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December 9th, 2009Deck the Halls

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by Dennis Darrow

This holiday season, Linda “Nana” Gale decided to add some spice to The Pueblo Mall. The maker of Nana Lynn’s salsa spice blend joined the ranks of kiosk vendors that line the mall’s main walkway.

“My girls, they’re always talking me into this stuff,” said Gale, a longtime Puebloan who until this year sold the $6 packages of spice blend mostly at community celebrations and trade shows. “We’re not selling a lot yet but I hope as Christmas gets closer we do.”

Every Christmas, the mall’s kiosk business takes on new life as local sellers such as Nana Lynn’s join with national retailers like Hickory Farms and Things Remembered to take up temporary residence. Others such as Lids hats, Charm Depot and cell phone providers are year-round kiosk operators.

The open-air shops – some little bigger than a newsstand, others the size of small storefronts but without the walls – complement the mall’s larger retailers by offering niche items not available elsewhere in the shopping center. At Nana Lynn’s booth, as an example, shoppers will not only find the store’s spice blend – a guaranteed crowd-pleaser, Gale says – but also cooking recipes (free with purchase,) gift packages and ice-cooled “chiller” bowls that can keep salsa cold for up to eight hours.

At Charm Depot, shoppers will find an exclusive Italian charm line. The line specializes in shrinking family pictures down in size to fit onto a charm bracelet “that tells a story of your life one charm at a time,” owner Linda Ball said.

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