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Wink’s Woods in CF highlights more than 500 regional crafters

Business showcase

STORE MANAGER JENNIFER SARDER shows off some of the seasonal items available at Wink’s Woods in Crystal Falls. (Theresa Proudfit/Daily News photo)

CRYSTAL FALLS — Care to get lost in the woods? Crystal Falls has the right place.

Wink’s Woods at 1225 W. U.S. 2 offers unique merchandise from more than 500 regional crafters and continues to accept more in its 2,100-square-foot shop that is piled high with stock, wall to wall and ceiling to floor.

“We are always looking for new consignors to make handmade items,” said Jennifer Sarder, store manager.

Vendors bring in their own works, including chainsaw-carved bears and eagles, birdhouses and feeders, metal flowers, wooden signs, wood items, Christmas wreaths, country decor, rag rugs, primitive dolls, appetizer plates and platters, handmade soap, coasters, and candles.

“Our biggest sellers would be our lodge items — moose, bear and deer — and our T-shirts and sweatshirts are big. We have lots of 906, U.P. and sport-related items,” Sarder said.

THE EXTERIOR OF Wink’s Woods at 1225 W. U.S. 2 in Crystal Falls. (Theresa Proudfit/Daily News photo)

Many of the consignors also take special orders.

Walter and Susie Winkowski began the business crafting woodwork out of their home in 1984, traveling to about 35 craft shows a year.

“They started in their basement, and he made a lot of the crafts and she painted,” Sarder said.

In 1988, the Winkowskis opened up a small shop on U.S. 2 in Crystal Falls and 1990 moved a quarter-mile away to the current location.

Sarder started as a part-time employee in the late ’90s and began managing the store after the Winkowskis moved out of the area 20 years ago.

She is married to Dave Sarder, originally of Kingsford, and the couple has six children and five grandchildren.

Wink’s annually has a Holiday Open House in November that offers sleigh rides, kids’ crafts and a visit from Santa.

Yet while Christmas sees significant sales, the busiest time of year is the summer tourism season, Sarder said.

“I enjoy seeing my regulars that come in every summer and meeting new people. We have people come in from all over the place. You get to know them and they love coming in and seeing you once a year, too. It’s fun,” she said.

But she credits her staff for the store’s success.

“I wouldn’t be able to do it without my employees. It takes all of us to make the store run,” she said.

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