Stop before you get in your car and drive off to buy your Christmas gifts!
Check out Wesson first: Ace Hardware, Family Dollar, Dollar General, Mill Town Mall, Busy B's, Another Time. . . . Another Place, among other local businesses that can not only help you find special items on your shopping list, but you can help as well as they seek to rebuild in an economic climate still under the cloud of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Among 70 vendors housed under the roof of Mill Town Mall on the east side of Highway 51 between Factory and Spring Streets, you can find nearly everything -- and more -- for relatives and friends on your gift list, says proprietor Melissa Meredith. Knives, collectible coins, glassware, jewelry, including handmade items; leather goods, clothing, furniture, pottery.
Next door to Mill Town Mall is Fil-Am Produce and Grocery Store where you can find fresh apples, oranges, grapes and bananas to make your own special gift box for the health-minded on your gift list.
At Busy B's on the east side of Highway 51 across from the Milltown Mill at Factory Street inside Salon 51, Vera Boyles features a wide array of clothing for infants and toddlers -- dresses, play suits, jumpers and gowns -- and juniors -- pageant and prom dresses.
Boyles' Salon 51 also offers gift certificates for her salon services and hair care products, which make good stocking stuffers.
Across Highway 51 on the corner of Spring Street at Mill Town Salon and Spa, owner/manager Angie Wade suggests hair care products, gift certificates for manicures, pedicures, massages and hair care services; and special Christmas sweat shirts.
Wesson Ace Hardware is across Spring Street from Mill Town Salon and Spa, facing Highway 51. Among a wide array of hardware items, you can find a Flexible Flyer snow sled -- a unique gift to be sure in a Southern town. You can also pick up your Christmas lights there and find various tools and tool sets for home fix-up and DIY. For the people on your gift list who enjoy browsing extensive hardware store inventories, you can purchase gift cards in amounts up to $500.
Next door is Ashley's 51 on the west side of Highway 51, where proprietor Jarred Ashley has built an animal feed business in addition to his human food service, ground blinds and turkey calls can be found for hunters on your gift list.
Shop 'n Wash, the Ashley family's sister store beside the railroad tracks on the north side of town, a solely a human food venue, with grocery items and various takeout selections, offers pizza gift certificates and Marathon gas cards for stocking stuffers.
On the south side of the Mill Town Mall on Spring Street -- Another Time. . . .Another Place -- a Wesson retail institution operated by Janet Currie -- offers an array of quality, relatively low-cost gift possibilities. For this Christmas season, Currie recommends plant arrangements, ornaments, jewelry and decorative items to dress up your home.
At Dollar General, also on Spring Street, you can find a gift that will please someone in any of its aisles, although candies, scents, soaps and skin lotions are some of the best gift buys.
Around the corner on Church Street at the rear of Another Time. . . .Another Place is Dump's Barbeque, a restaurant stop, 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 the barbeque lovers on your gift list.
Going north on Highway 51, Family Dollar is on the west side of road south of Wesson Baptist Church. There manger Treaz Chonna points out an array of toys for the kids, home items, including glasses and small appliances; Christmas trees, lights and ornaments; and candy.
Further north on Highway 51 going out of town is the expansive Steel Outdoors metal fabricating plant, which houses a retail store where you can buy the varied consumer products it sells nationally -- deer feeders, deer blinds, fire pits and cookers and decorative metal items for inside and outside homes.
Across Highway 51 from Steel Outdoors is another small eatery, which Ana Mason operates for the health-and- nutrition-conscious. At Copiah Nutrition, you can get an energy boost for continued Christmas shopping, and buy a gift card for someone who will appreciate its healthy meal replacement shakes, energy teas, pre and post workout drinks and high protein snacks.
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 Meredith says.
Research reports show that for every dollar spent at a local business, 3.5 dollars are re-circulated into the local economy, which creates more local jobs. 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.