Gift shop off to a good start in Alden

Published 6:00 pm Monday, August 1, 2022

ALDEN — Residents in Alden and the surrounding areas have a new place to go in town for gifts. 

In the middle of June, Weathered Wagon opened on North Broadway — initially as the retail shop for Sparkling Image, and it took off from there. 

Owner Emily Hassing said Sparkling Image had a retail area previously in the front of the building but they were running out of room quickly. 

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When the restaurant next-door closed — and after acknowledging that now might not be a good time for a new restaurant to open — she decided to move ahead and knock a hole in the wall to expand to offer more of the company’s clothing merchandise. 

“We were going to do a few gifts and cards and it snowballed,” Hassing said. 

The store offers a variety of school apparel for USC and Alden-Conger schools, and eventually she would like to add apparel for Albert Lea and Glenville-Emmons, as well. 

Weathered Wagon also offers other apparel made by Sparkling Image, such as hats and shirts, along with a lot of children and baby gifts, including books, sippy cups and bracelets, as well as some home decor, candles, purses, drink ware, greeting cards, candles and other items. 

She works with a few local makers who sell in the store, including Hannah Goette of Beans & Barley, who makes wooden signs; Abby Beyer with Sunset Stones, who makes bracelets; and Ginger P. Designs of Janesville, who makes greeting cards. 

“We’ve had a really good response,” Hassing said of how the first few weeks have gone with the store. 

The building is owned Hassing’s father and stepmother of R&R Flooring. Her stepmother, Mary Reyerson, who has had 50 years of retail experience, also helps out in the shop.

Hassing said originally they couldn’t decide on a name for the new store, and eventually settled on incorporating something rural-themed. 

Her dad found the wagon at an auction, and they decided to name the store Weathered Wagon — coincidentally on National Wagon Day. 

Weathered Wagon, at 102 North Broadway, is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. Hassing said the store will likely expand hours for the holidays. 

Hassing has had Sparkling Image since 2012 with her husband — at that time with a focus on photography — and then started vinyl and graphics in 2016. During the COVID-19 pandemic the business added screen printing.