Enjoy your Thanksgiving Weekend, Shop Small and Local!

So, most of you know that I used to work at a hotel near Southpark Mall in Colonial Heights. I drove in on Black Friday for my paycheck once. The traffic backups started well south of the exit, and the drive from the Interstate to the hotel took nearly half an hour. Had I known what the trip to the bank was going to be like, I would have walked. Had I known what the whole trip to Colonial Heights would have been like, I would have waited until the next day I worked.

I find it odd that people give up time with their families on Thanksgiving to put their selves through this.

Here is another option, though…Shop Small and Shop Local right here in Emporia.

If it is Christmas that you are looking for, stop by Picture Perfect Custom Framing and Gifts. Stephanie and Clements Mayes have expanded and now offer a wide selection of gifts including Jim Shore and Possible Dreams Santas. In addition, there many other gift options including scented candles and soaps, Scout Bags, Corkcicle insulated beverage ware, wreathes, bows, Old world Christmas Ornaments and, of course, custom framing.

In the same building as Picture Perfect is Clements Mayes Photography. Save yourself a ton of time on gift wrapping and cash on shipping and still make grandma happy enough to cry – give her photos of her grandchildren (they’ll make grandpa happy too, but he’ll be a bit more subtle about it). Be sure to talk to Clements and arrange a sitting for you, the kids or the whole family. When the day of the sitting gets close, get everyone gussied up and practice those glowing smiles for grandma.

While you’re parked so close, walk on down to Twice Told Treasures and check out Leandra’s varied selection of gently used and consignment merchandise. There is a little bit of everything in this gem of a shop, and surely you can find a gift for that hard to buy for person on your list. For Saturday only Leandra is offering 20% off most merchandise. If you have trouble finding something, she also has Gift Certificates available

Right next door check out True Patriot’s Antiques. Harvey has some great gifts and this is another great place for that one person that you can never find a Christmas gift for. Stop by and see what speaks to you.  Harvey also has Gift Certificates and is offering a 20% discount storewide

When you are done there, don’t forget City Auto. Yes, it is a hardware and appliance store. Admit it, though, your spouse has been none too subtle about that washing machine that won’t spin and the noisy dryer. The hints about wanting his own refrigerator in the garage have been getting louder and louder, too. I know that there are some that would be insulted by the gift of a dishwasher, refrigerator or laundry pair, but not everyone is. 

Surely you have done enough shopping to deserve lunch. Lucky for you, there is no need to move the car or find another parking place. Three Bears in a Tree has a wonderful lunch menu. I have never had a bad meal here.

Ok, now the car has to be moved. At the next stop you can find a gift and do some good. Samaritan House Thrift may take a bit of work, but it really can be worth it. Like all thrift stores it can be hit and miss, but yes, it can pay off. The best part is that shopping here helps the Samaritan Helping Hands Home meet the needs of their ministry.

It is a good bet that someone on your Christmas gift list would like some clothes. Stop by Slaone’s Boutique in the Emporia Shopping Center. Surely you can find an outfit or two without heading out of town.

While you are at the Emporia Shopping Center, don’t forget  Monte’s Flowers. Not only can you send an arrangement to a loved one out of town, but there are all sorts of gifts.

Just off of North Main Street is Thorpe’s Whole Home Store. Once again, I do know that this sounds like a home improvement store. Mixed in with the tile, paint and carpet samples, though, are fishing tackle, tee shirts, scented soaps and candles and much more are here to be under your tree.

You’re almost to the next stop-the Hospital Auxiliary Gift shop at SVRMC. Once again, there is a little bit of everything in this small shop. Proceeds from sales help the Auxiliary with their work in the hospital.

Just across North Main Street from the hospital are two businesses to Emporia. The Emporia Building Company has a wide array of home-renovation materials. New wall-to-wall carpeting or kitchen tile is not the normal Christmas gift, but, once again, perfect for some.

Ced’s Auto Detailing is a great spot for Dad, Grandpa, that uncle with the ’67 Pontiac or even your kid who really doesn’t care what the inside of car looks like.

Head south on Main Street, over the bridge and stop at CJ’s Pawn and Furniture. There is new and used furniture, housewares, tools, appliances and too much else to list. In addition, there are electronics-from televisions to laptops-and jewelry.

Right before you get to Low Ground Road you will see So Addictive Boutique. Her shop is just as full as her window. We always have that one person on our lists for which an outfit is the perfect gift.  This is the place to shop for that person.

Heading south on Main Street you will find the Red Barn. Yes, filling stations can have decent gifts. For the Football fan on your list there is a great selection of NFL merchandise. Lottery tickets are also available at the Red Barn, and Lottery tickets-either scratchers or Mega Millions or Power Ball-make great stocking stuffers or card fillers.

The last shopping stop on the list is in Skippers. The Good Earth Peanut Company has everything you need for the last of the people on your list. You can get peanuts in bags or tins-in the shell and out.  They also have a great selection of gift assortments, trail mixes, nut-butters and preserves. They do have more than peanuts; you can get cashews, pecans, almonds and pistachios. The best part of shopping here, besides the double dipped chocolate covered peanuts and butter toasted pecans that you grab for yourself, is that Good Earth can ship your gifts almost anywhere, which will save you a trip to the post office.

Now that you have all of your gifts in hand or are having them shipped, head to Arby’s for dinner. The turkey leftovers will keep, and you’ve been out and about all day today with no time to think about what to do with those left overs. While you are there, grab some Curly Fry Cash Cards for Stocking Stuffers of for regular gifts.

While Emporia does not have all of the local retail stores that we once did, there is still a good enough selection of stores that you can skip Black Friday to spend time with your friends and family. Start a Trivial Pursuit Tournament or Monopoly Marathon. If the weather is nice, gather all the kids in the neighborhood and host a kick-ball game with some spiced cider at half-time.