It’s getting to be that time of year when downtown Waxahachie gets busy decorating for the holidays and our stores begin stocking their shelves with Christmas merchandise in anticipation of fourth quarter sales.
When my husband and I opened the Doves Nest in 1994, I never thought we would be preparing for our twenty fourth Christmas season. But here we are, proud to call Waxahachie our home and grateful for our success. Over the years we have seen our downtown transform from almost a ghost town into a destination for locals and tourists alike. More people are living in our downtown lofts, dining in our restaurants, sipping lattes in our coffee shops and we are finally seeing true revitalization begin to happen.
The holiday shopping season can make up 0 to 40 percent of the total year’s revenue for some of our merchants. You’re not just buying for others when you shop or eat locally — you’re doing yourself a favor, too. Economic studies show that local independent retailers return over three times as much money, per purchase, as the big chain stores. Creating and sustaining a stronger local economy is critical to our long-term success. None of this is intended to knock box stores, chain restaurants, shopping malls or the internet. I understand our residents have jobs with those businesses too. They all have their place and I certainly take advantage of shopping at Costco and ordering from Amazon Prime throughout the year, but I urge you this holiday season to spend some time shopping and dining in your own backyard. Whether it’s a sense of pride, a feeling of duty or the genuine support of a friend or family member, knowing that your dollar has gone to not only a member of the community but to a business owner, that you trust, should ake every purchase that much more special.
“Small businesses are often major contributors to the heart of a community. When we shop locally, we help maintain these businesses that contribute to your child’s school project, sports groups, donate items for fundraising raffles and employ locals.”
Business owners also become mentors and decision-makers in the community, working with governments to improve infrastructure like parking and sidewalks that benefit the community at large. I have enjoyed many years serving on the board of our Waxahachie Downtown Merchants Association as well as our Chamber of Commerce and Waxahachie Partnership, Inc. If you have noticed the construction in our Doves Nest parking lot, the city has built an art wall or fence called Love Locks. The Ellis County Museum is selling red heart shaped pad locks you can purchase for $10 and all the proceeds go to the museum. You can also bring your own lock and attach it to the fence declaring your love for someone. The city encourages you to take a photo and post it using #hachieheart.
If there is one thing I have learned in these twenty four years, Waxahachie is full of people who care about their community and work hard to support it. Who knows, maybe you’ll get more than just a gift or meal while out shopping local this season. Perhaps you’ll feel a little bit of the pride and joy knowing you are giving business to someone who cares about giving you a quality product over just collecting your hard earned dollars.
May Waxahachie always have a place in your heart and I wish you all a very blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year.