Tag Archives: Holidays

Christmas shopping on a budget revisited

13 Dec And now I look like this when I think about Christmas Shopping.....
Post written by Laureen Blakemore
Revisted 11/27/13
Last year I confessed to you a startling fact: I DO NOT LIKE SHOPPING! and I am VERY IMPATIENT!  Hard to believe, I know, but it remains true.  And though I actually am mellowing to the potential joy of shopping I still foresee a fair amount of retail therapy in my future before I can truly embrace the joy!
christmas-shopping
And so, once again, I believe it remains relevant to share with you my very slightly revised post about Christmas Shopping on a Budget.
I used to find Christmas  shopping to be a pain in the……. well you know what. Standing in line in crowded shops combined with the pressure to find exactly the right gift for each person on my list was not only frustrating to me, but was actually rather annoying.  Over the years Christmas shopping became an  exercise in frantically grabbing whatever I could find, as fast as I could find it and getting out of the door and back home as quickly as was humanly possible. Not much thought went into anyone’s gift. Friends or family members, who were unfortunate enough to come shopping with me, were usually left re-evaluating our relationship as they watched me turn into an impatient, obnoxious lunatic as I desperately tried to navigate my way through crowds and badly laid out aisles to find my way to the nearest cashier or doorway.
Candle sticks, purses,coasters and more under $20 available in Ten Thousand Villages in Fringe Benefit

Candle sticks, purses,coasters and more under $20 available in Ten Thousand Villages in Fringe Benefit

And now…….well I shop downtown, right here in Blacksburg.While I would certainly not pretend  that I suddenly find shopping to be my most favorite activity in the whole wide world ever, I have found that I can tolerate it a lot better and sometimes I actually even enjoy myself!
I hear a lot of people saying that it is too expensive to shop locally so today I set myself a challenge- to find out if it was possible to shop downtown for Christmas gifts that cost less than $20 each. Turned out to be a bigger challenge than I expected because there was just so much available to choose from. In many instances I found delightful gifts which cost less than $10 so now I am spoiled for choice! Shopping for the holidays is made even easier by our downtown merchants who offer a whole variety of special shopping events throughout late November and December leading up to the big day. Starting with Small Business Saturday on November 30, the merchants offer late night shopping hours, special sales, Sunday hours, and themed night such as Ladies Night (Dec 12) and Gents Night (Dec 19). These themed nights feature  free gift wrapping, Wish Lists,  personal shopping assistance, special discounts, refreshments and more. Yes- they even give us refreshments while we shop!
Reusable water bottle available at The Lyric Theatre

Reusable water bottle available at The Lyric Theatre

So what brought about this change of heart in my shopping attitude I hear you asking?  Well really it’s probably down to 5 simple reasons and I  want to share those with you.
1) I now know our downtown store owners, and they know me. They are used to my “shopping phobia” and are quick to offer shopping advice if needed and equally quick to know when I just want to be left alone! I have never had to waste my time searching for a sales assistant to tell me the price of an item, or to find out if they have the size I need in stock. Downtown the sales assistants, or in many cases, the owners, are on hand almost immediately if a customer has a question. And there is certainly something to be said for shopping in the places where “everybody knows your name” (to quote from one of my favorite old shows “Cheers”)!
2)  Every time I go and shop downtown I can absolutely guarantee that I will bump into somebody I know in at least one store. So now in addition to purchasing items I can catch up with friends and acquaintances, swap ideas about gifts for you know who, whom they just happen to know too! Suddenly shopping is a much less daunting task, it’s a social experience and I truly do love to be sociable! Often the shopping trip becomes much more than that- how fun it is to catch up with others and maybe move on from the store to one of the great restaurants or to The Lyric to catch a movie, or on a sunny day to hang out together at Market Square Park.

Delicious locally made chocolates, mugs, puzzles,Seeds of Happiness and more available in Uncommonly Gifted for less than $20

Delicious locally made chocolates, mugs, puzzles,Seeds of Happiness and more available in Uncommonly Gifted for less than $20

3) Our downtown stores have more one-of-a-kind gifts, unique and unusual pieces as opposed to the mass-produced items that are found elsewhere. Our stores offer a more low-pressure shopping experience and so many different options, so I am able to spend more time finding gifts that really suit members of  my family and my friends.
4) In our downtown stores the staff  are more familiar with their merchandise, and offer personalized assistance  in a low stress environment. And if they do not carry something I am looking for they let me know where I can find it elsewhere!
All your Hokie gift needs under $20 available in  Tech Bookstore, High Peak Sportswear and Bookholders

