Valley gift shops ready for Christmas rush

Carson Valley residents don't need to drive far to find presents this holiday season, not with gift shops aplenty in downtown Gardnerville and Minden.

Just ask Roxanne Stangle, owner of Tumblewind Antiques & Collectibles on Esmeralda Avenue, who was in her store Wednesday morning.

"Over the last couple of years, more and more people have been shopping for Christmas presents here," said Stangle, who has been in business for 22 years, first as a clothing store. "People are becoming very nostalgic, wanting to get back to Grandpa and Grandma, to slower times, trying to find those happy times. When you walk through this store, it's hard not to smile."

For example, Stangle said, customers have been buying antique baking items, old cookie cutters and Pyrex dishes.

"It's the same thing Mom used, or Grandma used," she said.

Tumblewind's 4,000-square-foot space houses 22 dealers, displaying everything from rhinestone jewelry to European furniture.

"We have the old, the new and the in-between," Stangle said. "We sold a lot of linens last week, and candles and nightlights. People are buying smaller things now, little items, not the bigger things they were buying a couple of years ago. I think it's because it costs less money and less in shipping, especially if you are shipping to family on the East Coast."

But shoppers at Tumblewind will find gift ideas both big and small. A short list includes handmade kitchen towels, pot holders and aprons, antique tables and nightstands, pictures, paintings, gaming memorabilia, Coca-Cola memorabilia, western yard art, pottery, china, books, baseball mitts, tennis rackets and other sporting collectibles, not to mention a Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers silver record.

"I'm in here every day, and I always see stuff I haven't seen before, just when I think I got a good handle on it," Stangle said. "But that's the business; it's never the same."

Stangle herself collects Disney memorabilia.

"If you name it, I have it," she said. "I'm terribly nostalgic. I think one of the reasons people love stores like this, too, is that they can negotiate prices, which they can't do at a Macy's or Target or Walmart."

While Stangle was busy preparing for the holiday crunch, Country Carousel owner Sandy Anderson was opening up her gift shop on the other side of town in Gardnerville.

"I think we'll start getting people in here this weekend who are visiting, though I think a lot of people will hold off for a couple of weeks and do their shopping at the last minute when they see what their finances are," said Anderson, who is also a board member of the Main Street Gardnerville revitalization organization. "But I am seeing people coming in, and the sale banner out front helps. It also helps if you decorate up front."

Anderson has spent every day for the better part of a week decorating the exterior of her store with lights, snowflakes, wreaths and trees, among other things.

"I used to go up on the roof, but I'm not doing that anymore," she said. "When all of us downtown are decorating it makes the area user-friendly for everyone. We want people to come downtown and see all the stores."

Anderson is preparing to celebrate her store's 15th anniversary in the 100-year-old building she owns with her husband Jim.

"It's been interesting," she said. "Things are changing."

One thing that hasn't changed in 13 years, though, is the roughly 300-square-foot section of the store dedicated exclusively to Christmas items.

"I just didn't want to pack it all up," Anderson joked. "But people do buy Christmas stuff year-round."

In that corner of the store, customers will find sweaters, scarves, pajamas and robes, stockings, candles, snow-globes and figurines (including wooden German nutcrackers and smokers) and, of course, ornaments.

"We have walls of ornaments," Anderson said.

In the main part of the store, Anderson pointed out popular gift items such as copper and stainless-steel clocks from Arizona, marquetry pictures and jewelry boxes from Colorado, gourmet teas, hot sauces and seasoning, bath products and stationery, Franz porcelain jewelry and Mark Roberts ceramic fairies.

"We have a lot of items for both men and women," Anderson said.

Country Carousel is located at 1420 Highway 395. Holiday business hours are 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Call 782-8178 for more information.

Tumblewind is located at 1600 Esmeralda Avenue. Their business hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. For more information, call 782-2444.

Each year, Stangle helps organize the Minden Fest German Weihnachts Festival Dec. 4-6 on Fifth Street, in conjunction with the gazebo lighting and Parade of Lights. Shop the marketplace Dec. 4 from noon to 8 p.m., Dec. 5 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Dec. 6 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.


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