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Woodworking company opens up its shop for holidays

A local industry is offering to help kids and adults alike create low or no-cost gifts for the holidays.

Balsam Millwork and Cabinets, 524 St. Croix Ave., New Richmond, is opening up its shop for the next two Sundays from noon to 4 p.m.

According to owner Greg Nelson, anyone of any age can attend. Children younger than 18 are asked to bring along a parent. If the parents are not able to attend, the younger participants will be paired with one of the volunteer employees to work on a project.

The idea for the free service came out of a desire to become more involved in the community and a realization that some families are struggling to buy presents this Christmas, Nelson said.

"Instead of throwing our scrap wood away, we thought this would be a good idea," Nelson said. "This is just one way we can be involved with the community. We're hoping that a bunch of families come down."

The company's employees will be on hand on Dec. 6 and 13 to help with a variety of handmade projects people might want to tackle for Christmas gifts.

The company will provide both the time and materials for many projects, Nelson said.

"We'll have some talented employees here to help people out," Nelson said. "People can bring your own ideas or try one of ours."

Projects could range from bird houses to cutting boards to picture frames, Nelson suggested. There will also be a painting station for little ones to get into the act of creating a special gift.

Balsam Millwork will also be offering use of its custom laser equipment so that participants can etch a personal message on their gift if so desired. Messages or artwork can be etched in everything from wood to glass to metal. People who already have a gift that they'd simply like etched can also stop by.

"Best of all it's all for free," Nelson said. "You're sure to have a good time with your child or grandchild."

Anyone wishing to participate in the free Christmas gift workshop is asked to call 246-4421 to register. If demand is high for the free service, Nelson said it's possible that the business will offer extra shop hours to accommodate everyone.

"My guess is this will be our first annual 'Making Memories' event," Nelson said. "We're going to have some fun."

Hot chocolate, apple cider and cookies will also be provided.