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Last-minute shopping? Stay in town

LaGRANGE – This weekend marks one week left to finish Christmas shopping, and local stores are pulling out all the stops to help connect people with great gifts this holiday season.

Local stores are ready with special sales and friendly staff to help residents find gifts for everyone on their Christmas list this year while supporting the local economy.

For the fashionista

Between Stephen’s Exclusives, Whimzey, Elliebelle’s, Thrifty Kids, Dry Falls and more, there is a great selection of clothing and gifts available for the fashionista in your life regardless of your budget.

“We have fun jewelry and little accessories that (make good gifts) and definitely holiday attire and New Year’s Eve attire,” said Amy Warren of An Affair to Remember. “… We have cards that the brides can fill out (saying what they want). That is the advantage of shopping local too is we all know each other, so we can help each other out with if they have their eye on something special.”

These locally owned stores offer major brand names, but with personal attention from shop owners who take the time to get to know their customers’ want and needs that can make a remarkable difference in the shopping process.

For the outdoors lover

If someone on your Christmas list is the type of person who would rather be out on a trail then indoors, then local stores are excited to help find the perfect gift for them too.

“A bike is always a good thing for Christmas, everybody needs a bike,” said Rick Brock of Golden’s Bike Shop. “If you already have a bike, and you are looking for things to add to it – you know a rack to stand your bike on, shoes to bike with, really good sunglasses – these are all good ideas.”

Brock had a variety of general recommendations, but according to him, the best thing to do for a serious cyclist is have the cyclist come into the store and create an in-store wish list, so that the gift giver can get the cyclist exactly what they have been wishing for.

The Army Store downtown also features a variety of great gifts from camo to boots to athletic gear that are perfect for the outdoorsman (or woman) in your life, and with custom embroidery and screen printing available, it is easy to make those gifts as special as the person receiving them.

“We customize all the gifts if anybody wants their carry bag with embroidered initials on,” said Stephen Edelson of The Army Store. “…You’ve got insulated clothing for the cold weather for the hunter or the working man.”

For the hostess

Downtown LaGrange also features a selection of stores to choose from when it comes to furnishing the table, whether it be your own or a gift for your favorite hostess.

“First thing I’d do, we’d pick out a placemat, and then we’d work from that placemat,” said Peggie Scott of Plum Southern. “Mix and match items. Mix and match place settings… Come up with a centerpiece for you and all of the accessories. We really can pull a lot of things for you if we have the main colors that you want to go with.”

This personalized assistance sets these stores apart, and both Plum Southern and Tournesol feature bridal registries to help guide gift givers shopping for dining accessories for their soon to be married friends and family.

A short stroll down the promenade from these options sits ZuZu’s petals, where residents can pick up beautifully refinished furniture and one of a kind decorations for loved ones who are looking for something special to really make their design scheme pop. This store also offers an in store registry to help shoppers take note of their Christmas wishes and an online option for people who would like to shop local but just can’t seem to make it out of the office.

For a classic touch

Finally, LaGrange offers several antique stores including Bradley’s Antiques, Marketplace on Main, Red Door, Southern Charm – at Wares Cross Road – and BA Evans Home House on Hamilton Road.  These stores offer items big and small, to local shoppers searching for that special “something” for that hard to shop for person on their list.

Shopping local keeps money in the community

In this age of online shopping and national chain stores, it is important to remember the power that each purchase has to help keep local businesses open and successful, and the LaGrange-Troup County Chamber of Commerce urges residents keep that in mind as they finish this year’s holiday shopping.

“We urge residents and business owners to spend their dollars locally,” said Chamber President Page Estes. “When collectively, our community takes our hard earned dollars to another city or town, we see local business owners – our neighbors, our family, our friends – suffer. Together we can create a positive economic impact in our community if we all make a concentrated effort to buy goods and services locally whenever possible.”

Shopping local doesn’t mean limited choices either thanks to the variety of stores now featured around town. There is now a wide variety of options available to shoppers to find something for everyone on their list.

“I would just like to say that I think people would be surprised at how many great little gifts we have throughout – especially downtown,” said Warren. “… We have some cute, local, unique gifts that we think it is an important thing to show support for your community.”

If you would like to shop local but are unsure of what the best gift for someone on your list is, the chamber offers Shop at Home gift certificates that are honored at more than 30 stores and restaurants in the area. Gift certificates can be purchased at the chamber office on Bull Street.

Reach Alicia B. Hill at alicia.hill@lagrangenews.com or at 706-884-7311, Ext. 2154.