COLLEGE STATION, TEXAS — In what started out as a group of 10 small business-owners 4 years ago, has since grown to a group of nearly 50.
The annual Merry Marketplace was held at the Hilton in College Station Sunday afternoon.
Despite the challenges brought by COVID-19 on small business, event organizers say they wanted to be sure a safe shopping space could happen this holiday season.
"What's so special about buying local is they are not only paying their bills. This is sending their kids to soccer practice. This is paying for special events. This is buying Christmas presents for their own kids," Becca Keefauver, Coordinator of Merry Marketplace said.
Events like Merry Marketplace are not only critical for business owners, but to the community as well. The bucks spent here, stay here.
"Because when the small businesses flourish, our community flourishes. That's been the goal... Is to support our local small businesses and that's the whole reason we put on this event," Keefauver added.
This year, the 4th annual event's silent auction proceeds are supporting a new Brazos Valley non-profit, John's Boys, by raising awareness and funds for those in or facing the foster care system.
"You always think that this need isn't here. It's always somewhere else...in Houston...or Dallas...or somewhere else, but it's right here," Skylar Brown, President of John's Boys said.
Organizers with John's Boys say without help from the community, they wouldn't be able to assist those in need during a very critical time.
"Everything we get from this event, like the silent auction, all of the vendors put in something at the silent auction. Everything then goes to us. That's going to get more backpacks to the children and more supplies," Brown said. "It's kinda one of those examples of how this community reaches out to their own and it's been really good for us."
It's another avenue to showcase shopping small, leaving Brazos Valley business owners thankful.
"If we can't have events like this for small businesses like me or for small businesses here, that don't have a brick-and-mortar shops, that you can go into, well how else are you going to grow? How are you going to pay your bills?" Brittany Lammerts, Owner of Atlas Belle Studio said.
"We don't have the brick and mortar shops. We aren't in the department stores. We are not in the strip malls. We are not in these big places. We are regular people trying to hustle on the side," Joe Mawad, Owner of Skip's Custom Signs and Woodworking said. "Events like this are what help us survive and we are incredibly thankful we are here today and especially supporting a great cause as well," he added.
Merry Marketplace is an event encouraging shopping small all while making a big impact.