All your Hokie gift needs under $20 available in Tech Bookstore, High Peak Sportswear and Bookholders

5) Smaller stores = shorter lines= less waiting time. Enough said!
We all know by now, I hope, that supporting local business is beneficial to the local economy as well. According to a Nov. 22, 2011, Forbes article by Deborah Sweeney, for every $100 spent at a local business, $68 gets returned to the community, either in employee paychecks, or through taxes. An Oct. 21, 2011, U.S. News article by Rachel Koning Beals corroborates this claim, adding that, in comparison, one Chicago-based study found that only $43 of every $100 spent at chain stores remains in the local economy. Sweeney describes local businesses as “the backbone of the community”. When you spend your money locally, you are supporting the people who live next door, the people who know your name!
Candles, tapestries, incense and more under $20 available in Nice Dreams

Candles, tapestries, incense and more under $20 available in Nice Dreams

And so with all of this in mind back to my challenge- Christmas shopping on a budget downtown. I found so very many items for $20 or less that I finally stopped looking. I have provided some pictures and ideas here for you as well as a list of most of  our downtown stores. I encourage you to take this challenge and come down and see how much is available- from $3 stocking stuffers in The Clothes Rack to $10 gloves in Fringe Benefit or Disappearing Tardis Mugs in Uncommonly Gifted: from a selection of art projects and coloring books in Mish Mish to all of your Hokie needs in High Peak Sportswear, Tech Bookstore,  or Bookholders: from beautiful works of arts and crafts in Matrix Gallery, The Gallery Store or Eucalyptus Massage Studio to cell phone accessories in Wireless Zone: from cool Kitchen accessories in Gourmet Pantry to all your gardening needs in Heavener Hardware. So many great gifts under $20 each, and in many cases, under $10 available in downtown Blacksburg! And if you are still not sure what would be the absolute best gift for your teacher/ boss/wife/friend/co-worker you can always get Downtown Gift Certificates  sold in $5 or $20 denominations at the National Bank of Blacksburg on Roanoke Street. They can be redeemed in more than 60 downtown businesses allowing the recipient to choose exactly where they want to spend their $$’s!
So come on downtown and take the challenge- get your Christmas gifts for $20 or less, you’ll be surprised how much fun you’ll have during your shopping local experience!
Gifts of art under $20 available in Matrix Gallery

Gifts of art under $20 available in Matrix Gallery

310 Rosemont
208 N. Main St.
Blacksburg, VA 24060
540-961-5326
Alligator Alley
401 S. Main St.
Blacksburg, VA 24060
540-552-4287
Beliveau Estate Winery
104 W. Roanoke St
Blacksburg, VA 24060
540-961-0505
Boo Boo bunnies and other gifts created by local artisans available at The Gallery Store for under $20

Boo Boo bunnies and other gifts created by local artisans available at The Gallery Store for under $20

Bike Barn
424 N. Main St.
Blacksburg, VA 24060
540-443-3323
Blacksburg Pipe & Tobacco
408 N.Main St
Blacksburg, VA 24060
540-951-8457
Bookholders.com
125 N. Main St.
Blacksburg, VA 24060
540-808-4481

Socks, soaps, gloves, glasses, jewelry and more under $20 available in Fringe Benefit

Socks, soaps, gloves, glasses, jewelry and more under $20 available in Fringe Benefit

Capone’s Fine Jewelry
101 N. Main St.
Blacksburg, VA 24060
540-953-1000

Clothes Rack
105 N. Main St.
Blacksburg, VA 24060
540-552-8147

Eats Natural Foods
708A N. Main St.
Blacksburg, VA 24060
540-552-2279

Eucalyptus Massage Therapy
201 S. Main St.
Blacksburg, VA 24060
540-552- CALM

Arts, crafts, books, toys and more under $20 available in Mish Mish

Arts, crafts, books, toys and more under $20 available in Mish Mish

Friends of the Farmers Market
P.O. Box 568
Blacksburg, VA 24063
540-239-8290

Fringe Benefit
117 N. Main St.
Blacksburg, VA 24060
540-951-9777

Gourmet Pantry
401 S. Main St.
Blacksburg, VA 24060
540-951-1995

Greenhouse Boardshop
203 College Ave.
Blacksburg, VA 24060
540-552-3872

Kitchen accessories, gourmet foods, fun kitchen products and more under $20 at Gourmet Pantry.

Kitchen accessories, gourmet foods, fun kitchen products and more under $20 at Gourmet Pantry.

