TORRINGTON – If you have just discovered that today is Valentine’s Day, and you need a quick gift for that special someone, have no fear, help is near. Local businesses have a wide variety of special items that will help you survive what might have been a disaster.
Several area businesses feature locally crafted items that will bring a smile to the face of your loved one. Some are more readily available and come easier to mind, but a little extra effort can reveal items that seem to be custom made for the recipient.
Baked goods at the local groceries, restaurants, and bakeries, hand tools at farm and ranch stores, or the always-welcome flower arrangements are stand-by life-savers. A last-minute evening out for dinner can be a pleasant surprise, for him or her, and there are several options of handmade items from food to embroidery to leathercraft that can fill that last-minute void. And, usually, gift certificates are available from businesses ranging from movie theaters to drug stores. Stir up that imagination, and you will have avoided a frosty reception when you enter your home this evening.
Among locally produced items are handmade soaps, lotions and note cards, created by some artistically inclined residents. They include note cards by Dixie Roth, a rancher and retired teacher who captures rural life with her camera, and artist Marvie Tipswood, who shares her water color images on note cards of various sizes.
Also among them is Kaitlyn Steben, mother, farm wife, and ag instructor at Eastern Wyoming College, who produces a line of lotions and soaps, using goat’s milk.
Steben began her Shoo-Fly line of products in the fall of 2015, utilizing the family’s garage for manufacturing. It was there that her father, Terry Sullivan, coined the product name after watching her “shoo flies” while stirring the pot of raw materials. He also designed the official company’s logo, Shoo-Fly Soap Company, Torrington, as well as individual bottle labels, which feature a buzzing pest. And keeping the entire family involved, Steben’s mother, Tammy Sullivan, distributes items from her home in Madison, Wisc. The couple also has three pre-school age daughters, Laine, Hadlee and Coralie, who offer varying levels of help.
Steben got into the lotion/soap business in a round-about way. She wanted cow’s milk for her family, but a cow was more than they really wanted to deal with. Her husband, Ty, agreed to try goats. That didn’t work either. They didn’t like the taste of the milk.
So, what to do with a handful of goats? Soap! After a couple of years, the couple has a thriving homemade soap and lotion business. The brown bars reflect the color of the cooking mass, while the 20 different fragrances are all white lotions packaged in 2 and 8 ounce bottles.
In addition to the Flea and Me, the products are available by contacting Steben at www.shooflysoap.com
Another local entrepreneur’s goods are found at Farm Girls Boutique at 21st & Main. Dixie Roth retired from teaching grade school, and with time on her hands, and a new camera that arrived via Santa Claus, she decided to do some experimenting with her interest in photography.
The result has been a line of note cards featuring pictures of ranch life, Wyoming scenery, and even some grandchildren. She is also branching out into commercial work, such as bank calendars.
“I love photography, and took a couple of classes at EWC. Now I carry a camera with me most of time, watching for photo opportunities,” she said Sunday afternoon during a break from calving on the family ranch north of Torrington. “Without papers to grade or lesson plans to do, I have time to go through the photos in the evening, and enjoy the pictures I’ve taken.”
Another local artist, Marvie Tipswood, also has note cards at 21st & Main in varying sizes, featuring water color images of her paintings.
So, opportunities are there if you check out local shops for those unusual or one-of-a-kind items that will win the heart of your loved one. Antique Valentines, hand crocheted doilies, glassware, etc., etc., are just waiting to be discovered.
Actually, the sky’s the limit when it comes to finding last minute, made-with-love gifts, even if you didn’t produce them yourself. Or, take the quick route and grab a heart shaped cake prepared by Gracie’s Promise, a group of volunteers that bakes and sells the cakes each Valentine’s Day as a fund raiser to help families with children suffering from serious medical problems, or be practical and take home a new snow shovel with a big red bow, or a gift certificate for an oil change.
As you can see, options for last minute Valentines for you, or your special someone, come in all sizes and can be found just about anywhere in Goshen County.