Younkers launching “Close to Home” shop featuring local vendors

Younkers and vendors expect the partnerships isn't just for holiday shopping

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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) – With the holiday season approaching, Younkers stores are adding some homegrown inventory to their collections. It’s an opportunity that is helping make dreams come true for local vendors.

Candles, handbags, soaps, and jewelry are just some of the items shoppers can buy in the new “Close to Home” section of Younkers stores. It’s a new idea that’s launching just in time for the holidays.

Rhonda Fischer, Younkers Regional Visual Director, says, “Eleven locally sourced vendors from throughout the state. And we’re really excited about it. It’s unique, gift-able items that we think our customers are interested in looking at.”

Of those 11 vendors, five are from Northeast Wisconsin.

Amanda Brooker owns Long Rifle Soap Company out of Green Bay. After seeing her product at farmer’s markets, a buyer from Younkers approached her about being included in the “Close to Home” shop.

According to Brooker, “Hard to believe it was real, just because it wasn’t in my five year plan yet. But, I think any maker has a dream of being in a big store as well, so it’s great.”

Eco Candle Company out of Appleton is another maker now being sold in Younkers. While the company already has a shop on College Avenue, the department store opportunity gives it additional exposure.

“It gets us in front of new customers that may not shop downtown and then they can see what kind of great products and stores these downtowns not only in Appleton, but Green Bay and Sturgeon Bay have as well,” says Shelley Nystrom, owner of Eco Candle Company.

While the “Close to Home” shops are launching for the holiday season, Younkers and the makers are looking forward to long term partnerships.

Rhonda Fischer adds, “We’re just going to keep growing. And we’re always looking for the next resource that we’re happy to present to the customers.”