Holiday Expo in Pine Island supports Small Business Saturday

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ROCHESTER – The annual Holiday Expo at Pine Island gave shoppers a chance to shop for small businesses Saturday.

The holiday exhibit, now in its third year, is organized by the Pine Island American Legion Auxiliary and features 18 local vendors with a variety of items. The event was held by the Pine Island American Legion Post 184 in support of Small Business Saturday.

Small Business Saturday was founded by American Express in 2010 to encourage consumers to shop local. Before the Covid-19 outbreak, a similar event was held across the street at the school. That event was huge with vendors filling the gymnasium and cafeteria, but it didn’t resume after the pandemic.

Schumacher Woodworking and Sawing attended the Holiday Expo on November 25, 2023 in Pine Island, MN. Schumacher brought a variety of cutting boards, trays, chairs and more to sell at the Small Business Saturday event.

Sara Guymon / Post Bulletin

“Since Covid hit, they couldn’t get it for two years, and then they decided they weren’t going to do it anymore,” said Linda Kelly, a member of the Pine Island American Legion Auxiliary. “So we thought we’d give those same sellers a place to have it. It is less, but this is our third year. It’s always a small town to shop after Black Friday. We had a great crowd today.

Six of the 18 presenters are from Pine Island. The others are from the area. The most distant seller was Carl Schumacher, a woodworker from Waterville, Minnesota.

Schumacher has been a woodworker for 30 years and started a small business called Schumacher Woodworking and Sawmilling. For the first time at this event, he brought serving trays, charcuterie boards, cutting boards and more.

Each of the pieces he makes are one-of-a-kind, especially his charcuterie boards and benches. Those are two of his favorite things to do, as he can take rotting or unusable wood and give it a purpose.

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Schumacher Woodworking and Sawing attended the Holiday Expo on November 25, 2023 in Pine Island, MN. Schumacher brought a variety of cutting boards, trays, chairs and more to sell at the Small Business Saturday event.

Sara Guymon / Post Bulletin

“The wood, I say, speaks to me,” Schumacher said. “He tells me what he wants. The things I like to use are special things. It can be something you throw away or burn.”

In addition to the woodwork, many vendors brought handmade items such as hats, headbands and stuffed animals.

Heather Gerdes has been modeling for over 20 years, but only started selling her wares two years ago. She used to give her work only as a gift but was encouraged by her friend to attend the event with her.

She made various items including gnomes and hats. Each of her hats takes about an hour to finish and her ear warmers take about 30 minutes.

“Business has been good,” Gerdes said. “There are a lot of customers who have been around and come out to help us.”

When choosing the vendors, the Pine Island American Legion Auxiliary wanted to make sure they had a wide variety of items for sale. Some vendors had handmade items and others were what Kelly called “home businesses” and sold items from Avon, Tupperware and Pampered Chef.

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Heather Gerdes has been modeling for over 20 years, but has recently started selling her work. Nov 25, 2023 She brought hats, headphones and more to sell at a holiday expo in Pine Island, MN.

Sara Guymon / Post Bulletin

“There aren’t many duplicates here,” Kelly said. “If you have one Tupperware distributor, you don’t want to let another Tupperware distributor come in, so try to keep them separate.”

One unique business at the Holiday Expo was Links and CO’s permanent fixture. Sara Bauer and Kaleigh Agrimson started this business from Zumbrota about a year and a half ago. Bauer and Agrimsen are cousins ​​and when they both decided to start the business together, they wanted to find something permanent.

“We thought we were learning and it was a way to spend time together,” said Agrimson. “It’s a great way to spend time together and get out and talk to people. My dad was a small business owner in the area for years so it’s good to support small businesses.

Bauer and Agrimson mostly get clients through word of mouth or social media. They want to be able to give people a way to stay connected to their business.

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Heather Gerdes has been modeling for over 20 years, but has recently started selling her work. Nov 25, 2023 She brought hats, headphones and more to sell at a holiday expo in Pine Island, MN.

Sara Guymon / Post Bulletin

“A couple of weekends ago, the sisters came (and) they all wanted to have friendship bracelets, and it was a way for them to bond together,” Agrimson said.

The Pine Island American Legion Auxiliary plans to continue hosting again next year.

Sara Guymon is a business reporter for The Post Bulletin. Guymon grew up in New Ulm, Minnesota. She graduated from New Ulm Public High School and attended college at the University of Minnesota, Duluth. While at UMD, Guymon majored in journalism and pursued a double minor in photography and international studies. Before coming to the Post Bulletin, she worked as a staff writer for the Brainerd Dispatch. There she covered the city of Baxter and business.





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