade pie? If you aren’t much of a baker, don’t worry – order from the famous pie selection at Stauffer’s Cafe & Pie Shoppe (staufferscafe.com). The owners of Stauffer’s recently opened up a bakery just a few doors down to sell these delicious pies, called Sasquatch American Baked Goodness.
“All of Stauffer’s amazing pies can be found at Sasquatch, as well as the cookies you can find at Honest Abe’s,” shared Marketing Director Bryan Marine. “These are available every day but Sunday, when we are closed. You can call Sasquatch and place custom order pies for the holidays, which we highly recommend as those spaces are filling up fast!”
Stauffer’s and Sasquatch’s pies are award winning and recognized nationally for their quality. They come in more than 60 delicious flavors – including sugar-free options – and are all made from scratch. Taste classics like Apple, Peach, Cherry, and Pumpkin, or try some of their fun combinations like Caramel Pecan Cheesecake, Peanut Butter Banana, and Sour Cream Raisin.
“We are a restaurant, so I wouldn’t say we are unique, but what we are is reliable,” said Bryan. “We’ve been in business for 25 years and are still going strong. Like everyone else, we were hit pretty hard because of COVID, but came out of it quicker than a lot of other restaurants thanks to our loyal following. We take pride in our ‘from scratch’ cooking and a full dining proves our guests agree. Our food may not be unique, but it is delicious, affordable, and filling.”
Gift cards are available for purchase, and they come in both physical and digital versions that are customizable to the amount you would like to put on them. These cards will work at both Stauffer’s Cafe and Sasquatch Bakery, so you don’t need to buy separate cards. They are great as stocking stuffers and last-minute purchases!
“Wow” your guests during your holiday dinner by serving them a honey-baked spiral ham from Country Sliced Ham (countryslicedhamandcafe.com)! For over 35 years, they have been offering mouth-watering ham fully-cooked and ready to serve. Their hams are gluten-free and low-sodium, are processed daily for freshness, use locally sourced honey, and range in sizes from six to 20 pounds so that you can be sure every guest is well-fed. Order yours today to ensure your guests have one of the tastiest holiday dinners they’ve ever experienced!
Delicious desserts are a staple of holiday parties, so make sure you order yours from Nothing Bundt Cakes to give your guests treats so good, there won’t be any left over. They offer several different cake sizes, as well as Bundtinis, or bite-sized bundt cakes, available by the dozen. Nothing Bundt Cakes (nothingbundtcakes.com) can also help you create memorable gifts that tell your clients, customers, and employees how special they are. They can even make your gifts extra special with your logo printed on the sentiment flag and a special note on the message card. Nothing Bundt Cakes has something for every budget! You can choose from decorated cakes, Bundtlet Towers, and other one-of-a-kind gifts, starting at around $10.
If You Have a Furry Friend
Do you have a furry friend that can’t travel with you for the holidays? Give Kenl Inn (kenl-inn.com) a call. They can keep your dog, cat, or other pet safe
and cozy while you are away.
“Our dog lodging area is an all-indoor facility,” explained Manager Dian Quist. “Your dog is given individual attention each day at morning, noon, and night when they are taken out for their potty breaks, and those extra rubs on the head and kind words that help your dog feel more at home. We have three overnight accommodation buildings, The Club House, the West Wing, and our Executive Suites.”
Kenl Inn also has Kitty Condos that are complete with cat nappers, pillows, blankets, and shelves to climb and snooze on, all designed with the comfort and safety of your cat in mind. The solarium room is well ventilated with central heat and air conditioning, as well as large windows overlooking the countryside.
“In addition to lodging cats and dogs,” Dian added, “we normally have a few birds, rodents, or reptiles staying with us. If they are a part of your family, they can be a part of ours!”
Kenl Inn also provides daycare, grooming, and training, so if you have a pet-owner friend in your life, a gift certificate for one of their services makes for a great last-minute gift idea. They even carry a variety of pet products, including food, grooming tools, toys, and treats, so you can put something under the tree for your fur baby, too!
“Grooming is our number one service during the holidays because everyone wants their pets to be clean for the occasion,” said Dian. “We have a full-service grooming salon, which means we trim, file, and paint toenails (if you want), bathe dogs and cats, and our stylists do haircuts—anything from a light trim to a complete style. It’s fun for customers and our staff to include a festive bandana, bow, or bow tie with grooming, and if you want your pets’ accessory to match their holiday outfits, just let us know!”
If you are gift shopping, party planning, or holiday prepping at the last-minute, we recommend checking out these local businesses to help you get through the holidays with ease. This is also a great time to show your support for the local businesses that support you and the community!