BLUE EARTH - Brown paper covers the windows at 120 S. Main in Blue Earth, but people have been trying to look through openings to get a sneak peek at Gartzke's Floral and Gifts.
The store is not new; it's been part of Gartzke's Greenhouse and Floral since 1933, says Diana McTamaney, who along with her husband, Denny, has owned Gartzke's for four years. The couple wanted to expand the gift shop but with "seven greenhouses, there was nowhere to go" at the South Holland Street location, where the greenhouse has been for nearly 80 years.
The McTamaneys decided a move was in order after a few things happened.
Diana McTamaney straightens a candle on a shelf at the new location for Gartzke’s Floral and Gifts in the mini-mall on Main Street in Blue Earth.
"We went to the Minneapolis market and bought a lot of new gifts," Diana said.
The new store will have cards, glassware, candles, candies, pictures, stained glass lamps and "beautiful soft throws," she said.
They needed more space to display the new lines, but knew the gift shop on Holland Street wasn't big enough.
Diana remembered Girls Night Out, when Jack Heinitz let them borrow the store space for the evening.
"The town was so excited to have us here; we decided to make it permanent," she said, adding that the new location has five times the space.
"The Garden Center will stay as is," Diana said, "and be open just in the spring."
Spring plants and vegetables will remain at the greenhouse. Denny and employee Frankie Bly will still be in charge of growing the plants.
Some of the greenery and all of the gift items are moving to Main Street.
"All green plants will be grown there and sold here," Diana said.
Denny is building a cooler at the new store to house the plants, including the poinsettias, which are coming along nicely, she added.
"We're hoping to get more walk-in traffic being on the main drag," Diana said.
To entice customers, Diana had some of the candy packaged with the Gartzke's label. She also will be making up gift baskets of all sizes, including gift mugs filled with whatever a customer selects; something she thinks will make great gifts for the holidays and all year long.
"We're hoping to give people a local option for inexpensive gifts," she said.
Even though there's still lots to do, Diana vowed the store will be open by Holiday Sampler, which starts Friday. Samples of candy and snacks will be available, and there will be a drawing for a large floral arrangement, she said.
The new store will be open longer hours, Diana said, from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. weekdays, except Thursdays when it will be open until 7:30 p.m. Saturday hours will be 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., and it will be closed Sundays.
"We're really excited about it," she said of the new venture. "Way excited."