Business

Sisters find the novelty in Delano shop

"All sorts of crazy stuff" is the motto of Central Plains Novelty — and explains what it is, too.

Two sisters have been running the novelty shop, at 905 W. Douglas in the Delano district, for 24 years.

"We have seen a lot of people come and go, but it's interesting how many people come back to the historic Delano district and say that they like the fact that we are still here," said co-owner Nancy Lawrence. "We're not a chain store. I guess you could call us a sister-to-sister business, not a mom-and-pop."

Lawrence and her sister, Zandra Troeger, bought Central Plains Novelty from close family friends.

"We just kind of fell into it," Lawrence said. "It was kind of like a family business, but we weren't really family."

Their mother worked at Central Plains Novelty for several years before the sisters bought the building.

Novelty items for sale include magic tricks, an "over the hill" section, greeting cards, wigs and makeup, and gag gifts. The business also sells and rents costumes.

"When we bought the building, it had two apartments upstairs," Lawrence said. "We've made them into a costume shop."

Lawrence said Central Plains Novelty prides itself on customer service.

"We treat people like we want to be treated," she said.

The key, Lawrence said, is to "keep your competition close to you." She said there are many other novelty stores in town, but she and her sister have maintained good relationships with many of them.

"If they're your enemy, you're just losing out," Lawrence said. "If I don't have something, I will send customers there to check. My major competition recommends us, too. Sometimes they even just call us and ask how our month is going."

Lawrence said the business continues to work on affordability for all.

"We are a mecca for $5 gifts," she said. "At Christmas, or anytime really, they can come in and get great gifts. We don't really have a lot of expensive things in here."

Central Plains is also a wholesaler.

"We are more into retail, but some people have no idea that we are a wholesaler, too," Lawrence said.

Lawrence said the sisters are still having just as much fun as when they played in the store as kids.

"I told my husband once, 'I get to go to work today!' " she said. "He said to me, 'People don't want to go to work. They have to go to work.' I said, 'No, you don't understand. I get to go to work.' "

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