Give the gift of Central Texas

A clerk makes a sale earlier today at Zooty’s Boutique, a women’s clothing store in Temple’s Pecan Plaza Shopping Center.  Zooty’s is one of Temple’s many specialty retail shops that have tremendous selections for holiday shopping. David Stone photo

Upcoming events provide opportunities for local shopping


This year, before hopping online to do your holiday shopping at a dot-com giant — or fighting I-35 traffic to Austin — consider the unique gifts that can be purchased right here in the Temple, Belton and Salado areas.

We all know how easy and convenient it is to push a few buttons online and do that holiday shopping — no crowds, no fuss. But when you opt to spend your hard-earned money with Amazon or other online giants, that cash is gone forever. 

Instead of lining the pockets of corporate America, why not support your friends, neighbors, and in some cases, your family?

“If someone is dedicated to shopping locally they will find a wealth of small shops in the area,” said Rod Henry, president of the Temple Chamber of Commerce. “You may not be able to fill all of your holiday needs, but you can check a lot of people off your list.”

Henry recommends exploring Temple area specialty shops, and buying gift cards from restaurants, breweries and wineries, night spots and shops. 

Spending money at home not only keeps the businesses you spend with afloat, there is a huge trickle-down effect. That $25 gift card you bought down the street supports the entire community. 

Small local businesses stick together. You spend with them, they spend with others in town. The money stays here and keeps the goods and services we need in town as well. 

Local businesses support our youth programs such as baseball, soccer and livestock projects. They help keep food banks full for the less fortunate. And, they support programs for veterans, for the elderly, for us all. 

“Shopping at home supports local needs,” Henry said. “It helps a person pay their mortgage, put braces on their kids and put food on their table.”

Henry said every dollar spent in the Temple area helps make the community better, stronger and safer.

“The stores, restaurants and other businesses you patronize pay taxes,” he said. “These taxes help pay for local services we need and expect such as police, fire and road maintenance. These businesses also pay salaries and wages to our neighbors.”

In addition to the many shops and service-oriented businesses in the Temple and Belton areas, there are several upcoming events that focus on shopping locally.

HOLIDAY AROUND TOWN: The Temple and Belton chambers of commerce co-sponsor this event at 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 10 at the Bell County Expo Center. Local vendors and businesses set up a small shop for the evening and offer a glimpse of items that are available locally. Only 100 booths are available, and as of today about half are already gone. Vendors must be a member of either chamber organization. The Expo staff provide drinks and appetizers. Call Kaylee Blumenfeld at the Temple Chamber to sign up. (254) 773-2105.

FIRST FRIDAY: Downtown Temple merchants, restaurants, breweries and bars offer a variety of deals on the first Friday night of each month. There are two First Friday events before Christmas — one on Nov. 4, the other on Dec. 2. Not only does First Friday offer shopping at specialty, antique and gift shops, it’s also a great time for dining, drinking and watching live music. 

ST. NICHOLAS MARKET at Christ Episcopal Church: Shop local artists, vendors and local businesses at the church, 300 N. Main in Temple. The Market will be open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 4, and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 5. Proceeds benefit local ministries. These are select, very talented artisan vendors with a great selection of gifts.

NOVEMBER MARKET: Hosted by the Temple Small Business Coalition, the November Market will be from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the City Hall parking lot. There’s a lot of vendors that attend this event. Salsas and jams, bread, shirts, jewelry, soap and gift items galore. To register as a vendor, sign up at the Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/events/1417013628702057.

HOLIDAY MARKET & FOOD TRUCK FRENZY: This is the Temple Small Business Coalition’s December market. In addition to the regular market vendors and businesses, a fleet of food trucks will be in the City Hall parking lot. To register as a vendor, visit https://www.facebook.com/events/743342106649561.

SMALL BUSINESS SATURDAY: Downtown businesses will be open for holiday shopping on Saturday, Nov. 26. The event is traditionally held on the day following Black Friday. In addition to shopping, restaurants and clubs will offer food and drink specials. This is a great time to purchase gift cards for favorite restaurants and watering holes not only Downtown but throughout the city

BELTON MARKET DAYS: There are a couple market events between now and Christmas in Belton, starting this Saturday. The market is open in Downtown Belton from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Expect to find local crafts, food vendors, live music and more. Also, downtown Belton retailers will be open and offering Market Day specials. Market Days also will be held from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 19, To sign up as a vendor, visit https://www.downtownbelton.com/

SALADO CHRISTMAS STROLL: The village of Salado “looks a lot like Christmas” during the annual stroll on the first two weekends in December. Dozens of shops open their doors on Friday and Saturday until 9 p.m. for late-night shopping for unique merchandise.

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