- Real Estate
- Paris Flash
Black Friday is over and Cyber Monday is a day away, but there’s still plenty of shopping to do in Paris! Yesterday, several downtown businesses participated in Small Business Saturday. All day long, customers were able to browse through their favorite downtown stores without the Black Friday hustle and bustle. There were no special hours, no blink-and-miss deals. Just a great opportunity to take advantage of all that historic downtown has to offer.
Small Business Saturday is a facet of a much bigger effort known as Shop Small. While Small Business Saturday only occurs once a year (the Saturday after Thanksgiving), Shop Small is a year-round movement targeted toward helping small businesses stand out and attract new customers, no matter the season.
Several businesses participated yesterday, including Collegiate Shoppe, Itsy Bitsy Spider, Paris Baby and Green Boutique.
According to Robin Weemes, owner of Itsy Bitsy Spider, the movement was created by American Express. Founded in 2010, it serves as a sort of unofficial holiday for smaller businesses in the wake of Black Friday. Other than just showing their support for local businesses, registered cardholders received a bonus when they made purchases with their cards.
“If they use their American Express card at any of the shops that [are] listed on the American Express small business map, then they get a $10 credit on their statement from American Express,” Weemes said.
Shop Small, and in turn Small Business Saturday, benefits not only the participating shops, but other businesses as well. Shopping at local businesses not only helps boost the community’s economy, but can also provide and create more jobs. According to Melissa Gordon, co-owner of Paris Baby, approximately 52 cents out of every dollar spent today will stay in the community. While it’s currently the busiest time of year for shops and stores, hopefully with the help of Small Business Saturday, the busyness will no longer be seasonal.
“It…sheds light on shopping small year round because the more you spend in your community, the more it stays here,” she said. “It’s just a movement to try to help small businesses, like Paris Baby and others downtown.”
Gordon also added that any new customers, no matter the business, are always appreciated.
“If one new customer comes in and just to experience our business for the first time, I think it’s a win,” she said. “Same thing, if we shed light on another neighbor downtown.”
In the age of online shopping, many may prefer to make purchases from the comfort of their own homes. By shopping locally, shoppers help give back to the community. Though the businesses are open year-round, awareness generated even by just one day can help greatly. Kari Daniel, owner of Green Boutique, stated that with advertisements, both on television and on logos around town, people can be prepared to begin their shopping expeditions locally.
“I think having the Shop Small logo everywhere and seeing the commercials, it just kind of gets people’s mindset a little bit differently for it, so they don’t think of the big box first,” she said. “They think of shop small first, so I think definitely anything nationwide that pushes shop small will help all of us.”
Even though a credit card company initiated the movement, customers who wish to pay with cash, check or debit need not be discouraged. Anyone can play their part in helping the community and local businesses.
The next Small Business Saturday is scheduled for November 29, 2014. For more information, check out the Small Business Saturday Facebook page or visit the Shop Small site at www.americanexpress.com/us/small-business/Shop-Small/.
By Courtney McNeal, eParisExtra
The Santa Paws for a Cause 1 mile Dog Parade is set for 10:00 a.m. December 14, 2013 on the west side of the JJ Culbertson Fountain in Historic downtown Paris, Texas. Formally the Santa Paw’s Dog Dash, the event has added several new twists. Family’s are encouraged to enter this pet friendly event in historic downtown. Non-motorized Floats are welcome or owners may just “Strut their Mutt.” The Parade is benefiting the Lamar County Humane Association and the Salvation Army Angel Tree program. Parade line up begins at 9:45 a.m.
Everyone is invited to the pre-parade activities beginning at 8:30 am with “Bone-a- petite” breakfast of a Schlotzsky’s mini cinnabon and coffee, benefiting the Lamar County Humane Association. Other activities include free professional “pawtraits” with Santa Clause to all parade participants, opportunities to create 2013 a keepsake pooch “paw prints” ornaments benefiting the Salvation Army Angel Tree. Dogs and masters can try out the Ruff Rally Challenge Course, sponsored by Bar Lo Kennels. A professional dog trainer will be on site.
