Three years ago, Jamie Houser, owner of Turner Houser Insurance Group, wanted to give small business owners their own storefront, if only just for a day. He organized, along with Wendy White Peeler, the Small Business Christmas Expo. In addition to bringing traffic and attention to these local small business owners, visitors to the expo can be exposed to the shopping and restaurants available in downtown Lincolnton.
“I’m a small business owner and I write coverage for small businesses,” Houser said. “I’m a local guy, I grew up in Lincoln County, so I want to help my city and my county grow their small businesses. Wendy is an event coordinator and has vendors who are small businesses.”
While there’s always going to be people who enjoy going to crowded malls during Black Friday or prefer to shop online, shopping local on Small Business Saturday can be a much more pleasant experience. It also helps out the mom and pop stores who in-turn support the local economy – so much more so than the big box stores.
“Giving them a storefront, if even just for one day, may take them over from being in the red to in the black,” Houser said. “To me it’s a win-win situation. The event has grown every year and I hope to top 1,000 people this year. These people are all coming from somewhere and they may want to go to have a meal at one of the restaurants or shop downtown once they leave the expo.”
There will be a wide range of vendors at the expo including local artisans, holiday decorations, woodwork, pottery, baked items, clothing, jewelry and much more. There will be food trucks in the parking lot and West Lincoln High School band members will be selling hot soup. There will also be a door price drawing with the proceeds to be used to purchase toys to be given out by Christian Ministry of Lincoln County.
The Small Business Christmas Expo will run from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. at the James W. Warren Citizens Center which is located at 115 West Main Street in Lincolnton. Santa will be in attendance from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. with photos available for purchase. There’s no admission fee.