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Buying Local Week 2

For Week 2 of my shopping adventures, I traveled to the Eskridge area. There seems to be a common theme across this county. You never run out of places to visit!

Karaline Mayer

Bluestem Breezes

November 14, 2011


Buying Local


For Week 2 of my shopping adventures, I traveled to the Eskridge area. There seems to be a common theme across this county. You never run out of places to visit!


No, I am not kidding. For every person I tell about this project, they list off somewhere between three and ten businesses as suggestions for future stops. It is amazing what we as Wabaunsee County residents do not realize is here at our fingertips.


As a quick recap of our purpose here, the Wabaunsee County Economic Development Council is challenging residents to purchase Christmas gifts (one or more!) locally. Hence, the recurring column title “Buying Local”.


While there are many types of presents you are not able to purchase from local merchants, there is a vast variety of gifts you may not even know exist here.


Each week, I’ll highlight a few local merchants to hopefully give you more shopping ideas (and save a few miles of that expensive gasoline). And, if you’re a local merchant and would like to be included, please contact me.


My first stop in the Eskridge area was to a craft shop I had heard a lot about through 4-Hers: Debbie’s Craft Creations.


I have on display in my office an absolutely beautiful ceramic art piece of a cowgirl that looks like a bronze. If I knew much about ceramics, I could maybe give you a more educated explanation. What I do know, however, is that Debbie taught this 4-Her for years and her students are wonderful examples of the talent occurring in that shop.


Debbie is able to bring life to these ceramic pieces and they are breathtaking. She takes great pride in providing high quality products sold at low, affordable prices. In addition to ceramics, she designs wreaths and is a seamstress. For young children who love to play dress up, there is a beautiful princess dress to take a peak at.


Now, if you have as much ceramics experience as me, you may also be interested in knowing that she offers classes on Mondays. So, if you like making your own Christmas gifts this may be an excellent option. And in case you are interested in knowing, there is a cowboy that would complete the bronze-looking set in my office…..


I have heard gossip that the Eskridge Lumber Company is quite the asset for our community! Rumor has it their prices are better than many big box stores when it comes to lumber, and they are able to special order many items like windows and doors.


I decided to visit for some first-hand experience. It was loaded wall to wall with everything you need to remodel any room in your house. I love to paint, so my eyes wandered there quickly. If you need to spruce up a room before those in-laws arrive, make a stop here. There is quite the paint selection, along with all the supplies you’ll need.


I also verified that gift certificates are a hot item! They make great stocking stuffers and gifts for newlyweds.


After you finish painting the dining room, I suggest completing your décor with an alpaca rug from Alpacas of Wildcat Hollow.


Ed and Marta Howe opened a shop in their barn called “The Last Stall” and what a neat and cozy place to visit! They raise alpacas and will definitely welcome you to the operation. Alpacas are new to me, so this was really an education.


The kids would love a visit to meet the alpacas! Truly, the alpacas are great with children. And, the gift shop will surely complete shopping for your kids this year: socks, scarves, hats, gloves, headbands, and more. Visit for more information.


Next week, we’ll head toward the northwestern portion of the county for applesauce and steaks served on a custom made dining room table. Our scouting team consists of Bud Hund (Paxico), Ed Howe (Eskridge), and this column’s writer. We look forward to hearing your comments, shopping suggestions, and sharing a taste of Wabaunsee County with you each week.


Businesses and brand names appearing in this publication are for product identification purposes only. No endorsement is intended, nor is criticism implied of similar products not mentioned. For more Wabaunsee County information, visit the Extension Office (215 Kansas, Courthouse, Alma;; 765-3821) or the Economic Development Office (3rd & Missouri, Alma;; 765-4655). For Bluestem Breezes archives, check out