Downtown Gems – Lansing’s Horsfalls is One Amazing Place!
Iowans love to spend some time along a road less traveled and as the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions are eased, many of us are looking for a great day trip to explore those unique spots across Iowa that make our state really unique. Many of us remember growing up in a community where the local variety store was our go-to place. It was a special place as a child when you had a little allowance money burning a hole in your pocket or the first place you went looking for a gift for family and friends. The local five and dime store is hard to find in many communities today, but Lansing, Iowa, still boasts one of the most unique variety stores in the state – Horsfalls.
Located at 300 Main Street in downtown Lansing, Horsfalls Lansing Variety and Horsfall’s Store offer two stores packed with merchandise sure to delight shoppers of every age. Paul Horsfall has operated the stores since 1975 and is quick to locate whatever item a customer might ask to see. He suspects he has a million items in the century-old building that houses an old-fashioned variety store. Everything from spices to coloring books to greeting cards that they still sell for 99 cents each, can be found inside the store. Horsfall estimates that 80% of his merchandise is close-out items purchased directly from the manufacturers, including calendars, candy, napkins, puzzles, cookware and drinking glasses.
Paul Horsfall was raised in Decorah, Iowa, where he began his retail career working for his father Paul Sr., who managed Anthony’s department store. In 1975, he bought Krieger’s Variety Store in Lansing. Horsfall’s Variety Store has about 3,800 square feet of space, compared with about 5,000 square feet at the former Brown’s Department Store at 360 Main Street, a business Horsfall bought in 1981. He gradually converted the latter from a department store to a second variety store. Today, it is the Horsfall’s Store and carries a little different mix of merchandise. Items include t-shirts, sweatshirts, home décor, wall hangings, sports memorabilia and seasonal products. Sidewalk displays catch your eye and draw you into the store to see all the treasures waiting to be explored. The store has become an anchor for this rural community of about 1000 residents and is definitely a destination for shoppers of all ages.
If you’re planning a trip to this beautiful spot in northeast Iowa, be sure to allow plenty of time to spend strolling through both stores. You’re sure to find that item you didn’t know you needed but now can’t live without! And, you’ll know exactly what the Horsfall’s magic is all about.