Heavener Hardware & Lumber
801 Kabrich St.
Blacksburg, VA 24060
540-552-1221

Heirloom Originals
609 North Main Street
Blacksburg, VA 24060
552-9241

High Peak Sportswear
209 College Ave.
Blacksburg, VA 24060
540-953-1293

Huge variety of gardening gloves and other great gifts for the home and garden lovers in your life. Available at Heavener Hardware.

Huge variety of gardening gloves and other great gifts for the home and garden lovers in your life. Available at Heavener Hardware.

John’s Camera Corner & Gentry Studio
213 Draper Rd.
Blacksburg, VA 24060
540-552-2319

Kent Jewelers
210 S. Main St.
Blacksburg, VA 24060
540-552-3241

Mad Dog
109 N. Main St.
Blacksburg, VA 24060
540-961-4038

Matrix Gallery
115 N. Main St.
Blacksburg, VA 24060
540-951-3566

Fancy frames,soaps,ducks and more under $20 available at Mad Dog

Fancy frames,soaps,ducks and more under $20 available at Mad Dog

Mish Mish
125 N. Main St.
Blacksburg, VA 24060
540-552-1020

Nice Dreams
115-B North Main St
Blacksburg, VA 24060
540-552-4733

polished by claire v.
101 South Main St
Blacksburg, VA 24060
1540-342-5895

Sandra Eileen Designs
106 Faculty Street
Blacksburg, VA 24060

Stocking stuffers, toys, hats and more under $20 available at The Clothes Rack

Stocking stuffers, toys, hats and more under $20 available at The Clothes Rack

Tech Bookstore
118 S. Main St.
Blacksburg, VA 24060
540-552-6444

The Artful Lawyer Gallery Store
320 N.Main St
Blacksburg, VA 24060
540- 443.9350 ext. 707

Uncommonly Gifted
208 S. Main St
Blacksburg, VA 24060
540-951-1818

Unique gifts under $20 in Heirloom Originals

Unique gifts under $20 in Heirloom Originals

Vintage Touch
208A North Main Street
Blacksburg, VA 24060
540-951-1901

Wireless Zone
304 N. Main St.
Blacksburg, VA 24060
540-961-4200

And now I look like this when I think about Christmas Shopping.....

And now I look like this when I think about Christmas Shopping…..

I used to look like this when I thought about Christmas Shopping.....

I used to look like this when I thought about Christmas Shopping…..

Okay, not really. Just checking to see who read to the end! Share your favorite downtown place to shop for the holidays here and be entered in a draw to win Downtown Gift Certificates. Draw will take place on December 23.

Tuba, Tuba, Tuba!

24 Nov

tubas

Join in the fun as the town celebrates the Winter Lights Festival, with the annual lighting of the tree, parade, and Farmer’s Market happenings.  TubaChristmas will make this the best holiday celebration ever! Dr. Andrew Putnam will be our guest conductor.   Bring your tubas, euphoniums and all of your friends to downtown Blacksburg on Friday, December 6th, 2013.  Participants, please RSVP to ecrone@vt.edu. TubaChristmas is sponsored by Downtown Blacksburg, Inc, the School of Performing Arts, Music | Theatre | Cinema and the Harvey Phillips Foundation.

Schedule and Details:

  • Parking:  Kent Square Parking Garage – 207 Draper Rd, Blacksburg, VA 24060.
  • Registration:  3:00 to 4:00pm – $10.00 per musician  (Department of Music, rm. 243, Squires Virginia Tech)
  • Rehearsal:  4:00 to 5:15pm  (Department of Music, rm. 243, Squires Virginia Tech)
  • Break:   5:15pm to 6pm (Dinner will be provided for the musicians.)  Pizza, hot chocolate, coffee and water.
  • Performance:  6pm to 7pm, (Henderson Lawn Square, Outside. Warm weather dress and plastic mouthpieces are in order.)
  • Available for purchase:  TubaChristmas hats and/or scarves – $20.00, Music ‘Carols for a Merry TubaChristmas -(6×10.5) $20.00, Commemorative buttons – $10.00.

PLEASE RSVP to ecrone@vt.edu

About TubaChristmas

Merry TubaChristmas is celebrating its 40th Anniversary (1974-2012). Created by Harvey Phillips, Merry TubaChristmas 2013 concerts will be presented in over 200 cities throughout the United States and in several foreign countries. Every Christmas season, tuba and euphonium players of all ages, from specific geographic areas, gather to pay respect – through William J. Bell – to all the great artists/teachers who represent their heritage. Depending on the population of any given geographic area, TUBACHRISTMAS ensembles may attract multiples of 100 participants aged 8 to 85 years! The warm, rich organ-like sound of the tuba-euphonium choir has won the ears and hearts of every audience. It is no wonder that TUBACHRISTMAS is an established Christmas tradition in cities throughout the world.

