Cresco’s Ox & Wren Spirits and Gifts celebrates five years
Ox & Wren Spirits and Gifts owners Aaron and Sheila Wemark along with sister and manager Maria Larson have created a fun, relaxing environment, and a unique shopping experience for visitors to the Cresco business.
“Shop a wide variety of home décor, seasonal gifts, Russell Stover, Abdallah, candy club candy, Wind and Willow dip and cheeseball mix, Naked Bee lotions, Rowe pottery and a huge selection of beer and wine,” said Maria.
“If you’re looking for a place to hang out and relax, we offer indoor and outdoor seating to drink beverages or have a cup of coffee,” Maria continued. She added that Ox & Wren advocates shopping small and features many local items such as Polashek’s jerkey, WW Homestead Dairy cheese curds, Shullsburg cheese spreads, crackers and pretzels.
When asked to explain the story behind the “Ox and the Wren” business name, Maria responded that “it’s one of those things where you kinda have to know us to get it.” In short, the ox in the logo represents Aaron, the audacious younger brother who aspired to transform the long-standing Cresco Liquor Store into a unique specialty shop for his older sister, Maria Larson (the wren) to fill with all her treasures.
Stemming from a long line of business owners, the Wemark’s are no strangers to the ups-and-downs of business ownership. The pair have two additional businesses of their own: Aaron owns A&J Construction and Sheila owns Wemark Chiropractic of Elma, Lime Springs and Ridgeway.
But together, the Wemarks and Larson set out in 2017 to make Ox & Wren a liquor and gift store that feels like family, and they pride themselves on having knowledgeable and helpful staff to make customers feel right at home.
Maria praised customers, the people of Cresco and the local businesses that worked together through tough times as we all bounce back from COVID-19.
And as restrictions have lifted, summer events at Ox & Wren are underway. Catch “Party on the Patio” every third Thursday through August, with parties starting at 5 p.m. Music, contests, and beer and wine tasting will be offered. Big ticket giveaways include a chance to win free beer for a year, and a chance to win concert tickets to George Strait, Little Big Town and Chris Stapleton.
Aaron, Maria and Sheila grew up on acreage in northeast Iowa. Aaron and Maria’s parents owned the Ridgeway Creamery, and their father ran his own milk route for four decades while their mother did the bookkeeping. Sheila’s family farmed near Lime Springs and her mother worked at the Cresco FSA office.
The Wemarks have stayed in northeast Iowa living on acreage near Schley with their four boys: Keegan, Zane, Axel and Vice. On an acreage in nearby Ridgeway is Maria and husband Steve; the pair have two grown children, Joshua (Kaytlan and daughter Daylynn) and Elizabeth (Jacob Garza).
Stop in at 708 2nd Ave SE in Cresco or find the Ox & Wren Spirits and Gifts on Facebook or online at oxnwren.com.
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