Dregne Family Builds Westby Tradition that Caters to Norwegian Heritage
By: Dorothy Jasperson-Robson of Westby Times
Dregne’s Scandinavian Gifts isn’t just any run-of-the-mill gift shop. It’s a specialty shop for that hard-to-buy-for person, it brings you Christmas 365 days a year, it’s a showcase for American-made Fenton glassware and, if you’re a true Norwegian or a wanna-be Norwegian, Dregne’s Scandinavian Gifts- on the corner of W. State and Main streets in Westby- should be on your destination list.
Dave and Jana Dregne purchased the corner building and business in 1975, when it was a full service hardware store, with just a small selection of giftware. Seeing increased tourism trade making its way through the front door, the Dregnes decided to follow the lead of a former owner, Violetta Flugstad, who believed building on the tradition of the area would help the Dregnes find a niche no one else was marketing.
Within three years of ownership, the Dregnes grew their specially giftware section and developed a Scandinavian room, a wise decision as the nuts and bolts of the business showed declining sales while the sale of the Norwegian merchandise grew.
Through the years, the interior of the store has been redesigned three times. The owners auctioned off all remaining hardware merchandise in 2000 and over the past decade have built the store into a specialty shop where visitors can find more authentic Norwegian merchandise.
Building on the specialty gift theme, they diversified the merchandise to include American-made products such as Fenton glassware from West Virginia and a variety of Heritage Lace made in Iowa. They carry numerous books written by local authors, and book-signing events have become a tradition at the store. Local artists demonstrate acanthus carving and chip and flat plane carving. Samples of Norwegian baking are a must during any special event at the store.
The Dregnes’ inventory includes a large selection of Norwegian sweaters, pastry bakeware and lefse grills. The guest book on the counter is filled with signatures of visitors from every state in the country and many international sites. Their mail-order business has grown tenfold over the past decade as the requests for items to be shipped grows. The Dregnes have a dedicated staff to help them when they are busy, and they are thankful whenever their children, Chris and Kathy, can lend a hand at the store.
Monday - Saturday: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Closed Sunday except Syttende Mai weekend
Open Sundays 11:00 am-4:00 pm Thanksgiving to Christmas
Buses Welcome Everyday
And by Appointment on Sundays
Phone: (608) 634-4414
Toll free: (877) 634-4414
We Ship Gifts Anywhere with FREE gift wrap everyday!
43rd Anniversary Sale - Saturday, October 6, 2018
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Dregne's Scandinavian Gifts
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