Von Maur at Christmas – an experience you won’t soon forget

Stepping up to the smoothly sliding doors of Von Maur at Jefferson Pointe, I didn’t quite know what to expect. I hadn’t been in this store for years.

But the minute the airlock doors whooshed open, a beautiful warmth took over. It was as though I was in a new world of red and gold Christmas charm.

Glossy floors reflected the multitude of Christmas trees set up everywhere. White trees with red ornaments, green trees with a mix of colors, perfectly spaced garlands around the center atrium – and a piano with a real pianist, adding the last and perfect touch.

Soft notes from the piano wafted throughout the store. The man controlling the keys modulated from one holiday favorite to the next, “Joy to the World,” the “Chipmunks Christmas Song,” “White Christmas,” and many more. It was just a pleasure to stop in the center of the store, beside the escalators, listening to the expert on the keys and taking in all the sights of a well-run, finely decorated retailer.

Sparkling Necklaces at Von Maur 225x300 Von Maur at Christmas – an experience you won’t soon forget

Merchandise was set up in attractive displays. Vera Bradley and Coach bags, jewelry, shoes (with a charming variety of boots in front) and tasteful menswear was easy to find. Up on the second floor, children’s and women’s merchandise was arranged in separate areas. There were t-shirts and cute pajamas readily visible in the children’s department (and oh, were some of the little dresses cute!), and the women’s department was wonderful. Lovely dresses, soft bathrobes, and tailored winter coats were everywhere.

Different styles of clothing were set on widely-spaced racks, so there was no trouble with negotiating between the little black dresses and the more matronly, ankle-length gowns. In browsing through the clothing, the details were the selling point – lapels on a snappy royal blue top, an extra few buttons on a shirred-sleeve sweater, a little sparkle on a warm scarf.

Even in the children’s department, the displays were unique. For example, in the boys’ section, one display had fleece jackets, Monopoly and Yahtzee boxed games, a Cars suitcase, and a glistening white top hat, complete with just a touch of snow.Pianist at Von Maur Copy 300x225 Von Maur at Christmas – an experience you won’t soon forget

Glancing down from the second floor, I had a perfect view of the Christmas tree, the glossy grand piano, and the suave musician, modulating through a rippling set of arpeggios as he began yet another holiday song.

This visit to Von Maur was one that I wouldn’t soon forget. It was like experiencing a dream of perfect elegance, set in Christmas tones.



Louisa is a lifelong Fort Wayne resident. A long-time musician and literature aficionado, Louisa likes to explore the classical music offerings that Fort Wayne has to offer. (She also likes to browse the Allen County Public Library's stacks for just the right book!)

I <3 Fort Wayne – Holiday Gift Guide

Do you love Fort Wayne as much as I do? If so, listen up!

I enjoy buying my out-of-town family and friends gifts unique to Fort Wayne. Our city is blessed with a plethora of creative entrepreneurs, so it’s not hard to find these gifts, but it is hard to choose just a few. I want to buy them all! I did manage to put together a short list of my favorites and reached out to my friends to find out what their favorites are too. Here’s what we came up with.

gingerbread people 300x300 I <3 Fort Wayne   Holiday Gift Guide1-    Dos Homos Brand’s Gingerbread People

Each year for the holidays, the gents at Dos Homos make 18-inch Gingerbread People. These make great host/hostess gifts… and trust me, they taste even better than they look. You can find them at Fort Wayne’s Farmers Market the 1st and 3rd Saturday of each month at Parkview Field. They also offer amazing jams, jellies and other canned yummies. I highly recommend trying ginger cherry sauerkraut.

2-    Old Fort Soap Company’s handcrafted natural soaps

I was just recently introduced to these products and fell in love. They are free of artificial chemicals and great for the skin. And of course, they smell amazing. You can order online at www.oldfortsoap.com or find them at Fort Wayne’s Farmers Market the 1st and 3rd Saturdays of the month at Parkview Field.

3-    Sharp Dressed Van reclaimed jewelry

I discovered this company at last year’s Holly Pop event in Downtown Fort Wayne and I’ve been in love ever since. The husband and wife team transforms parts from old vehicles into very trendy pieces of jewelry. Each piece comes with a photo of the vehicle from which it came. You can check them out on Facebook or online at http://sharpdressedvan.com/.

4-    Mudlove bands photo1 300x225 I <3 Fort Wayne   Holiday Gift Guide

Based in Winona Lake, this company produces bands, necklaces, ornaments and magnets out of fired clay. I especially love the bands and wear two myself: community and passion. What makes this company so unique is it donates 20 percent of all sales to clean water projects in Africa through Water for Good. Check them out online at www.mudlove.com. They even offer personalization and fundraising opportunities.

5-    K1nd upcycled and hand-knit cashmere and woolen mittens

I purchased a pair of fingerless mittens from K1nd at the Fort Wayne’s Farmers Market and would wear them in my sleep if that weren’t weird. I love them. The pair I chose are made from upcycled wool from a blue cable sweater. She also makes scarves, hats and bags, all from upcycled materials. Find her at the market or on Etsy, http://www.etsy.com/shop/k1ndnaturalgoods.

