Shop Small This Holiday Season: Your Local Gift Guide

Here it is….the holiday shopping season is officially upon us!

Winterset is a wonderful place, and this is an especially appropriate time to be reminded of the power we have to preserve our prosperous, historic, and unique community. How do we do this? It’s simple: Patronize local businesses.

My father was a small-town community banker in northwest Missouri. When I was younger, I remember a particular admonishment my mother received in the early-1980s when she marched in the house carrying sacks of goodies from Wal-Mart. Dad said, “What are you doing? You can’t shop there! Go uptown and get Christmas presents from the merchants around the square!” I’ll never forget it. For a kid who thought a trip to Wal-Mart was kind of fun…well, it opened my eyes.

In the past, I have enjoyed going to larger markets, malls, and other towns to shop. Sometimes, I’ve appreciated the convenience of online shopping. But certainly since I have taken on the role of Executive Director of the Madison County Chamber of Commerce, it’s been particularly important to me to do as much of my shopping as possible here in my own community.

It’s easy to walk into the Gap and buy sweaters in assorted sizes and colors for family members. But wouldn’t a wine tasting, dance, knitting or art class make a memorable gift for your aunt, sister or niece? There are businesses here in Winterset ready to help you with that! How about taking an outdated, yet special, piece of jewelry or heirloom to a local artist to repurpose it into something special and wearable?

We have artistic florists, creative t-shirt and apparel designers, and talented photographers who would love to take your inspiration and turn it into a personalized gift. Do you have relatives visiting from faraway places? A gift that represents Madison County is perfect! Our Welcome Center is full of Madison County-themed gifts, and many of our local merchants carry items crafted by local artisans. Plus, a shopping trip into the beautifully-decorated stores around our picturesque town square is fun. Friendly merchants, easy parking, and terrific customer service – you can’t get that at the mall!

Don’t forget our area wineries. Who wouldn’t love a bottle (or case) of an award-winning red or white wine from Covered Bridges Winery, Madison County Winery, or Two Saints Winery, produced from grapes grown right here in Madison County. Our bakeries and restaurants, who churn out daily deliciousness, offer gift certificates that make a visit to Winterset fun and memorable.

Wow, friends…we’ve got it all! What if everyone did the majority of his or her holiday shopping in Winterset this year? Imagine the impact that would have and the message that would send!

For a list of Shopping & Specialty Retail members, visit

Heather Riley

Executive Director, Madison County Chamber of Commerce