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Gifts Galore Expo a holiday hit at Texarkana Convention Center

by Junius Stone | November 27, 2021 at 10:00 p.m.
Local shopkeeper Laura Edwards of KNP Boutique was part of the Gifts Galore & So Much More Expo at the Texarkana Convention Center on Saturday. She says even though she has a location in town, the show is always worthwhile. Not only does she see her customers here every year, she makes new ones. (Staff photo by Junius Stone.)

TEXARKANA, Texas -- Gifts Galore & So Much More Holiday Expo held its sixth annual extravaganza Saturday at the Texarkana Convention Center. The show features local merchants showing off their wares. Attendance is free for patrons looking to peruse the merchandise and get a leg up on holiday shopping.

"It is all about showcasing our local businesses," said Monica Beamen, who runs the show. The expo is a function of her marketing business, Simply Perfect Marketing, based out of Atlanta, Texas. She sees that as her company's focus, bringing attention to local businesses.

"I got my start in marketing with the Chick-Fil-A on Richmond Road," she said. "I succeeded in that, but it made me realize, most of our local businesses don't know how to market themselves. So that is what my company is about, trying to help with that."

It was all local businesses at the expo. The furthest any business came was approximately 35 minutes away.

"We had businesses come from New Boston, Hope, Linden, even a couple from Mt. Pleasant," Beamen said.

Last year, though they had a similar amount of merchants they have had every year, the number of visiting patrons was way down.

"During the 2020 season, it was miserable," she said. "Only 400 visitors came. But this year, everything feels like it is coming back. And the customers agreed, with 1,200 to 2,000 visiting our merchants here, much more typical of what we get with this show."

For Laura Edwards of KNP Boutique, one of the stores operating out of the former Skate America on New Boston Road, this is her third year at the expo. Even though she is a local business, she sees advantage attending this show.

"You see more people coming here," she said. "Not only do I see many of my regular customers here, but I always end up meeting new ones."

Edwards has been operating her shop for 12 years but still meets new customers as a result of the show.

"This was a good year," she said. "I plan on coming back next year."

This was Jessica McCarty of Prodigy Yoga and Boutique's second year at the expo. Most people think of her as an owner of a yoga studio, but she also operates a fashion boutique out of her studio, and it is that part she shows off at the expo.

"We got started with this show in 2020 and even then, we had a good show," she said. "This year, we did double what we did last year. Shows like this are good for my studio, as my business is still fairly new. So it is a good way to meet new customers and show we are more than just a yoga studio."

McCarty says it was a fun show Saturday.

"Good spirits all around, full of holiday cheer," she said.

Beamen agreed, as this expo helped kick off the first weekend of the holiday shopping season.

"Very thankful to all my merchants who believe in this event," she said. "Unlike some shows, there's no committee putting this together. It is just me and my family and six months of work. Last year was rough, but we are back, baby. Merry Christmas to all!"

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