Shop locally & win-win-win
By Bob Arnold
It’s win-win-win for local shoppers, the businesses they patronize and the local economy when Wesson folk buy their Christmas gifts in town.
The convenience offered by going first to Another Time. . . .Another Place, Busy B’s, Dollar General, Family Dollar and the Mall Town Antique and Flea Market Mall and Wesson Ace Hardware, among other local businesses, before driving off to an out-of-town store saves shoppers time and money on gas for their cars. The local businesses, meanwhile, enjoy the benefits of sales dollars. In the process, the local economy grows because every dollar spent at a local business generates 3.5 dollars that are recirculated to create more local jobs and fund government services supported by taxes.
Scratch off the names on your Christmas list when you shop locally at:
Another Time. . . .Another Place, which has moved to a new location on Highway 51. In the small one-room white cottage in front of Mill Town Mall, Janet Currie is analyzing the wants and needs of her customers as she downsizes and addresses online competition, but continues to offer an array of quality, relatively low-cost gift possibilities. For this Christmas season, she recommends flower arrangements, vintage jewelry, metal ware, ornaments and decorative accessories, such as crosses.
Busy B's & Salon 51 at Highway 51 & Factory Street. At Busy B’s, Vera Boyles features a wide array of clothing for infants and toddlers -- dresses, play suits, jumpers and gowns -- and juniors -- pageant and prom dresses. At the Salon 51 side of her business, Christmas shoppers can purchase gift certificates for salon services and hair care products, which make good stocking stuffers.
Dollar General on Spring Street has the elements that will turn your home into a warm and welcoming setting to celebrate the Christmas and holiday season – artificial trees and florals, ornaments and lighting, candles and scents and assorted décor to create the special ambiance along with candies, holiday mugs for coffee, tea, eggnog and other seasonal drinks and kitchen essentials with a Christmas flare for get-togethers with family and friends. For gifts, consider sheet, quilt and comforter sets, bed pillows, bath towels and cosmetics.
Family Dollar on Highway 51 just south of Wesson Baptist Church, not be outdone by its Spring Street competitor, is another place to shop for holiday décor and social gatherings and gifts, with Christmas trees, lights and ornaments; holiday candies, an array of toys for the kids and home items, including glasses and small appliances.
Mill Town Antiques and Flea Market Mall houses some 70 vendors under its roof on Highway 51 between Factor and Spring Streets. It’s a unique alternative to Walmart that offers almost everything -- and more – with a touch of the “old,” even “historic” in gift items that set them apart and give them distinction: knives, collectible coins, glassware, jewelry, including handmade items; leather goods, clothing, furniture, pottery.
Wesson Ace Hardware on Highway 51 across from Mill Town Mall. For the people on gift list who enjoy browsing extensive hardware store inventories, gift cards in amounts up to $500 are a good choice. Pick up Christmas trees, decorations and lighting, and those who enjoy wrapping gifts for friends and family can select from gas and wood pellet grills and smokers by Weber, Traeger and Big Green Egg; power tools and accessories by DeWalt, Milwaukee and Craftsman; and heaters and humidifiers. In midst of the hardware items are Sherpa fleece throws and Muk Luks women’s cabin socks, wool boot socks and women’s ballerina slippers, which are also nice gifts.
A few other places to stop while shopping:
Ashley's 51 on Highway 51, where proprietor Jarred Ashley has built an animal feed business in addition to his human food service. Hunters might find ground blinds and turkey calls there.
Shop 'n Wash, the Ashley family's sister store beside the railroad tracks on the north side of town, is a solely a human food venue, with grocery items and various takeout selections, and offers pizza gift certificates and Marathon gas cards that make good stocking stuffers.
Copiah Nutrition on Highway 51 – a place to grab an energy drink while shopping, and add a gift card to the shopping cart at the same time for someone who will appreciate the healthy meal replacement shakes, energy teas, pre and post workout drinks, high protein snacks and other Herbalife products it sells at its Wesson location or on its website.
Dump's Barbeque, a restaurant where Christmas shoppers can not only order food for parties and dinners, but acquire the secret sauce that gives its smoked meats a distinctly different flavor. Owner Ken Dale Sullivan sells it in pint and quart size mason jars. Buy a gift card for barbeque lovers.
Uncle Ray’s bait shop, convenience store and eatery across from Lake Lincoln State Park on Sunset Drive sells its famed chicken gumbo by the quart.
That's just for starters -- some of the more visible Christmas shopping stops in town. But if you ask around, you may find a home-based artisan or craftsperson with interesting gifts. You can even find your Christmas tree a few miles out of town, where Gary Keller grows them and will cut down your choice on his ten-acre property on Highway 51 in Beauregard. Whether its local arts and crafts, collectibles, something different to use, wear or eat and drink, Wesson is often the place to find what is unavailable or not easily found elsewhere.
"Out-of-town visitors often think they have made a surprise discovery when they stumble on stores and restaurants in Wesson that residents often take for granted," Mill Town Mall's Melissa Meredith says.
Local businesses are the backbone of a community. When you shop locally, you get to know the people behind the business and you enjoy a connection you would not otherwise have. Local businesses also buy locally themselves. They hire architects, designers, cabinet shops, sign makers and contractors for construction. They use local accountants, insurance brokers, computer consultants, attorneys, advertising agencies help run it. Local businesses give communities their flavor. The combined presence many local businesses makes it different from every other city or town in the world. By supporting those businesses, you help preserve the uniqueness Wesson. Local businesses define our sense of place, and their survival depends on our patronage.