TUBACHRISTMAS is a property and presentation of the

HARVEY PHILLIPS FOUNDATION, INC

e-mail: coord@tubachristmas.com Web site: http://www.tubachristmas.com

“. . .dedicated to developing, expanding, and preserving the music arts. . .”

Christmas shopping on a budget

19 Dec Stocking stuffers, toys, hats and more under $20 available at The Clothes Rack
Post written by Laureen Blakemore

Anybody who knows me well knows this fact about me: I DO NOT LIKE SHOPPING! And yes I will admit it- I am also VERY IMPATIENT!  I used to find Christmas  shopping to be a pain in the……. well you know what. Standing in line in crowded shops combined with the pressure to find exactly the right gift for each person on my list was not only frustrating to me, but was actually rather annoying.  Over the years Christmas shopping became an  exercise in frantically grabbing whatever I could find, as fast as I could find it and getting out of the door and back home as quickly as was humanly possible. Not much thought went into anyone’s gift. Friends or family members, who were unfortunate enough to come shopping with me, were usually left re-evaluating our relationship as they watched me turn into an impatient, obnoxious lunatic as I desperately tried to navigate my way through crowds and badly laid out aisles to find my way to the nearest cashier or doorway.

And now…….well I shop downtown, right here in Blacksburg.While I would certainly not pretend  that I suddenly find shopping to be my most favorite activity in the whole wide world ever, I have found that I can tolerate it a lot better and sometimes I actually even enjoy myself!
I hear a lot of people saying that it is too expensive to shop locally so today I set myself a challenge- to find out if it was possible to shop downtown for Christmas gifts that cost less than $20 each. Turned out to be a bigger challenge than I expected because there was just so much available to choose from. In many instances I found delightful gifts which cost less than $10 so now I am spoiled for choice!

So what brought about this change of heart in my shopping attitude I hear you asking?  Well really it’s probably down to 5 simple reasons and I  want to share those with you.

1) I now know our downtown store owners, and they know me. They are used to my “shopping phobia” and are quick to offer shopping advice if needed and equally quick to know when I just want to be left alone! I have never had to waste my time searching for a sales assistant to tell me the price of an item, or to find out if they have the size I need in stock. Downtown the sales assistants, or in many cases, the owners, are on hand almost immediately if a customer has a question. And there is certainly something to be said for shopping in the places where “everybody knows your name” (to quote from one of my favorite old shows “Cheers”)!

2)  Every time I go and shop downtown I can absolutely guarantee that I will bump into somebody I know in at least one store. So now in addition to purchasing items I can catch up with friends and acquaintances, swap ideas about gifts for you know who, whom they just happen to know too! Suddenly shopping is a much less daunting task, it’s a social experience and I truly do love to be sociable! Often the shopping trip becomes much more than that- how fun it is to catch up with others and maybe move on from the store to one of the great restaurants or to The Lyric to catch a movie, or on a sunny day to hang out together at Market Square Park.

3) Our downtown stores have more one-of-a-kind gifts, unique and unusual pieces as opposed to the mass-produced items that are found elsewhere. Our stores offer a more low-pressure shopping experience and so many different options, so I am able to spend more time finding gifts that really suit members of  my family and my friends.

4) In our downtown stores the staff  are more familiar with their merchandise, and offer personalized assistance  in a low stress environment. And if they do not carry something I am looking for they let me know where I can find it elsewhere!

5) Smaller stores = shorter lines= less waiting time. Enough said!

We all know by now, I hope, that supporting local business is beneficial to the local economy as well. According to a Nov. 22, 2011, Forbes article by Deborah Sweeney, for every $100 spent at a local business, $68 gets returned to the community, either in employee paychecks, or through taxes. An Oct. 21, 2011, U.S. News article by Rachel Koning Beals corroborates this claim, adding that, in comparison, one Chicago-based study found that only $43 of every $100 spent at chain stores remains in the local economy. Sweeney describes local businesses as “the backbone of the community”. When you spend your money locally, you are supporting the people who live next door, the people who know your name!