Several contests include best dressed holiday dog, best dressed master dog duo, most talented dog, and best floats, with prizes sponsored by PetCo. Spectators are encouraged to visit historic downtown Paris and cheer the dogs raising their paws for a cause. All dogs must be current on their vaccinations and their owners must register before entering the Parade of Champions. All paid registrations will receive a Santa Paws for a Cause commemorative t-shirt and dog bandana while supplies last.
For more information, please contact City of Paris Main Street Coordinator Cheri Bedford, 903-784-9293 or email Cbedford@paristexas.gov. Or visit www.holidayinparistexas.com and download an entry form. Cost: $20 for pre-registration thru Friday December 13th at noon, $25 on December 14th. Organizers are promising a howling good time for dogs and their companions.
John House has purchased the building at the corner of Grand Avenue and West Plaza and plans to renovate and convert it into a restaurant with the help of the original Cajun Moon’s owner.
“Maggie Broussard will be the food consultant at Cajun Moon Bar and Grill,” he said. “Her grandparents operated a Cajun restaurant in the 1940s in Louisiana, so she grew up in the Cajun restaurant business and uses her family recipes.”
House expects his downtown eatery to open in the first quarter of 2014. The Cajun Moon should seat around 80 as they dine and listen to live entertainment.
The restaurant-to-be is next door 107 Grand Ave., where Bret and Sherrie Holbert are in the process of converting a long-vacant and dilapidated building into a beer and wine garden.
The location, 101 Grand Ave, previously housed Living Your Life Photography studio and Outlaw Music Movies and Games.
House wants to keep as much of the building original as possible.
“It’s convenient downtown. It overlooks the Plaza and fountain, and it should have a good dining atmosphere,” he said. “The building downtown housed the old Odd Fellows meeting room on the top floor, and it still has their old neon sign attached to the building. The bottom floor was the old Palace Drug No. 2 in the early days and still has the mirrors in the wall from the original soda fountain.”
The original Cajun Moon was located on Highway 271 in Powderly. After a fire, the business moved to the old Airport Drive-in building near Highway 271 South and Airport Road.
Broussard is also consultant for Maggie’s Southern Kitchen at 3965 Bonham, which opened in early October. House said that restaurant plans to move next door to 4015 Bonham in about two months to a new, renovated site with more parking.
By Jeff Parish, eParisExtra
Within just two short weeks, Creative Candy Designs will be moved into a new home and ready for business. Since its relocation in 2011, it has provided anyone and everyone the opportunity to indulge in gourmet treats, all the while enjoying the historic downtown atmosphere.
Janet Grammer and Melissa Wickersham have owned and operated the shop since May 2013.
The business will remain downtown, but will move into 122 Lamar Avenue, in one of three buildings that formerly comprised the YWCA. The properties, which also include an alley and a parking lot, were purchased earlier this summer by Wickersham, Mrs. Grammer and her husband Tim Grammer.
The store is the latest business to move into the space. In one building lies three nonprofit organizations; in another is the newly-opened Margie’s Closet (co-owned by the Grammers), a community center, an upstairs dojo and a ballet center. Creative Candy will occupy the space (previously the YWCA’s gymnasium) next to Margie’s Closet.
According to Wickersham, they were content with the location when they first purchased the business. After acquiring the YWCA property, however, they decided to move the shop to the unoccupied space, where they will be able to run Creative Candy and Margie’s Closet side-by-side. Wickersham looks forward to the opportunity to own and operate both building and business.
“We were renting the property here and we had the opportunity to buy and actually invest in downtown,” she said. “And that, I think, lends viability to our business, to be owners.”
No matter its location, the shop can always be counted on to be unique and fun, both in its design and in its food and snacks. An abundance of treats awaits anyone who enters, including homemade fudge, toffee, chocolate, caramel, popcorn and candy bouquets. Fried pies, beef jerky, fruit bouquets, chocolate covered bacon and gift baskets are also available. All of these services and more will still be offered in the new location, but Grammer says to expect a “new ambience.”
“We’re going for kind of more like the Grease look, 1950s, because we left the basketball goals up in the gym, and so the inside of the gym’s turquoise and yellow and bright pops of color, and we left the basketball floor down, too, so that’s going to be fun,” Wickersham said. “Then we just got approval to redo the front, so we’ll have a little patio out front like we do over here, and a big display glass window, so that’s kind of fun and neat.”
