The Holiday Open House will take place this Sunday, November 21 in Pratt
The Downtown Holiday Open House arrives this Sunday, Nov. 21 (1 p.m. to 5 p.m.) at Pratt and Cathy Hergenreder is ready at her gift shop, Memories at 110 S Main. The sights, sounds and smells of Christmas are fully on display for those who enter into Memories’ decor, clothing and gifts.
Hergenreder said she loved Christmas, loved decorating her shop for the holidays, and wanted to help customers find the perfect gift this season. She said she loved it when customers walk into the store and say “Oh, my God” when they see the variety of items available, smell the Christmas smells and hear Christmas music.
The first signs of Christmas can be found in this shop by looking in the window. There is a Christmas tree, snow globes, snow covered ornaments and cardinals. There are many, many cardinals. There are red cardinal ornaments, painted cardinals on ornaments, cardinals on tea towels, pillows and afghans. The red versus white birds are quite striking.
Hergenreder likes to create a welcoming atmosphere where people can come in and relax while cruising. She and the five part-time helpers, whom she calls her “elves,” all love to decorate and design spaces with a special accent. They started decorating before Halloween in hopes of giving their customers time to shop and get a little head start on the holidays.
A shopper can find candles and candy, socks and soaps, popcorn and pajamas. Christmas keepsakes can be made with chocolate coated coffee beans and hot chocolate bombs, fresh from the maker. Garden flags and welcome mats with interchangeable inserts are popular items.
Lang Calendars are such a big seller that many regulars know that if they wait until December to buy one, they might not get exactly the one they want. Snowbirds traveling through Pratt heading for warmer weather for winter will stop, especially to get their schedule for next year. Hergenreder said the store typically sells this item every year.
Besides snowbirds, Memories has clients from places like Wichita, Ness City, and Oklahoma.
“The goal is to sell everything and make customers happy when they leave so that they want to come back again and again. Customers who come here are the reason I’m always there,” Hergenreder said.
Two new items are the Fancy Panz and a large, lightweight rubber tote. The “panz” will contain an aluminum pan for cakes or casseroles to take to a family reunion, church dinner or party. It can keep the food inside hot or cold and includes a tray of stuffed eggs. Hergenreder said: “A customer bought eight of these panz.” Hergenreder went on to say, “They are a great gift for daughters, daughters-in-law, friends, neighbors.”
The rubber tote comes in a variety of colors and is washable. Hergenreder said: “These could be used to hold yarn for a knitter, taken to the beach or a picnic, or kept in the car between the seats to help keep things organized.” They could also be used by teachers to keep the books and papers they bring back to school.
“Since COVID, people seem to be turning to home items,” Hergenreder noted. Pura is a popular item for young customers. This is a plug-in perfume device that can be operated from a downloaded phone app. The device contains two small perfume bottles. A person using the app can program the Pura to start or stop a particular scent at a specific time of day. The intensity of the smell can also be adjusted via the app.
Container ships stranded on the west coast impact small business owners like Hergenreder in a number of ways.
“I have been on the phone this year more than ever, to follow orders,” she said.
Ordering problems abound. She said that one candle company in particular was unable to fulfill its order for larger candles because the glass containers the candles are made in come from overseas. A company she uses for T-shirts struggles to get the shirts for her designs. The Kansas City Chiefs glasses, including travel mugs, coffee mugs, glasses and beer mugs, were ordered earlier this year. The entire order can be filled before Christmas, but even with delays and orders not fully filled, there is plenty of choice in the store.
Although it has to absorb additional transportation costs, container fees and shipping costs, which come with the supply difficulties, Hergenreder said it was always ready and willing to help its customers.
“I am always happy to ship items for my customers. I also do porch deliveries and curbside service. We’ve always offered free gift wrap here. It’s a way of setting ourselves apart from department stores. I want to provide good customer service, ”she said.
Hergenreder and his mother, Sue Epp, opened the store in 1986, 35 years ago. Epp passed away on Christmas in 2015. Hergenreder still feels her mother’s presence in the store, especially as they start decorating for the holidays and then, when she closes the door on that last day, the store is open before Christmas. There will be a special gift to celebrate 35 years of Memories.
She and her mom started a special order book when the store opened. The notebook continues to be filled with lists of items that customers are looking for and cannot find in the store. There is often a whole list before the arrival of Christmas deliveries.
“Pratt has the best Main Street and all the Main Street traders are happy to be here,” Hergenreder said.
The Pratt Holiday Open House is scheduled for November 21, 2021 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. in the afternoon. More than 20 stores and businesses are planning to open for this special event under the leadership of the Pratt Area Chamber of Commerce.
The Open House is the kickoff for Memories for seasonal shopping from Sunday (1 p.m. to 5 p.m.) until Christmas only. Normal weekday hours are Monday. – Wed (10 am-6pm) and Sat (10 am-5pm). For more information, contact Memories Home Décor, Clothing & Gifts (620) 672-3543 or [email protected]