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Business World staff

A Paw Above

Pet boutique, Leavenworth

What’s hot: Take your pick! This shop is a cornucopia of delights for the quirky canine, including gourmet baked goods in the “barkery,” and official collegiate and NFL sports wear, team leashes, collars and more.

People are very passionate about their collegiate and pro teams,” says Matt Darlington, whose wife Susan owns the shop. The passion for sports and the love of animals makes for a perfect combination.”

Items are priced for every budget and are selling fast, he said. More Seahawks stuff is on the way.

Stan’s Merry Mart

Department store, Wenatchee

What’s hot: The Singing Box makes any gift — even that ugly tie for Dad — a very special event. Unwrap the box, lift the lid and you can hear the recorded shouts of kids (“Merry Christmas!”) or a chorus crooning Christmas carols (“Jingle Bells”) boom right out of the lid. Yes, it’s all on a microchip, says Stan’s floor manager Angie Crossley, “but it adds a nice touch to opening gifts.” The boxes were very popular last holiday season, she says, “so we’re expecting some pretty brisk sales this season, too.”

The sturdy, reusable boxes comes in three sizes ($8.99 each), and each one has its own special recording. Illustrations on the lids depict a variety of holiday scenes — snowy landscapes, snowmen, reindeer, Santas and evergreen trees.

It’s 5 Artisan Craft Distillery

Cashmere business turns local grains, fruit, more into whiskey, gin, brandy and exotic liqueurs.

What’s hot: Co-owner Carol Levi says its definitely the gin. The distillery’s Northwest Dry Gin took top honors this year in the Spirits Division at the Northwest Wine Summit. This, together with the festively reddish Rhubarb Liqueur, made with rhubarb grown in the Levis’ yard. The liqueur took a bronze medal at the summit.

It’s sweet and red in color,” says Carol of the liqueur, which took a bronze medal at the summit. “A new trend in mixing is to combine the rhubarb liqueur with Champagne.” Perfect for the holidays.

The Wine Thief

Wine shop, Wenatchee

What’s hot: For about $7 a reusable chrome Champagne savers will keep the bubbles in the open bottles of bubbly — a must have for holiday celebrations that continue on to the next day.

Champagne and sparkling wine spoils really quickly if you don’t have that airtight seal,” sales associate Tanya Hazen says. “

The shop has plenty of the bubbly to go along with this snazzy bottle topper, along with many of the region’s best wines and accessories

Leavenworth Mountain Sports

Outdoor gear and clothing, Leavenworth

What’s hot: ABS “The Avalanche” Air Bag. A compact system that uses a canister of compressed air to instantly inflate a pair of “angel wing” balloons. It mounts to a specialized backpack and, when activated by pulling a rip cord, helps the wearer caught in an avalanche to stay on top of the sliding snow. Starting at about $900, it’s proven to work.

It’s a life saver,” says Kate Braunstein, a member of the store’s sales staff. “People are not going to stop skiing the back country. Hopefully, this will keep them safe.”

Safety will be at the forefront of many skiers minds this winter, as the one-year anniversary approaches of an avalanche that tragically killed three experienced and much-loved backcounty skiers near Stevens Pass in February. The only member of the group to survive that avalanche was wearing an ABS airbag.

Salon Expressions

Salon/spa, Wenatchee

What’s hot: Special offers, hors d’oeuvres, surprises, music, fun and more at Expressions’ “Holiday Party,” Nov. 29 from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Owner Leanne Peters says the party’s a great way to let your hair down, buy gift certificates for everything from facials to highlights, learn about salon offerings and take advantage of drawings. Gift items and services are available for all price points, she says. Staffers will dress up and make a real event of it.

I like to give people the opportunity to get extra value in their gift giving,” Peters says. “Giving gifts of hair and skin care — it’s a feel-good thing. Most people really enjoy that pampering… It’s a memory maker.”

Arlberg Sports

Sports clothes and gear, Wenatchee

What’s hot: You’ve got to hand it to co-owner Nalini Paton for choosing a high-tech glove as this season’s hottest item. The Mountain Hardwear Stimulus Glove ($44.99) enhances the use of touch-screen smartphones, tablets and GPS units by allowing the wearer to work the gadget with the gloves still on. Yep, you can step off the Nordic trails and snap a cameraphone photo or take a map reading without freezing your fingers. A rubberized palm coating and special fingertip fabric make this possible. “And it really works great,” says Nalini. “I think it’d be wonderful for all sorts of people who play and work outdoors. Finally you can answer your phone without risking frostbite.”

Pak-it-Rite

Regional products and shipping, Wenatchee

What’s hot: Store owner Adam Campbell doesn’t have to think too long before he points to the quirky architectural and garden stonework from Greenman Stone, an artists’ collaborative in Cashmere. “This stuff is unique and affordable,” says Campbell. Cameron Nichols, owner of Greenman Stone, works with various artists to create original designs that he molds into finished artworks — gnomes, sun shapes, vineyard plaques, birdbaths, owls and all sorts of other animals. Prices range from $38 to $50, with a few larger pieces priced higher.

Hooked on Toys

Toys and hunting supplies, Wenatchee

What’s hot: Kendama. No surprise that this’ll be the must-have toy for this holiday season and beyond, says store owner Tom Kallas and brother Gust. Kendama is the simple, classic, wooden ball-on-string device that’s enticed nearly every kid in the Wenatchee Valley and swept across much of the nation.

It’s a once-in-a-decade kind of toy,” says Tom. “Like Beanie Babies or Cabbage Patch Dolls or yo-yo’s.”

In the first three weeks of October, the store sold 600 sets at the rock bottom price of $11.99. At month’s end, they had 400 on had with thousands more ordered, says Gust. “It works indoors, outdoors, for boys and girls, improves hand-eye coordination, and kids age 5 to 17 are crazy for it,” said Gust. “Kids walk in and see this huge display, and their eyes just light up.”

Sav-Mart

Furniture, appliances and electronics, Wenatchee

What’s hot: Smart holiday shoppers are thinking “smart TV,” says Sav-Mart’s electronic whiz Dave Culp. Smart TVs come computer-ready for streaming movies, music and home videos and photos — with no extra gadget to attach. The most popular size is the 55-inch flat screen that, in the Samsung model ($1,499), is just one inch thick with built-in wireless and an Energy Star rating. Some models even have memory-card slots to quickly display photos and videos. Of course, says Culp, true afficionados will want the 92-inch Mitsubishi with full 3-D hi-def picture and built-in 16-speaker surround sound system. “Oh, yeah,” says Culp. “It makes the perfect gift for Super Bowl fans.”

Reach Mike Irwin at 509-665-1179 or . Read his blog Everyday Business or follow him on Twitter at @MikeIrwinWW.

Reach Christine Pratt at 509-665-1173 or . Follow her on Twitter at @CPrattWW.

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