Week 5!! I have a real treat for you today. If you love books like I do, you will love where I went to visit last week.
Again this week I visited a shop that is very unique to our area. I did a search and Hedgie's is the one and only book and gift store that I could find. Let's meet Sandy and do a tour of her store.
Sandy Schubert owns this creative little nook on mainstreet in Bedford. I had visited her store last year but didn't really visit with her much at the time so it was nice to really get to explore her store and get to know her better! In my head I was going to a book store but OH it is so much more than that! Books, gifts, games and toys fill the shelves. Wine and other Iowa made products here and there. I came home with a delicious jam made by Clear Creek Orchard in Collins, Iowa. "Peach Mango Habanero" was the kind and it's absolutely perfect with cream cheese and crackers. I'm telling you guys, you need that jam in your life!
Sandy and her husband Kevin aren’t Southwest Iowa natives but have come to call Bedford their home. How they found Bedford was really just a stroke of luck for all of us!
"My husband and I owned Lakewoods Resort, located in southern Missouri, on Bull Shoals Lake. When we decided to put our business up for sale, we decided we better get busy and find a place to live. Both Kevin and I had grown up in Northwest Iowa, so we decided we would like to be somewhere in the western third of Iowa. We began searching for acreages with a pond or some sort of water on the property. We also knew we wanted to live close to a small town as opposed to a larger city. I remember sitting on the back porch googling “acreages with a pond”, and a place in Bedford popped up. Neither of us had ever even heard of Bedford, but I got out the atlas (yes, I’m old) and we looked it up!"
That ‘meant to be’ story gets even better…
"It definitely fit in to our parameters for location and size of town. So, we made an appointment to look at it. We first went to look at the property, which we loved at first sight, then we drove through the town. Driving down Main Street on those beautiful historic red brick streets, it just felt like home! I could visualize my little store in this community, and began to put my plan into action in the fall of 2015. Ribbon cutting was planned for 1:00, Tuesday, September 29."
She mentioned how opening a store in a town where nobody knows you was scary. But she was going for her dream no matter what. Love that courage! And her fears were quickly put to rest…
“I cannot tell you the relief I had when the first customer actually opened the door! Then came the ribbon cutting and my store was packed full of people I had never seen before! Not only did they come for moral support, but they were all buying things! I will never forget that day for the rest of my life!
Customers were so great at sharing the news of Hedgie’s opening. I began to have people from surrounding communities! The support I felt then is still continued to this day. Small towns and businesses supporting each other is how we all succeed! We truly are better together!"
There we go!! That’s the big ticket ya’ll. She had awesome support coming from her town and the surrounding communities.
I was really impressed by the amount of fun educational toys and games that were all around us. When my kids were young I was always on the hunt for these types of games. We didn't exactly have money flowing out our ears so I wanted to get the best for my buck. Quality over quantity. Plus I like playing with my kids so I like a little fun too. I mean how many times a day do YOU want to play Gooey Louie... look it up if haven't heard of it!
Sandy is no stranger to educational things. She has a degree in early childhood/elementary education and was a teacher. So rest assured she can definitely guide you to just what you are looking for.
Even during her years of teaching she said she had always dreamed of opening a store like Hedgie’s. Her goal after leaving teaching was to still be involved with children and families somehow. She also saw that our rural areas are limited on options for quality books and toys.
“I began dreaming of what it would look like and what types of things I would carry. Jan Brett has always been one of my favorite children’s authors, she has written many popular books, such as The Mitten, The Hat, etc. Her books are filled with woodland creatures, and I really loved that little hedgehog in her books. So, Hedgie’s became the name for my fictional store!”
Ahhh so I see, I always wondered how the name Hedgie’s came about. If you know those Jan Brett stories you can easily see why. If you don’t know that author you really should check her out! A favorite in our house has always been “The Mitten”. Kids just love those little animals in that story!
Valentine's Day is on the way! Sandy has a whole variety of gifts for your sweeties :)
Sandy had quite a few customers when I was in there that day but nobody compared to this sweet little girl. I still can't get over how big lab puppies can be! We have rat terriers so full grown they are smaller than this girl!
Looky at all of these wonderful gifts. Iowa wine in the old bank vault! I get a little claustrophobic in a space like that, but if you tell me there is wine... well I can handle that LOL!
I have noticed a BUZZ word since I started my project with these small businesses. The Experience.
I like to see their take on the pros and cons of ownership in a rural area. We all know how easy it is to go to the giant chain stores or order online. So how in the world can small businesses possibly compete? The ‘experience’ is where the difference shows up. Nothing can compare to walking into a small shop and getting that one on one treatment. Afterall, what makes our lives rich is our experiences along the way. And you don’t have to use the self checkout!!
This is how Sandy described the best part of owing in a rural area…
"After I opened I would have many people ask me why I chose Bedford to open a shop, when you could have opened in any surrounding town. My answer is and has always been...it is important to give back to the community where you live! It never even entered my mind to locate my shop somewhere else. The great thing about today’s world is that people can easily travel to Bedford to purchase form Hedgie’s or they can order from Hedgie’s online. The important thing is that with every business that opens we are helping to create a destination in our community!"
So very true! In today’s world we don’t even think twice about hoping in the car to drive hours to a city. It really is so much easier to stay local and support local!
Stop in and visit with Sandy or find her online at these locations.