While the shop currently offers a plethora of items from which to choose, Wickersham hasn’t ruled out the idea of new additions.
“We’ve been asked to look at doing an actual…old soda fountain and maybe like an ice cream,” she said. “We’re not there yet, but those are things that we’re looking into.”
Construction and preparation of the space has been rapid, but visitors need not worry. They can expect the shop to meet only the highest standards in every facet. Wickersham praised the crew who has made the relocation possible.
“Our construction crew has done phenomenal, because in two weeks, they’ve put air conditioning, plumbing, electricity and a new facade on the front and a new facade on the back,” she said.
Plans to begin the move are during the weekend following Thanksgiving, with goals to reach completion by December 1st and a reopening on December 3rd.
“[We hope to be] cleaned, setup, inspected hopefully Monday or Tuesday and reopen,” Wickersham said. “Then we’ll do a grand reopening probably right in there.”
The business is still open in its current location from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Monday-Friday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays. Mark your calendars for the grand reopening of Creative Candy Designs, next to Margie’s Closet and across from Green Boutique. It will be here before you know it!
For more information, contact Melissa Wickersham at 903-785-0432.
By Courtney McNeal, eParisExtra
Although things are quickly ramping up for the Christmas season, Santa Claus took some time from his busy schedule to read to dozens of children, parents and grandparents at Paris Public Library on Saturday.
“It’s for all ages. I have adults who want to get into the childlike spirit of Christmas,” Children’s Librarian Tracy Hoffart said. “Stories are fun for everyone. I encourage all ages to come for story time with Santa.”
Although she was Santa’s host at the library, Hoffart said Main Street Coordinator Cheri Bedford set the story time up as part of this year’s holiday festivities downtown.
Santa Claus is scheduled to return for more story time at 11 a.m. Dec. 7 and 11:15 a.m. Dec. 14.
Wreaths and bows adorned the walls. A reindeer, snowman and other figures rested near Santa’s chair. Stockings were hung from the ceiling with care, and a table sat nearby with several books in the hopes that Saint Nicholas soon would be there.
“I heard Santa’s sleigh in the sky,” Hoffart told the kids near 11 a.m. “I heard a light jingle-jingle. I think he’s on his way.”
A few minutes later, the jolly old elf strode in the door with books in hand, offering his trademark laugh and wishing everyone a merry Christmas.
Story time took place in a room the library uses for special children’s programs so Hoffart could keep the temperature down.
“He’s got a brand new suit,” she said. “It’s nice, but it’s pretty hot.”
Indeed, as he ventured to his seat, Santa could be heard breathing heavily. Even with the air conditioning on, he still needed a fan to keep him from overheating.
One boy ventured the opinion that North Pole must be awesome.
“It’s awesome all over the world,” he replied.
Santa displayed a sharp eye, recognizing adults he delivered to as children, even spying the “big kid back there with a camera” from eParis Extra.
He read All You Need for a Snowman, Frosty the Snowman and Merry Christmas, Merry Crow. After the first book, Hoffat sat beside Santa to help him turn pages and present the stories.
“Ms. Claus couldn’t make it,” Santa said. “She had to take care of all those elves.”
Given that the books featured Christmas stories, it came as little surprise when children spotted him in the illustrations.
“I see you, Santa!” one girl said. “I see you in the book.”
The stories weren’t the only thing on children’s minds.
“I want to see your reindeer, Santa,” one girl said.
“They’re out in the street,” he replied. “It’s hard to land here with all the trees.”
Santa took time after the stories to talk to kids about what they wanted for Christmas and let parents take pictures. Even Hoffart and District 6 Councilwoman Cleonne Drake posed in Saint Nick’s lap. Interestingly, although Santa Claus is known to reside at the North Pole, sources close to the old elf have told eParis Extra he bears a striking resemblance to Stephen Holmes, a former Paris Police officer.
Tracy Hoffart also conducts private field trips for school classes and daycares. If anyone is interested, call the library at 903-785-8531.