I can’t say it enough. Small towns have the BEST shopping. Forget your big malls and your big-box stores. Take a trip to “downtown in a small town” and it’s a given that you’ll find unique items and friendly, knowledgeable staff. Recently, I spent the weekend in Webster City, a small town of less than 8,000. Tucked away in northern Hamilton County, still easily accessible by Highway 20 from the east/west, and Interstate 35 from the north/south.
We got to spend some time browsing through the shops downtown, and I can’t wait to go back again!
Our first stop was to SOS Vintage. “SOS” stands for “Salvage & Old Stuff” and the name fits! Owner Denise Smith and her daughter were both working that morning. During our conversation, I experienced the most amazing “it’s a small world” moment of my life. Denise and I got to talking, and she asked where I was from.
Crazy fact #1: her parents are from the same tiny small town I currently live in (population 1,000). We kept talking, laughing about what a small world it was, and then comes crazy facts #2 and #3… Not only did Denise and I go to the same middle school (two years apart), but we also grew up blocks from each other.
Again, you never know who you’re going to meet in small town Iowa.
Denise’s story is an interesting one. The Director of the Webster City Chamber was trying to fill some empty storefronts in downtown, and happened to stumble onto one of Denise’s booths in another town. Falling in love with the items Denise was selling, she was invited to visit Webster City and look at available space for a business. Long story short, with the help of the Chamber and small business organizations, Denise was able to buy the building and open her own store in downtown Webster City.
Everything she displays in her store is loved and cared for, and almost everything has a story. I could have spent all day looking through the interesting items she had, as so many things reminded me of items my parents or grandparents used to have when I was a kid. I guess things from my childhood can officially be labeled as antique?
Located inside SOS Vintage is Timothy Morgan, who owns and operates a small area of the store called Good Works Leather. Tim makes the most beautiful handcrafted leather items.
Another stop was a tour and pottery demonstration at Maureen “Mo” Seamonds’ Produce Station Studio. Previously an old icehouse before it was a produce station and then a pottery studio, it still has ice pick holes in the walls and some of the old tools are hung around the shop/studio. All of the pottery is handcrafted, and most of it is dishwasher safe, and safe for food/drink.
Here’s a glimpse of Mo’s shop:
We also got an up-close and personal look at pottery being completed:
Interior Spaces – 631 2nd Street, Webster City. This is a gorgeous home furnishings store. I told the gal working there that I needed to hire them to come in and decorate my house, because I loved every single piece of furniture and decor they had. I ended up getting this bird lantern because I was infatuated by the color. I’m wanting to re-do my living room soon and I’m really drawn to the blues and browns mixed together. I’m sure when we are ready to begin the redecorating, Interior Spaces will be a place to stop.
Other stores we visited:
R Company Boutique – (Ready, Reliable & Recent) upscale resale store. While I didn’t take any photos, you should definitely stop here to look at their affordable resale clothing, purses, shoes and jewelry. I mean, where else can you find an authentic Coach purse in like new condition for around $100? Check them out– you’ll find something that will go home with you, for sure.
Webster City True Value – You can find just about anything you could possibly need at a small town True Value. And probably more you didn’t even know you needed!
Critter Nation – While we weren’t doing any shopping for pets, we did chat with the owner for a while. Very friendly and helpful.
If you’re in the mood for a road trip, Webster City’s Crazy Day Street Fair is coming up on July 23rd. It will offer sidewalk sales from downtown businesses, street vendors, food, music, and small town fun! And if you can’t make it on the 23rd, mark your calendar for “Ladies Night Out” coming October 20th!