And so with all of this in mind back to my challenge- Christmas shopping on a budget downtown. I found so very many items for $20 or less that I finally stopped looking. I have provided some pictures and ideas here for you as well as a list of most of  our downtown stores. I encourage you to take this challenge and come down and see how much is available- from $3 stocking stuffers in The Clothes Rack to $10 gloves in Fringe Benefit: from a selection of books and coloring books in Mish Mish to all of your Hokie needs in High Peak Sportswear, Tech Bookstore, Campus Emporium or Bookholders: from beautiful works of arts and crafts in Matrix Gallery or Burnt Creative to cell phone accessories in Wireless Zone: from cool Kitchen accessories in Gourmet Pantry to all your gardening needs in Heavener Hardware. So many great gifts under $20 each, and in many cases, under $10 available in downtown Blacksburg! And if you are still not sure what would be the absolute best gift for your teacher/ boss/wife/friend/co-worker you can always get Downtown Gift Certificates  sold in $5 or $20 denominations at the National Bank of Blacksburg on Roanoke Street. They can be redeemed in more than 60 downtown businesses allowing the recipient to choose exactly where they want to spend their $$’s!

So come on downtown and take the challenge- get your Christmas gifts for $20 or less, you’ll be surprised how much fun you’ll have during your shopping local experience!
Happy Shopping!

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310 Rosemont
208 N. Main St.
540-961-5326
A boutique for men and ladies!
Alligator Alley
401 S. Main St.
540-552-4287
Men’s and women’s clothing and accessories, featuring Lacoste, Barbour, Berle, Vineyard Vines, Sperry, Lilly Pulitzer, and Eliza B. See ya later, Alligator!
Beaux Arts Galleria
105 E. Roanoke St.
540-443-0003
Mid-20th Century home furnishings, vintage lighting products and museum-quality home decorations from around the world.
Bike Barn
424 N. Main St.
540-443-3323
Bike Barn offers bicycle sales and service in the New River Valley. Bike Barn is a drop off point for tubes, tires and metal bike parts for recycling!
Blacksburg Pipe & Tobacco
408 N.Main St
540-951-8457
Our mission is to provide our customers with an enjoyable experience and the finest tobaccos available. We carry some of the finest cigars in the world.
Bookholders.com
125 N. Main St.
540-808-4481
BookHolders.com buys/sells used college/general books & new apparel.
Burnt Creative Boutique
320 N.Main St
540-230-7550
Specializing in regional handcrafts, fair trade goods, and carefully selected vintage finds.
Campus Emporium
207 N. Main St.
540-552-1051
YOUR ONE STOP HOKIE SHOP for gifts, clothing and merchandise
Capone’s Fine Jewelry
101 N. Main St.
540-953-1000
Custom designs which incorporate only the highest quality gems, stones and metals.
Clothes Rack
105 N. Main St.
540-552-8147
A wide selection of college apartment essential tapestries, handicrafts and eco-conscious clothing reminiscent of the 60’s.
Eats Natural Foods
708A N. Main St.
540-552-2279
Blacksburg’s premier natural foods store offering a wide selection of organic, natural and gourmet foods; wine and beer brewing supplies, supplements, and body care products.
Eucalyptus Massage Therapy
201 S. Main St.
540-552- CALM
We look forward to working with you, and encourage you to start getting healthier with massage therapy! Also selling jewelry and artworks
Fringe Benefit
117 N. Main St.
540-951-9777
Women’s Fashion, gifts and jewelry with Ten Thousand Villages located inside!
Gourmet Pantry
401 S. Main St.
540-951-1995
Everything kitchen and more! Sign up now for Cooking Classes- visit the website for details.
Greenhouse Boardshop
203 College Ave.
540-552-3872
Professionally serving the needs of people who ride skateboards and snowboards.
Heavener Hardware & Lumber
801 Kabrich St.
540-552-1221
Lumber, rentals and so much more for those projects around the home and garden.
Heirloom Originals
609 North Main Street
552-9241
Antiques,gifts and originals on North Main. Stop in and see us!
High Peak Sportswear
209 College Ave.
540-953-1293
Your best source for t-shirts, golf shirts, hats, and all types of imprinted apparel and gift items!
John’s Camera Corner & Gentry Studio
213 Draper Rd.
540-552-2319
Views of Historical Blacksburg on display and for sale. Buy Blacksburg postcards and all of your camera needs in the heart of the downtown.
Kent Jewelers
210 S. Main St.
540-552-3241
Your diamond source
LaLac Boutique
208 A North Main St.,
540-552-0070
An accessories boutique that offers a variety of fashion forward jewelry, scarves, hats, purses, sunglasses, stockings, belts and more. It is our mission to bring our customers the the latest trends in a friendly, comfortable environment
Mad Dog
109 N. Main St.
540-961-4038
Mad Dog offers clothing, accessories, and home goods for all styles.
Matrix Gallery
115 N. Main St.
540-951-3566
Quality handmade American crafts….beautiful, functional & fun!
Mish Mish
125 N. Main St.
540-552-1020
Providing the Best in Supplies to Those Who Create Since 1970.
Nice Dreams
115-B North Main St
540-552-4733
Gifts, novelties and tobacco
polished by claire v.
101 South Main St
1540-342-5895
We offer highly indulgent manicures, pedicures, and spa services at a fabulous price, in a memorable setting! Also selling purses and Bare Minerals products.
Tech Bookstore
118 S. Main St.
540-552-6444
Tech Bookstore is your place for Virginia Tech textbooks, gear and supplies. Buy or sell used and new textbooks, find official Virginia Tech gear, and purchase software and gifts.
Wireless Zone
304 N. Main St.
540-961-4200
Your Local Verizon Wireless Premium Retailer in Downtown Blacksburg since 2002. Also selling XM Radio.
.

