Nationally, 2010 marked the first year of Small Business Saturday, but in Central Texas' Lorena, they were ahead of the curve.
Saturday marked the 28th year of Christmas in the Country. The kickoff to the holidays is sponsored by the Community Action League of Lorena. The event is a festival, with an appearance by Santa, parades and a chance to support independent retailers.
Christmas in the Country welcomes booths of vendors who sell arts and crafts throughout the day. Businesses along Main Street are also open and see a nice boost from the festival.
Jordana Malkoff and friends were driving up to Dallas on I-35 when they decided to make a detour in Lorena.
"We were passing the billboard on the highway and thought it looked cool we love cheese so we decided to stop in," Malkoff said.
Malkoff and her friends decided to stop at Texas Cheese House. Malkoff said her interest was peaked by the stores all natural ingredients and her personal affinity for supporting small businesses.
"It's all real cheese no fillers and I really love seeing things that are home made and run by personal business owners. I just think it adds a level of intimacy and quality to the products you don't get with big brands or chains," she said.
The group is just a part of millions of people expected to support local retailers on Small Business Saturday. Experts say the money spent at neighborhood stores helps impact the local economy.
Texas Cheese House owner, Scott Simon, firmly believes in supporting the local and state economy. One of his rules when picking out items is, "It has to be Texas made," Simon said. While he bends the rules for some imports like the Goo Goo cluster from Tennessee the bulk of the items come from around the state.
And it translates to suppliers too. The milk used in the cheese comes from McGregor and all of the proteins are from local sources. "We have grass fed beef from troy organic pork from valley mills and free range chicken and eggs from Lorena," Simon said.
Simon isn't alone in his quest to support small business.
For the 28th year, Lorena's Christmas in the country lined Main Street with vendors giving shoppers a chance to pick up something unique.
Roger Cyr and wife Louisanne of Louisanne's Crafts have held a booth for three years. Cyr said his wife makes all of the items from baby blankets to dish towels and decorations. Each of the items is made with care.
"It's all things that she created herself and you don't find it anywhere else especially homemade," Cyr said.
And Scott believes that shopping local has its perks, "It's very helpful you know certainly for our bottom line but it's nice to see friends that you haven't seen in a while," he said.
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