Recommendations from friends:

Mad Anthony Brewing Company- 6 pack

Old Crown Coffee Roaters- fresh coffee beans

DeBrand Fine Chocolates- Connoisseur Collection

M & C Miller Honey- creamed honey

Hedgehog Press- hand printed Fort Wayne skyline postcards

Ofabz Swimwear- gift certificate

Belyst- gift certificate

The Good Ones- gift certificate

River City Candle Company- Southern Hospitality scented candle

The Olive Twist- specialty olive oils and balsamic vinegars

Kernel Coladas- holiday popcorn assortment

Kristy Jo Beber Stoneware Pottery

Stonewares by Laura

Polly Esther Threads- homemade crayons

Natril Gear- Lugger

Best Boy- dessert sauces

Cinda B- handbags and totes

The Ginger Kitchen- gourmet ice cream


Amber Recker moved here from Illinois in 2002 and is proud to call Fort Wayne home. She's a marketing professional, freelance writer, community volunteer, and food blogger, with over ten years of writing and editing experience. By day, she serves as the director of marketing for PUNCH Films. In her spare time, she volunteers for several non-profit organizations and creates content for a service-centered blog, contagiouscommunity.org. She and her husband also own Ginger Kitchen Gourmet Ice Cream, preparing small-batch, locally sourced ice cream. The two also enjoy spending time in the kitchen and share their culinary creations at reckermended.com.

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1 Response to "I <3 Fort Wayne – Holiday Gift Guide"

January 1st, 2014
I plan to check out the Sharp Dressed Van and others mentioned in this post. I've not heard of most of them. Good info!

Farmers Market Offers Taste of Green in Winter

Typically the words “farmers market” conjure images of bountiful green harvests and warm, sunny days. While it may no longer be warm, the bounty is just as abundant this year as the Fort Wayne Farmers Market stays open during the winter!

farmermarket Farmers Market Offers Taste of Green in Winter

The Fort Wayne Farmers Market takes place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the first third Saturday of each month. The market is conveniently located downtown at Parkview Field, home to the Fort Wayne Tin Caps baseball team during baseball season. The winter market is located in the Lincoln Financial Event Center and parking is available in the lots near the field or in the adjoining parking garage if no special events are taking place.

Winter Market Dates (Market Hours: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.)
December 21
January 4
January 18
February 1: Includes cooking demo by Parkview chefs
February 15
March 1
March 15: Includes cooking demo by Parkview chefs

marketpic Farmers Market Offers Taste of Green in Winter

Vendors at the Fort Wayne Farmers Market offer items ranging from farm and garden food, home-based food, natural products and an array of local crafts. Food selections are also available for individuals with special dietary needs including vegan, vegetarian, paleo, gluten-free and sugar-free items. For more information visit the market online.

“Buy Local, Buy Fresh.”

Insider Tip: Social media users take note, if you check in on Foursquare during your visit to the Fort Wayne Farmers Market you might find some special deals!

The Indoor Winter Market runs through May. For more information check out the Fort Wayne Farmers Market’s website, Facebook page, or Visit Fort Wayne!


Previously a news reporter at daily newspapers in Indiana and Ohio, Holly Hammersmith now enjoys the lighter side of writing through freelance work. In her spare time, Holly can be found running or practicing yoga. She also enjoys visiting local coffee shops and day-tripping. Holly lives with her husband, dog Lulu and half a dozen houseplants. Find Holly on Twitter @HFHammers and at http://hollyhammersmith.com.

An Artisan’s Delight at Orchard Gallery

 Need a special Christmas gift for an artistic friend or family member?  Looking for a unique ornament for an upcoming Christmas office party?  Do you enjoy supporting local businesses and artisans?  If you answered yes, then Orchard Gallery may be just the shopping destination for you!

994 300x285 An Artisan’s Delight at Orchard Gallery

Blue meets white in these colorful ornaments.

Located on Covington Rd. beside Mocha Lounge and behind Covington Commons, Orchard Gallery was begun in 1983 by a group of local artists and has thrived since.  (Click here to read more and view the online portfolio gallery.)  It proudly boasts a wide array of artwork, ranging from abstract paintings to jewelry to fabric art.

997 244x300 An Artisan’s Delight at Orchard Gallery

Colorful glass ornaments greet visitors at the door.

Although the store’s Christmas open house isn’t until December 7th, there are already numerous handmade ornaments for sale for reasonable prices.  Glass, cloth and hand-painted ornaments deck the store in cheery holiday style, accompanied by Nativity sets in various forms.

996 250x300 An Artisan’s Delight at Orchard Gallery

Whimsical chairs and more glass ornaments adorn a tree in the shop window.

