Early holiday shopping options this week

Too many shoppers chasing a limited number of early bird specials on Black Friday has many looking for deals earlier in November. Half of all holiday shoppers plan to start their shopping before Thanksgiving weekend, according to the NPD Group.

One of the best places to start? Shakopee.

Coinciding with the annual craft fair at Canterbury Park Thursday through Sunday, four local businesses will have warehouse sales:

Delish Gourmet Foods (1157 Valley Park Dr. S., www.delishfoodswarehousesale.com, 952-496-2887). Soup ladies Maggie and Mary dish up charm and free samples. Their locally made, smartly packaged dry soup, cheese ball and smoothie mixes and gourmet popcorn sell for 40 percent less than in retail stores from Wednesday through Sunday.

Dianne's Custom Candles (700 Valley Industrial Blvd. S., 952-746-5530). Save 75 percent on candles, reed diffusers, soy candles, votives and gifts. Go to Facebook and like "Dianne's Custom Candles" for more discounts. New this year: unscented candles. The sale runs Wednesday through Sunday and also Nov. 20-22 and Dec. 4-6.

Gage & Gage (660 Industrial Circle S., www.gagewarehousesale.com, 952-233-2081). Save 40 to 80 percent on all seasonal gift wrap, gift boxes, goody bags and more. The sale runs Wednesday through Sunday and also Nov. 20-22 and Dec. 4-6.

Cameron's Coffee (5555 12th Av. E., Suite 170, www.cameronscoffee.com, 952-374-5000).The brand may not be a household name, but the quality wins fans. From Wednesday through Saturday, coffee, syrups and mixes will be discounted 20 to 50 percent, including organic, fair-trade and shade-grown coffee varieties.


Happy birthday, Pillsbury Doughboy

The Pillsbury Doughboy, one of the ad world's best-known anthropomorphic stars, turned 50 on Saturday.

Poppin' Fresh, as the Doughboy was christened, was created in Chicago but plays a key a role in Minnesota's food business. Pillsbury, of course, was based in Minneapolis before being acquired in 2001 by crosstown rival General Mills. And the doughboy remains a fixture in marketing Pillsbury's refrigerated dough.

The character was created in 1965 by Chicago's storied Leo Burnett advertising agency. Rudy Perz, a Burnett copywriter who died this year, had a vision: A little dough guy popping out of a Pillsbury can.

Known for his giggle, the Doughboy was first voiced in commercials by Paul Frees, also the voice of Boris Badenov, cartoon villain on the 1960s "Rocky & Bullwinkle" show.