Shop local for the holidays, and support small businesses!

by Jo Anne Embleton

CHEROKEE COUNTY – Holiday sales are projected to increase 3.6 to 5.2 percent over 2019 figures, and some of those sales will be made right here, as residents choose to shop local, supporting small businesses within the county.

“We know this holiday season will be unlike any other, and retailers have planned ahead by investing billions of dollars to ensure the health and safety of their employees and customers,” said National Retail Federation President and CEO Matthew Shay. “Consumers have shown they are excited about the holidays and are willing to spend on gifts that lift the spirits of family and friends after such a challenging year. We expect a strong finish to the holiday season, and will continue to work with municipal and state officials to keep retailers open and the economy moving forward at this critical time.”

Cherokee County boasts a number of small business that offer a plethora of services and merchandise, with many of them found on social media, such as Facebook, and who offer gift certificates.

The Cherokeean Herald has compiled a partial list of some of the great places folks can shop locally, beginning with Saturday’s “Hometown Christmas Experience” on the downtown square, sponsored by the Rusk Chamber of Commerce.

While the daylong event features fun and entertainment, there also will be vendor booths on site for folks to kick off their holiday shopping! Be sure to stay for the Christmas Tree lighting at 6 p.m. on the square!

• Looking for unique gift ideas? Give a membership or subscription!

The Butterfly Barn, 664 N. Bolton St., Jacksonville. 903-539-7335. Unique finds for the home & garden. Antiques, plants, Tyler Candles, home & garden, and unique holiday items. A holiday open house is slated for 3 p.m. Friday, Dec. 11.

Birmingham Forest Golf Club, 875 Copeland St., Rusk. 903-683-9518. This family-owned 9-hole course is located in the rolling hills and Piney Woods of East Texas, and is considered the “toughest little course in Texas.” Fees charged by number of holes, with an Early Bird discount offered; cart included in pricing. Senior, student discounts offered.

Raw Iron Gym – Rusk. 981 W. 6th St., Rusk. 903-740-3485. Whatever you want from your health and fitness journey, you can find it here, including Zumba + childcare, 24/7 access and NO contracts.

Cherokee Civic Theater, 157 W. 5th St., Rusk. 903-683-2131. Founded in 1972, this theatre is the only performance theatre in the county. The all-volunteer, non-profit community organization offers onstage/offstage cultural and artistic enrichment opportunities in East Texas for diverse audiences, including a “Thespians N Training” summer youth camp. Tickets can be purchased by event or by the season, with various sponsorship opportunities available up to $1,000.

The Cherokeean Herald, 595 N. Main St., Rusk. 903-586-2257. Serving all of Cherokee County by focusing on local stories and content, the Cherokeean Herald is the oldest, continuously published weekly newspaper in Texas and will celebrate its 171st anniversary of founding on Feb. 27.

• Traveling for the holidays or just seeking a respite from the everyday world? Cherokee County is home to several lodging facilities sure to give you just what you need.

Three Crows Lodge, 4499 County Road 2107, Rusk. 832-421-2521. Located on 105 acres in the Piney Woods of East Texas, the lodge offers the perfect opportunity to unwind or explore the area. Just minutes away from the Texas State Railroad.

Rusk KOA Holiday, 745 FM 343 E, Rusk. 903-683-6641. Tucked away in a wooded tract just outside Rusk, the KOA Holiday campground offers pull-through RV sites, premium tent sites, rustic and deluxe cabins, along with two teepees, all set among the pine trees. There’s small onsite store, with shower facilities, a covered pavilion and a swimming pool. And every so often, KOA owners stage music events that are open to the public.

Bean’s Creek Ranch Cabins, 1641 CR 2103, Rusk. 903-683-6235. Located on a working longhorn ranch, the facilities include a swimming pool, fishing lake and 82 acres of East Texas beauty to discover and hike!

Lake Striker Resort, 18560 County Road 4256 South, Reklaw. 903-854-2404. The resort offers an RV park, a motel and cabins, along with full-serve restaurant, convenience store/bait shop, marina and fishing piers – however, the marina and piers are presently undergoing renovation, and won’t be back in service until next spring.

Georgia Street Inn, 118 N. Georgia St., Troup. 903-570-4915. Looking to step back in time for a few nights? If so, then Georgia Street Inn is the place for you. This 1872 historical home recently has been renovated to serve as a great place for get-aways and events.

• Looking for something outside the box? A variety shops in Cherokee County can provide you with the perfect gift … and more!

J&J Jewelry & Gifts of Rusk, 136 S. Main St., Rusk. 903-683-4645. Established in 1954 by Earl and Joann Henry, this delightful shop is still operated by Joann Henry Jackson. J&J Jewelry has created a legacy for itself around the small town of Rusk, serving and selling diamonds for several generations. Along with a variety of jewelry, J&J offers a bridal registry, engraving, watch battery replacement, gifts and much more. They also offer free gift wrapping with purchase.