Orchard Gallery is always a fun treat for me because I enjoy browsing the funky art forms.  What I appreciate most about the store is that there isn’t just one artistic style; there are multiple art styles on display that are bound to appeal to most customers.  The employees are also very knowledgeable about many art forms – in particular, how the glass ornaments were created.

So, the next time you’re in the Jefferson Boulevard area, come on over to Covington Road and check out Orchard Gallery!

012 300x219 An Artisan’s Delight at Orchard Gallery

Swing by for a homemade Christmas ornament, and come back for the Christmas open house on December 7th!

Visit Orchard Gallery:
Located at 6312 Covington Rd.  or online here

Tuesday and Thursday, 10:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
All other days (not open on Sunday) 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Amanda Reusser


Amanda Reusser is a 2006 graduate from Taylor University-Upland. She has spent the past 6 years living and teaching Drama, English and ESOL in Florida, Indonesia and Austria. While it was fun and insightful, she is very glad to be back home in Indiana. Amanda loves traveling, trying new foods, and learning cultural dances. She enjoys getting to know new people, teaching teenagers, and being involved with her home church.

Fort Wayne Costco

Costco1 300x225 Fort Wayne Costco

Costco opened in Fort Wayne on October 16th.

As a native of “the big city” of Indianapolis, I was used to wholesale stores like Sam’s Club and Costco, and missed them upon moving to Ft. Wayne. I kept hearing over the last few years that Costco was coming here, but wasn’t really sure if it would ever really happen… well, now it’s here and I couldn’t be happier!

costco2 300x225 Fort Wayne Costco

Grab a cart! Shopping at Costco is an event fit for the whole family!

Before the location on Value Dr. (Lima Rd. at I-69) was even built, my husband and kids signed up for an executive membership–knowing full well I would make up the extra cost ($110 versus regular membership cost of $55) within my first few trips to the store. Plus, we get 2% back on all purchases, in addition to the everyday membership savings on food, gas, toilet paper, ten pounds of chicken nuggets, you name it. (I know what you’re thinking, who honestly can use that many frozen nuggets? Anyone with three kids… and what adult can resist whole grain-breaded, Micky Mouse shaped ones?)

costco3 225x300 Fort Wayne Costco

You can find everything from fresh produce, to giant containers of cheese.

As my youngest and I cruise through the massive wholesale building, stocked clear to the ceiling with all kinds of goodies (quality meats and cheeses, prepared soups, canned goods, pantry staples….), I find a bargain-priced six pound bag of frozen strawberries for my husband’s daily protein shakes, a 24-ounce container of grated parmesan cheese (it goes on everything, just ask my two-year old), and a gallon of milk for just $1.69–almost half the cost of what I get at the grocery store.

Next, I peruse the beer and wine selection–which as a wine lover, I’ll admit I was

costco5 225x300 Fort Wayne Costco

Costco has a large selection of wines – sold in bulk too!

reluctant to try a $5 bottle of Costco’s Kirkland brand Cabernet–but it’s truly delicious. I buy a case of several varieties at excellent prices. An enormous 5-LITER bottle of red wine (just $49) catches my eye, but I talk myself out of that purchase… buying in bulk is good, but this bargain shopper does have limits.

After we finish our Costco shopping adventure, it’s time to hit the gas pumps. Noting that the gas station across the road is priced at $3.15 per gallon, I’m eager to see what my “members only” deal of the day is: $3.05 a gallon! A great bargain to fill up the minivan for less than $60.

Fort Wayne residents will be excited to explore what Costco has to offer, but keep a few things in mind:

  • Don’t buy something “just because”, try to stick to your regular list and look for lowered prices on items you already use.
  • Do explore the fresh produce, meats, store-brand items, and beer/wine/liquor selection; you may be pleasantly surprised.
  • Do compare prices per item when checking out double- and triple-packed soups, cereals, etc… it’s not always lower.
  • Don’t shop hungry, unless you come on Saturday and make a meal out of their free samples.
  • Do keep track of your savings and membership cost; make sure it adds up for you–every household is different.
  • And, if you live in a small house like mine, consider reserving an extra shelf in the garage or basement for “Mom’s Costco overflow”…
    costco6 300x225 Fort Wayne Costco

    Make sure you have plenty of room in your house for the goodies you are sure to come home with!

    If you’re ready to explore what Costco has to offer, Costco Wholesale is located at 5110 Value Drive. Fort Wayne, Indiana 46808. To get even more information on Costco’s products, services and membership, give them a call at (260) 481-1100 or online at www.costco.com.



Born and raised in Indianapolis, almost nothing could move this downtown girl from her native Circle City—except true love. Deb now calls Fort Wayne home, and lives with her husband and their three amazing children in a cozy north side neighborhood. Armed with a Master’s in English, Deb was an editor for Northern Indiana LAKES Magazine, and a copywriter and proofreader for a local marketing and design firm. An avid reader, nature enthusiast, and amateur gourmet, she also loves to take walks and hikes with her family.