Norm Anderson said he has shopped at Helen Winnemore's for 40 years and was surprised when he learned it was for sale.

"I immediately thought, 'This is going to be a loss,' " Anderson said of the iconic German Village business at 150 E. Kossuth St.

Helen Winnemore's is known for its potpourri of gifts ranging from jewelry, pottery and wooden bowls to greeting cards, with prices ranging from $2 to $500.

Owner Sarah Kellenberger Harpham announced her intent to sell the shop Jan. 29.

Anderson, who lives in the village, said he was in the store buying a gift for a loved one.

"My kids love it," he said. "Their kids love it. It's just so doggone user-friendly."

Harpham has owned the store 22 of its 82 years in business.

She said she does not have plans beyond the sale, which includes the building and lot.

"I have used the skills that I have, alongside a host of dedicated folks over the years, to care for and grow this shop," Harpham said.

"I believe the shop will benefit from new skill sets and ideas about how to help the business become its next best version of itself."

Harpham, 50, said she would like the new owner to carry on the tradition of the store, which offers handcrafted work by American artisans.

"The fact that we represent artists means that the product will change and evolve, that's what artists do, and that's part of why we love it," she said. "Yes, I understand that someone may decide to change any of that should they buy the business.

"Our guests are from all over the world -- local folks, regional and national tourists, and many attendees of national conventions," Harpham said. "While we serve people of all ages and gender, it's true to say that we have more female guests than male."

German Village real-estate agent Marilyn Vutech is handling the sale.

In 2009, Harpham bought the property, which includes the 1,984-square-foot building, for $91,650.

Greg Gamier, co-chairman of the German Village Business Community, said he was surprised to hear the business was for sale. He said he, too, hopes the future owner would maintain the theme of the store.

"It would be a shame to lose something like that," he said. "it's unique to us."

gseman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekGary