WATCH NOW: It’s been a good year, as Dregne’s celebrates his 46th birthday | Business
STEVE CAHALAN For La Crosse Tribune
WESTBY – Dave and Jana Dregne say it’s been a good year at their Dregne’s Scandinavian Gifts store at 100 S. Main St. in downtown Westby, after the store closed almost three months last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Dregnes will mark its 46 years in business with the store’s annual anniversary celebration on Saturday.
“We have been closed in March, April and May” of 2020 due to the pandemic, Jana said. As a result, last year’s sales were down.
“It started to pick up speed when you got there around August” of last year, Jana said. “People were skeptical about going out. We had a very good Christmas season.
Business this year has been “very good,” Jana said. “People like to go out. “
Additionally, the closure of some other Scandinavian gift stores elsewhere in the Midwest brought new customers to the Westby store this year.
The Dregnes said they are optimistic about Westby’s economy due to some retail stores, restaurants and other businesses that have opened in recent years.
The store’s anniversary celebration on Saturday will once again feature artisans, authors, food, refreshments and door prizes.
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Local artisans who will be giving demonstrations on Saturday include Taylor Johnson, acanthus sculptor; Jan Jenson, woodchip sculpture; John Sutton, eclectic sculpture; Judy Gates, flat plan sculpture; Mary Daines, hardanger; and Karen Hankee, rosemary.
The event will also feature book signings written by area authors Jerry Apps and Susan Apps Bodilly (“Settlers Valley”, “The Wild Oak”, “40 Days with Jerry Apps”, “One Room Schools” and “Old Farm Country Cookbook “); Sue Berg (“Driftless Gold”), Kathleen Ernst (“The Weaver’s Revenge”) and Mary McSwain Steele (“Betty”).
And there will be samples of Norwegian baked goodies.
The Flogstad & Foss hardware store in downtown Westby had only a small selection of Scandinavian gifts when the Dregnes bought the business and building on October 1, 1975.
Dregnes’ business flourished by turning it into Scandinavian gifts from Dregnes.
They bought the hardware from Violetta Flugstad and Ed Foss. But the days of small town hardware stores were numbered.
The Dregnes quickly realized they needed to take more Scandinavian gifts, said Dave, especially in an area with so many people of Norwegian descent.
Three years after buying the store, the Dregnes opened a Scandinavian room. And in 2000, they auctioned off the remaining material to complete the transformation into a Scandinavian gift shop.
The store offers a wide selection of gift items from Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland. And he has a lot of articles from Germany.
About 60% of the merchandise is Scandinavian. Some of the more popular items include sweaters, Swedish clogs, food items, jewelry, linens, music, grills, krumkake irons (a thin cookie), rosette irons, and boxes. by sandbakkel.
The store also has other gift items, such as Heritage lace products made in the USA, Glass Eye Studio ornaments and glassware, Sergio Lub copper magnetic bracelets, and a wide selection of books.
There is also a Christmas room open all year round.
Dregne’s Scandinavian Gifts Guest Register has signatures from visitors from across the country and several other countries, such as Norway, Denmark, Japan and Australia.
The store attracts visitors from across the Midwest, including the Twin Cities, Madison and Chicago, in part because it advertises in travel publications.
Westby festivals such as the Snowflake Ski Jumping Tournament and the Syttende Mai celebration also draw people to town. The fall colors of October too.
Still, December is the store’s busiest month, due to people shopping for holiday gifts.
The store also sells merchandise online and by mail and telephone order.
Dregne’s Scandinavian Gifts also offers free gift wrapping. And United Parcel Service shipping is available.
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