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Small Business Saturday huge hit in Bastrop

By Terry Hagerty – Contributing writer/photographer

Downtown Bastrop was alive on November 25th with Small Business Saturday, in conjunction with the second annual Wassail Fest, the official kick-off to the 2017 Lost Pines Christmas holiday season in Bastrop.

Photo by Terry HagertyHeld across the nation each year between the bookends of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Small Business Saturday promotes local shopping which helps sustain small businesses that boost local economies while maintaining their locations – often in historic downtowns and neighborhoods. In Bastrop, the notion of supporting small businesses was evidently strong, as seen by the turnout of shoppers along Main Streets and other parts of town.

Barbara Bridges, Linda Kjellberg and Martee Ehardt at Bridges Emporium (Photo by Terry Hagerty)

At the Bridges Emporium, a collection of cozy artists’ lofts at 920 Main Street, owner Barbara Bridges was greeting guests and helping to serve up the popular wassail and cookies table at the back. “It helps Bastrop as a whole to have visitors come in and see what we have, and they come back. Whether they buy or they don’t, we enjoy having them,” Bridges said. When artist Linda Kjellberg, owner of Linda Kjellberg Artworks in the Emporium, was asked if she were aware that it was Small Business Saturday, she exclaimed with a laugh, “Of course we were aware, and we have been thanking people who came in for Small Business Saturday shopping.” 

Caledonia Cottage Quilts owner Sandra Grawunder with Karen Rigaud (Photo by Terry Hagerty)Karen Rigaud, who had stopped at Bastrop’s Caledonia Cottage Quilts at 922 Main Street, spoke about the spirit of supporting local businesses during Small Business Saturday. “It’s really nice to have a quilt shop so close to us. We like to shop local. Wherever we’ve moved, we’ve always tried to support local businesses,” Rigaud said. She also enjoyed the wassail being served up by Caledonia owner Sandra Grawunder. “This is wonderful, we are having a lot of visitors today, even non-quilters are buying,” Grawunder added.

Peggy Vallas greeted customers at Relics Jewelry & Gifts (Photo by Terry Hagerty)

Several shoppers queried along Main Street said that while they were making some purchases online this holiday season, they were also making sure to support Bastrop’s ‘brick-and-mortar’ stores. Peggy Vallas wasn’t waiting for shoppers to come inside Relics Jewelry & Gifts at 925 Main Street. Dressed in 1830s-era woman’s clothing, Vallas, who is also a seamstress at the Alamo, was greeting people on the sidewalk. “It's definitely brisk shopping, with a lot of customers today,” she said. “I’m telling shoppers what’s for sale and that there’s free wassail and cookies inside.” Children walking by with families seemed particularly enthralled with Vallas’ outfit. “It’s all about first impressions,” Vallas added.

Granny’s Garden & Grass Fed Beef at the 1832 Farmers Market (Photo by Terry Hagerty)Shopping was also brisk at other Bastrop locations. At the Bastrop 1832 Farmers Market at 1302 Chestnut Street, people were enjoying perusing and buying fresh produce, meats and items from several artists’ booths. Meagan Clark, who lives in Bastrop and was shopping with her daughter Maeve at the market, seemed to neatly sum up the spirit of shopping locally: “I love it at the 1832 Farmers Market,” Clark said. “We’re newly moved to Bastrop. Everyone at the market is so nice and friendly. And you know where your food comes from when you buy here. It’s important to keep Bastrop’s economy vital. We’d rather hang out here and shop than go into Austin. Plus, Bastrop has its own charm."