Amy Oxendine sells vintage jewelry with Plunder Design. You can go to plunderdesign.com/amyo to check out the goods.
The "Small Business Expo" staged on Saturday by the Dade County Chamber of Commerce, well attended by both exhibitors and shoppers, provided a good representative glimpse into the people and institutions at the heart of the Dade community. And if the Dade Planet is about anything, it's about offering you, the reader, a good representative glimpse into this community at the center of the universe.
Thus in this final month of the year, as the earth completes its circuit around the sun, The Planet takes its own orbit around the Small Business Expo, highlighting some bright spots along the way. Some of them you see every day--many of the big retailers had booths at the Expo--and some you've never heard of, but they might well offer exactly the goods or services you've been looking for, close to home and just in time for Christmas.
The Expo kicked off Dade Discount Days, an initiative to encourage Christmas shopping at home. Dade Discount Days offers big prizes including furniture, trips, free groceries and gas. You can get your name in the barrel for drawings at almost all the local retailers.
Here, at the end of the Expo, organizer Nathan Wooten gives away the first prize, an all-expense-paid trip to a Garth Brooks concert.
Other prizes include a gas grill from Case Ace Hardware and a recliner from Gross Furniture. At left Suzan Gross models a sofa at the Gross Expo display. "I don't have a bunch of stuff you can pick up and carry out, but I sold a couple of beanbag chairs," said store proprietor Gary Gross.
Beanbag chairs, apparently, are considered excellent stocking stuffers by some shoppers. Just be sure to buy stockings in size XL.
Candles, on the other hand, are an easier fit. Summer and Zach Powell (left) of Rising Fawn Candles said they sold out of some items. Their big display candles sell for $18. You can find the Powells on Facebook.
Some folks, like Beth Anne Biddle (right) used the Expo to highlight their services. Beth Anne wants to expand her daycare, The Education House, across from Geneva's on Lookout Mountain. She specializes in small-group, school-break and special-needs care. You can call her at (423) 645-7902.
Other local businesses hoping to expand in the coming year, and at the Expo to advertise goods or services, were Nancy Anderton's N.L.Tax & Bookkeeping Service, (706) 657-4758, and Tupperware by Kendra Mitchell (423) 718-9728.
Now, back to Christmas shopping: How's about a chiropractic adjustment for somebody you love? And here's the interesting bit: It doesn't have to be a two-legged somebody. Cason Durham, doctor of chiropractic, pictured above with his lovely wife, Mallory, treats humans at his Trenton office three days a week and spends the other two making house, barn or stable calls to work on animals. "Most of my clientele are barrel horses," he told The Planet. "You've got to remember they're also athletes."
Dr.Cason says barrel racing, as well as jumping, dressage and cross-country endurance, can make a horse stiff in the neck or liable to limp. For an average of $85 a session, depending on how far he has to travel and the needs of the horse, he can address that. Dr. C says it was horses that got him interested in chiropractic in the first place, and that he's the only local chiropractor credentialed in animal adjustments.
He also works on dogs and cats for an average of $40. He's had great success with paralyzed pets, he said, whose owners were told they needed thousands of dollars in surgery. "Four or five adjustments later they're back to running, jumping, barking, playing and everything," said Dr. C.
You can call Cason Durham's Main Street office at (706) 657-7597.
Shannon Blom (left), and her husband, Larry, sell all-natural prepared foods from their Wildwood business, Uncle Lar's Outpost, and from a stall at the new Main Street business Peddlers.Shannon says she formed the business after using natural foods to restore her health and to lose serious weight. She has 65 different recipes for dehydrated entrees such as the ones she holds here, including gluten-free dishes and non-GMO wheat pasta selections. They sell for $10 a sack, which she says translates to a buck a serving. You can reach her at (423) 682-1363, or at her website, unclelarsoutpost.com.
Local artist Larry Dodson doesn't travel to outdoor shows and festivals to exhibit his paintings the way he used to before he lost his wife five years ago, but he still shows in galleries and had brought a few pieces to show off at the Expo. He reminds all that not only is he still painting his famous rustic local scenes, he also does custom framing. You can get hold of Dodson at (423) 316-3844 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mary Graham, left, came to the Expo to rep her Changes Hair Salon on Highway 136. But she also sells some interesting stocking stuffers, particularly for those of the curly-haired persuasion. Beauty products you can get at Changes include DevaCurl and a conditioner called B'Leave-In. If you're ready to make that leap of faith, you can call the salon at (706) 657-2754.
Jessica Geselbracht (right) of JB's Variety Store was at the Expo selling some of the wooden signs JB's specializes in, but mostly to remind people JB's is there. "We still have so many people who come in the store and say they didn't we were there, and we've been there 20 years," she said. JB's, located prominently on Main Street just south of downtown, offers everything from guns to art supplies, fart cushions to wedding decorations. "We're the true definition of variety," said Jessica.
American Legion Post 106 is not a business (except for its Post Cafe--check it out!) but it has always been strong in community service in Dade County, and it was at the Expo looking for veterans who may not have joined up yet. Anyway, The Planet found Connie Therrien too cute in her chapeau to resist taking a snap.
Turns out Connie is a U.S. Navy vet, one of the first women trained in avionics during the Vietnam era. Her job was friend-or-foe identification electronics on aircraft. "I repaired and worked and programmed equipment that would identify the aircraft on a radar screen," she explained.
She says it wasn't exactly groundbreaking feminism--at that point, the Navy was training women in desk roles to free men up for action jobs--but there was still resistance to females in avionics and anyway the logistical stuff could be murder. "If I had to go to the bathroom, I had to ask one of the guys to stand guard outside," she said. No ladies' rooms in hangars in those days! She got out of the service in 1975.
Post 106 is currently recruiting volunteers for its honor guard detail, which serves at funerals for area vets. If you are or know someone who'd like to sign up, you can call Post Chaplain Gary Bell (904) 422-3916.
Danielle Hargis of Books New and Used on Highway 136 West, just up from the CVS shopping center, is always having going-out-of-business sales but she just can't bring herself to close up. She's a Woman Who Loves (Books) Too Much. Besides, when you do a two-for-one trade-in biz, it's hard to sell out of stock. So she was at the Expo peddling tomes and she says she's in for another year.
Danielle says she's resisting ordering too many new books these days to keep the bottom line healthy, but she can still get patrons anything they want PDQ. "I have such a good location, with two major distributors quite nearby, so I can get overnight delivery," she said.
Let's end this tour with a quick stop to say hello to this smiling young man, Jordan Dent of ADS Security. In a community where few of us bother to lock our doors, Jordan looked as lonely as the Maytag Man, and The Planet thought he needed cheering up. He admits he sells more security systems in Chattanooga than Trenton.
If you are less sanguine about security than The Planet--or if someone on your shopping list is--you can reach Jordan at (423) 595-7564 or email email@example.com.