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Holiday expo is shopper’s paradise
The perfect blend of shoppers, vendors and pre-Christmas spirit filled the Tri-City United High School Commons Area for first “Home for the Holidays Expo” on Saturday, Dec. 3.
A total of 59 vendors made the day a “One-Stop Shopping” for those looking to purchase gifts and cross off names from shopping lists. Vendors featured wood products, handmade jewelry, soaps, blankets, quilts, jams and jellies, spices, decorations, vitamins, cake pops and cake push-ups, among others. If you got hungry, TCU Softball Coach Carol Lilla and her team were selling hotdogs and food for the shoppers.
Local Avon representative Debbie Athey organized the massive event, sort of as a way to help her own business.
“It started out with wanting to have an Avon open house in my house. Then I thought I’d have to clean my house, so I thought this might be easier!” she said with a laugh.
Athey said the vendor turnout was fantastic. She had 59 vendors that filled the commons area, as well as filled the connecting hallways of the new school building. She added if she were able to use the gymnasium, she would have doubled that number. Vendors came from Minneapolis, Gibbon, Blooming Prairie, North Mankato, Moorhead, Le Sueur, Le Center, Montgomery and Cleveland.
The expo was well organized. Athey and her daughter Amber, helped organized the vendors based on their needs. Vendors who needed electricity were near electrical outlets, and competing vendors were away from each other.
“I’ve never organized anything like this,” she said. “Amber was a big help.”
While it attracted vendors, it also attracted hundreds of shoppers, one from across the country. Jennifer Ackman of Boston, had been planning a trip home to see her mother, Linda (Koteck) Ackman of Faribault. When she heard of the expo, she made sure to arrange her flight so she could attend the expo.
“I was coming home when she emailed me about the expo, so I planned my trip around that,” Jennifer said. “I wanted to make sure I came to this.”
Linda, who is also Athey’s cousin, said the expo was, “very, very nice.”
The expo lasted from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and brought a lot of people to town, something Athey was ultimately hoping for.
“I hope it generated some business back home, and I hoped it would bring people back home. That’s why I named it ‘Home for the Holidays’.”