Like many of you, I enjoyed some time off with family over the 4th of July. Our gang often gathers in Wisconsin so I enjoyed a week of activities and exploring new restaurants, shops and bike paths.

In my search for the best bakery, I landed in Kiel, Wisconsin (population 3,510) where Roeck’s Bakery makes the best crullers ever. I was told I had to go to Evans, the variety store down the street. I hadn’t been in a variety store since my kid days in Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin which had the coolest place called Winkies. I remember being amazed that I could buy yarn, candy or trinkets all in the same store and be mesmerized by the merchandise for hours. When I drove up to Evans, I realized it was stuffed with far more than Winkies had had, and could easily be a one stop shopping destination for people in a small town–from underwear, sewing items, plants, and tools to toys. Yes, the toy aisle was the best with the most current toys from Playmobil’s new soccer game to Find it’s latest games. It’s always fun to see our PAL winners across the country, especially in the little town of Kiel. When I  commented to the woman who was re-stocking toys she said, “Everyone loves Find it!”

I was reminded of all the retailers I met at ASTRA Marketplace who work so hard to provide us with our neighborhood toys stores!