A Downtown Blacksburg Original in Every Sense of the Word

1 Mar

Post written by Karen Quina Doyle

The first thing Martha Heiskell made me do was promise not to tell her age.  She did, however, tell me it was okay to say that she was born in Blacksburg in the ’20s.  You do the math.  Either way, her age doesn’t matter, except to say that she is the very essence of refined grace, impeccable character, and endless charm that only women of a certain age and era possess and embody.  It has served her well: she is celebrating 44 years as the proprietor of Downtown Blacksburg’s bedrock antiques shop, Heirloom Originals.

If These Walls Could Talk

Heirloom Originals is more like a living museum than a business and Martha its worthy curator.  She inherited the house, in which the shop is based, from her maternal grandmother in 1940.  It was built in 1872, the same year neighboring Virginia Tech opened.

Martha took me through Downtown Blacksburg’s modest beginnings over a laminated vintage photograph she pulled from a drawer.

“Blacksburg’s town limit ended at Main and Giles Road.  It was all open farmland with woods full of walnut trees,” she recalled fondly, as she pointed to a spot on the picture just west of the house. “People would go to Mr. Reynolds’ Lumber Yard, which was next door to the shop in the ‘20s.  They would pick up logs to take over to Mr. W. E. Broce’s planing mill on what is now Progress Street, so they could make a fine piece of furniture,” she continued. “Coal from the local mines would be taken by horse and wagons to heat the buildings at Tech,” she went on, recalling every detail of the carefully preserved photograph.

For many years, the little house was rented for forty dollars per month, with a fireplace in each room for heat and no indoor plumbing until the late twenties.

In 1917, Paul Derring, for whom Derring Hall was named, arrived at Tech to work with student programs.  Blind from the age of 13, he met Katie Cook, who was living in the house at the time with her parents and her sister Mary.  Katie began helping him with his correspondence, and the two fell in love and were married in 1921.  Several years later, Paul became Blacksburg’s first YMCA director, a position he held until his retirement in 1966.

After renting the house to several other families, Martha decided to convert the house into an antique shop in 1964.

“I’ve always appreciated the arts in its many forms ~ art, art history, beautiful objects ~ whether made by a person or by God’s own hands,” she shared as the inspiration behind her decision to go into antiques after an early, beloved career as a second-grade school teacher, first at Blacksburg Elementary and then later in the sixties at Gilbert Linkous Elementary. “I don’t know why anyone would want plastic when they could have something of lasting value and beauty to leave as an heirloom to their children,” she wondered. “I have customers come in all the time fondly recalling things like ‘My grandmother bought me the cutest little tea set from here when I was a little girl’. It makes me very humble…and very happy.”

Having lost her mother at the age of 49 and her father three months later at 57, Margaret J. Beeks, who was not only Martha’s 7th grade teacher but also the first principal for whom she worked during her time with the Montgomery County School System after graduating from Tech in 1948, became like a mother to Martha and a grandmother to her three children.

It was Miss Beeks who inspired Martha through art.  “I lived for Miss Beeks’ art class.  She opened the doors to the whole world for me there.  She had traveled a lot,” Martha remembers. “One day, we were painting the Nile and ran out of cobalt paint, so Miss Beeks sent me down to Mr. Brown’s hardware store to pick up a little tube,” she reminisced, before being unfairly scolded for not getting the right color.  “That nearly broke my heart,” she said, remembering how it felt to be wrongfully reprimanded by the teacher she worshiped.

“When I opened my shop, there she stood on the porch with this gift,” she lovingly recalls, showing me the wreath Miss Beeks made for her as a shopwarming gift with moss she had collected from the shoals of South Carolina. “It has hung on this door for 44 years.”

