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Farm economy lifts holiday spirits in rural stores

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OLIVIA -- For most of the country, the Christmas shopping countdown starts today.

For retailers in rural communities in west central Minnesota, the countdown began sometime in October or early November, when the last of the corn crop was harvested.

"We would expect a strong holiday season,'' said Steve Dirks, of Dirks Furniture in Olivia. Dirks said his store enjoys a loyal clientele due to its reputation, and consequently tends to see good sales during the holiday period.

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