Salon on Main, 591 N. Main St., Rusk. 430-300-1131. Locally owned by Sydna Harwell, offering hairstyles for men and women, waxing and more.

Ruffles, 114 E. Commerce St., Jacksonville. 903-586-0141. Located in the city’s historic downtown, now filled with charming shops, Ruffles offers an array of goods, ranging from home décor to health, beauty and wellness products.

Ecclectiques, 408 W. Duval, Troup. 903-842-5001. The store, in downtown Troup, offers a “beautiful, bountiful blend of décor, glam and antiques, with a wealth of whimsy!”

Steele's Feed & Seed, 115 S. Georgia St., Troup. 903-842-3411. Not your average feed and seed store; step into Steele’s and discover a world of unique home décor, clothing and jewelry, along with items for gardeners and farming.

Aly Bee’s Florist, 24455 Hwy 69S, Suite B, Rusk. 903-683-2337. Owned and operated by Alyssa Walley, the shop specializing in fresh, hand cut flower arrangements, candy bouquets, mesh and grapevine wreaths, candles, monogramming and much more!

The Velvet Revolver, 189 S. Henderson St., Rusk. 903-339-4667. New to Rusk, the Velvet Revolver is a locally owned boutique offering new and previously owned clothing, jewelry and accessories, with options to sell on consignment and store credit trade-in.

Twisted Feather Boutique, 975 W. 6th St., Rusk. 903-721-3899. The boutique’s mission is to outfit clients with fun, fashionable clothing, jewelry and accessories.

Salon Grace, 114 S. Main St., Rusk. 903-721-3277. The salon offers color, styling, perms and cuts for the whole family, along with mani-pedis and waxing, and more!

Harry’s Building Supplies. Stores at 301 W. Duval, Troup (903-842-3320) and in Jacksonville at 1062 N. Jackson St. (903-586-7548). Great gift ideas for the handy folks in your life.

Wallace Thompson True Value Hardware, 385 N. Main St., Rusk. 903-683-2223. has lots of unusual gifts.

Bud’s Appliance & Outdoor, 133 S. Henderson St., Rusk. 903-683-2224. Get your grill on at Bud’s,

which has an array of outdoor “cooking appliances,” along with traditional appliances and hunting, fishing and camping supplies.

Chapmans Pharmacy, 108 E. 5th St. Rusk. 903-683-242. See the new Toyland at Chapman’s, a full-service pharmacy that specializes in custom prescription compounding.

• Got a collector on your list? Check out these area resale shops, which are filled with a variety of treasures and keepsakes:

Chaparral Center,176 W. San Antonio Street. Alto. 936-465-9797.

2ndGlance Resale, 700 E. Cherokee St.. Jacksonville, 903-589-1373.

The Mission, 209 S. Patton St.. Jacksonville. 903-589-2911 and

Hospice of East Texas Thrift Shop, 217 E. Commerce St., Suite E, Jacksonville. 903-589-0232.

Hope Restored 125 W. Duval St., Troup. 903-842-0067.

• Know someone who loves nothing better than a treat at a favorite coffeehouse or restaurant, or looking for the perfect bottle of wine? Needing ingredients for holiday cooking that includes alcohol? These stores have you covered!

The Slab, 133 N. Henderson St., Rusk. 903-316-0565. More than ice cream treats are dished up at The Slab: There’s home décor created by local resident Melanie Black, hand crafted jewelry and crafts by Brenda Daniels and antique furniture, too!

YellowWood Coffee, 597 N. Main St., Rusk. 903-683-4000. A hands-down favorite among patrons, who are known to drive into town for smoothies, juices, teas, coffee, seasonal concoctions and Keto-friendly beverages.
The Daily Grind, 111 W. 5th St., Rusk. 903-683-1500. The coffeehouse, restaurant and bakery located in downtown Rusk is another popular favorite, offering a unique, comforting atmosphere that makes it a local “gathering mecca.” Holiday goodies available!

Hassell Cattle Co., Rusk. 903-683-0700. The three-generation ranch raises Blue Collar Wagyu Beef, the highest quality among Texas Waygu, which has no hormones or antibiotics. Carried locally at Bud’s Appliance & Outdoor and Cherokee Warehouse in Rusk, Flat Creek Marina and RV in Chandler, and Jarvis Farm Equipment in Lufkin.
Lizzy's Loaves and More. 409-673-2485. The Jacksonville-based baker has taken recipes and turned them into Keto- and gluten-free friendly sweets and breads for to meet dietary needs.

Maydelle Country Wines, 175 County Road 2108, Rusk. 903-795-3915. This small, family-run winery The winery has reopened – now visitors can sample the new Sugar Plum Fairy product, as well as lime and other unusual flavors. Be sure to ask the owners about the TWGGA award they won earlier this month!