A Prized Collection

Today, the shop is brimming with something for everyone: china, porcelains, ceramics, art pottery.  Cut glass from the Brilliant Period (1890-1915) takes up nearly an entire room; pieces made out of Martha’s favorite woods, walnut and cherry, here and there.

“To qualify as an antique, a piece must be at least 100 years old, but there are many items in here that go back to the mid-1800’s,” she attests.

Her oldest piece?  A Canton platter from the 1700s with what they deciphered to be a Chinese Export Armorial Crest, circa 1785.  The back of the piece bears what look like one-inch-wide brass staples along the spines of several primitive cracks — distinguishing mending methods that were employed through 1838.  Though the piece is not for sale, Martha takes delight in relating a story about two men who came in looking for Jim Beam memorabilia. “No Jim Beam bottles, but isn’t my platter gorgeous?” she offered instead, before overhearing each of them asking the other how she would ever sell that broken platter as they made their way out the door.  “I didn’t even have time to tell them that it was not for resale,” she knowingly confides.

“Let me show you my little Charlie in here,” she insisted, ushering me into another room. “He’s so wonderful.”

“Charlie” was the pet name given to the little boy whose likeness appeared in a painting she had acquired from the Bailey estate of Charleston, West Virginia, the forebears of which included an attorney general and several generations of judges. “Look at that little hat.  He’s so cute!” she mused, with the kind of genuine affection usually assigned to doting grandmothers.  “I think it’s sad that portraits get separated from their families over time.”

A collection of handsomely displayed teacups holds another story still.  “I sold each one of these teacups to a gentleman who bought them for his wife’s birthday and Christmas year after year.  When she passed, he asked me if I would like them back, all sixty-six,” she remembers. “Many items in the shop have come back a second and third time.  I love it more than the day I first opened the door, so many memories.”

Martha cares for her inventory nearly as much as she cares for her customers — which is to say, a lot.  She knows the detail of her stock down to the very last toothpick holder; she keeps a careful inventory, copied in her own hand, of every item in a red ledger I was lucky enough to see.

“I don’t consider this a store,” she confides. “This is where my friends come to visit.”

Having spent the afternoon with her, I understood the attraction.  The proper woman, with a clear abiding faith and the warmth and congeniality of a dear friend, had won me over, too.  Stop in the next time you’re passing by her Heirloom Originals shop on Main Street, and let her do the same for you.
Heirloom Originals is conveniently located at 609 North Main Street, next door to Castle’s Kettle and Pub. See you there!

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Downtown Holiday Shopping Guide

19 Dec bumpersticker

FREE PARKING at all metered spaces now through January 3 makes it even easier to make Downtown Blacksburg your holiday shopping destination this year!

Great gifts for all are available in our downtown stores, so we have put together this brief guide to what you will find, where and when. And if you are still stuck on what to buy the person who has everything you can purchase Downtown Gift Certificates from the downtown branch of National Bank of Blacksburg.Now you can also purchase gift certificates and Blacksburg t-shirts and prints online at:Downtown Merchandise
Gift certificates are redeemable at over 60 participating businesses- you can get everything from a massage to a smart phone; from dinner in one of our many restaurants to a frozen treat in Rita’s or the Frosty Parrot; from shoes to tea services; clothing to snow boards!


Holiday Shopping Specials- Please note- all of our stores are CLOSED on Christmas Day

310 Rosemont- Uggs are in- Uggs slippers and boots make great gifts!
OPEN Mon-Friday- 11am-6pm, Christmas Eve-10am-3pm

Alligator Alley- Buy one get one half off on many items throughout the store
OPEN Mon- Friday- 11am-5pm, Christmas Eve- 11am-4pm

Beaux Arts Galleria- Holiday Sale 30% off online and in store orders
OPEN Monday–Friday 10am–6pm,or by appointment.

