A salute to our small businesses


I have not had the time, in a long time, to really shop Gonzales. This past week I toured our downtown.

What I found was a real showplace of the variety of gift choices, art objects and vintage treasures.

“Talented entrepreneurs lead the way to make our city great” – for which all should be grateful. Though a great economic strength in our community is agriculture, it is true that the small businesses are a good part of the engine of our economy. Our sales tax remains strong and the industry of tourism keeps growing. This, tourism, is an integral part of our economy that brings valued new money into town.

Our heroes. Why are small business owners our heroes? They start with a dream, and have the guts, drive and determination to bring their ideas to life. “When you’re a small business owner, you’re a manager, marketer, clerk, bookkeeper, and cleaner all rolled up into one busy person.” Believe me, they are savvy, have talent, courage, pride in ownership and survival skills. They are hardworking, confident risk takers and have the stamina of giants.

Shoppers that I visited with shared their excitement about having more stores to shop in, more

restaurants to eat in and many said it was a great place. Our merchants are upbeat and excited about a good year. Here is my salute to them for Small Business Saturday.

If I were to give awards, there would be many. I want to applaud a few of our entrepreneurs. At Grammy’s Timeless Treasures I visited with owner Donna Kelly in 5,000 feet of aged classic vintage items, handwork and lots of dishes. She was beaming with hospitality and visiting with tourist from Denmark when I dropped in. She reports that several visitors have been searching for Elvis memorabilia. Barbara Crozier for over 36 years at the Christmas Store-Laurel Ridge Antiques has grand furnishings and she brings the best of Christmas décor choices to our shoppers. Her store is all aglow for the season. Tammy Hillman at the China Basket for personal customer service in bridal and graduation registries for over 36 years. Connie Dolezal, for opening a classic fashion boutique in an old now dressed-up gas station over 10 years ago.

Ruth Gumper’s coffee aroma at Hearty Gourmet is a treat for the senses. Sarah Tenberg cheerfully owns and manages over 7,000 feet of treasure choices at Main Street Market. Her vendors bring many worlds of gifts to Gonzales. Her new venture is The Farmer’s Daughter. Over at Wild Goose Chase I visited with Roy Crowley. He and Cathey now own Tin Star Antiquities and have more than a truck load of special items for you to take home. He told the story of the Japanese who came in and bought many things to fill up large containers to ship back to Japan. He said that authentic America goods are popular in Japan.

Johnnie Edwards splendidly renovated the building at the corner of St. Joseph and St. George for a spa and apartments. Amy Cernosek and Andi Seger at Angels and Outlaws had visitors from Canada, Switzerland and England in the past few months. Their apparel Items, especially art -shirts are a world-wide shopping- shipping enterprise. Suzanne Saitz offers fantastic home décor that is a showplace in her store “Spaces Sublime.” For much more shabby chic, antiques and unique we have David Ludeke at

 The Emporium, Linda Brown at Peach Creek Antiques, Casey Rhodes at Pop-Up Treasures,

And Leslie Woods over at the Painted Pony.

I visited Suzanne Kittel at Discovery Architectural Antiques. Always some very interesting items here.

She has doors, doorknobs and all kinds of objects from salvaged historic homes that if only walls could talk what history would we hear? St. Francis Street where her business operates is getting all prepped for movie scenes for a movie being filmed in part in Gonzales.

Eddie Halamicek runs a business that has operated for over 90 years in downtown. He offers one of a kind items for home, ranch and patio. He provides custom made barbeque pit and metal art,

framed fine art and historical bits and pieces. The visitors from Denmark took a couple of pictures

back home with them. They went off looking for a Stetson Hat.

It takes the support of a community to help a town survive. This past year has seen many new businesses open in Gonzales. We have less empty stores downtown now. The old pawn shop has sold

to new owners who will make apartments and retail space. The “Toggery” now has new owners who

are ready to revitalize it for a new attraction downtown. The atmosphere of the downtown seems

to exude hospitality with so much for customers to “Come and Take It Home.” Many shared the

excitement that many more locals and visitors are roaming around shopping in downtown Gonzales.

After shopping and filling your baskets with treasures from Gonzales, enjoy dining at one of our downtown fine restaurants. Then go by Sweet B’s for a gourmet dessert. Brie Schauer is an artist with decorating cakes and cookies. She will offer you a cup of coffee or tea to linger and ponder – just like in New York City!

I would say that we have over 250,000 feet for shopping experiences. I hope you will go shop and buy items from your own hometown. Then thank the shop owners for their help in making our city great.