Bike Barn-Monday- All 2011 bicycles are 20% off. Emotion Kayaks are being sold AT COST.25% of bikes are Reduced!!
OPEN Tues-Thurs- 10am-5:30pm, Friday- 10am-6:30pm, Christmas Eve- 9:30am-5pm

Blacksburg Pipe and Tobacco- Many specials PLUS the great prices we have on all our products.
OPEN Mon- Friday-10am-6pm, Christmas Eve-10am-4:30pm

Bookholders-20% off all apparel
OPEN Mon- Thurs- 9am-8pm, Friday 10am-8pm, Christmas Eve- CLOSED

Campus Emporium-Sugar Bowl items now in! Special sale prices on many items throughout the store.
OPEN Mon- Friday- 9:30am-7:30pm, Christmas Eve- 9:30pm-3pm

Capone’s Fine Jewelry- 15% off Citizen watches. Holiday Hospitality Room offers a little extra pampering while you shop!
OPEN Mon- Thurs- 10am-6pm, Friday- 10am-6pm, Christmas Eve- 10am-5pm

Clothes Rack-Summer Dresses are on sale!! Buy Local- an eclectic shop for all of your eclectic needs!
OPEN Mon-Friday- 11am-7pm, Christmas Eve- 11am-4pm

Community Arts Information Office (CAIO)- Gifts of Art by Blacksburg Regional Arts Association
OPEN Mon-9am-3pm, Tues- 9am-3pm,& 4pm-6pm, Weds- 9am-3pm & 4pm-6pm,Thursday- 9am-3pm, Friday-4-6pm

Eats Natural Foods- Everyone’s a member on Christmas Eve & will receive 15% off. Live Local t-shirts on sale here!
OPEN Mon- Friday- 10am-8pm, Christmas Eve- 10am-5pm

Fringe Benefit- Follow the sparkles to great deals throughout the store, amazing accessories available!
OPEN Mon- Friday- 10am-8pm, Christmas Eve- 9am-4:30pm

Gourmet Pantry- Wine Tasting on Christmas Eve 12-4pm
OPEN Mon- Friday 10am-8pm, Christmas Eve 10am-5pm

Greenhouse Boardshop- Exclusive VT Flip flops here as well as all your boarding needs! Live Local t-shirts on sale here!
OPEN Mon- Friday- 10am-8pm, Christmas Eve- 10am-6pm

Heavener Hardware- Always great gifts for the home and the tool lover in your life! Live Local & Steppin’ Out t-shirts on sale here!
OPEN Mon-Friday- 7:30am-6pm, Christmas Eve CLOSED

Heirloom Originals-Antiques, gifts and originals- something for everyone!
OPEN Mon-Friday 10:30am to 4:30pm, Christmas Eve- 10:30am to 5:00pm

High Peak Sportswear -Your best source for t-shirts, golf shirts, hats, and all types of imprinted apparel and gift items!
OPEN Mon- Friday- 10am-5pm, Christmas Eve -10am-3pm

Homebody- 20% off all clothing and don’t forget the Elephant Poop Paper!
OPEN Mon-Friday 10:30-7pm, Christmas Eve- 11:30am-2pm

John’s Camera Corner- Always a great deal and if it is still here on Christmas Eve it’s on SALE
OPEN Mon-Friday- 10am-5:30pm, Christmas Eve-10am-2pm

Kent Jewelers-New Pandora Inventory now in!
OPEN Mon- Friday- 10am-7pm, Christmas Eve- 10am-5pm

Mad Dog- Coats 40% off  Sweaters 30% off
OPEN Mon- Friday- 10am-7pm, Christmas Eve- 10am-2pm

Matrix Gallery-A wide variety of pottery, glass, jewelry, wood, leather, candles and more
OPEN Mon- Friday-10:30am-7pm, Christmas Eve- 10:30am-4:30pm

Mish Mish- Many sales including easels, starter kits and paint sets. Live Local t-shirts & George Wills Downtown prints on sale here!
OPEN Mon- Friday- 9am-6pm, Christmas Eve- 10am-4pm

Tech Bookstore-33% off ALL VT clothing and gifts
OPEN Mon-Friday-9am-5pm, Christmas Eve- 10am-5pm

Ten Thousand Villages-Fair trade international craft supplier. Crafts from around the world from an ethical supplier. Located inside Fringe Benefit.
OPEN Mon- Friday- 10am-8pm, Christmas Eve- 9am-4:30pm

The 6 PAK Store at The Cellar- Christmas Ales are now in!
OPEN Mon-Friday- 11am-12midnight, Christmas Eve- CLOSED

Wireless Zone- 25% off all accessories including blue tooth, chargers and more, plus many specials on Christmas items
OPEN Mon- Friday- 10am-7pm, Christmas Eve- 10am-2pm

While you are shopping don’t forget to stop in one of our wonderful restaurants, services or the Lyric Theatre to enjoy the full downtown experience! Full list of downtown businesses may be found at www.downtownblacksburg.com

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The Gift of Art

21 Dec jewels

“Our aims are to make quality art events affordable, attractive and accessible to our members and to the public; and to encourage and support one another while fostering creativity and joyfully exploring the arts.”

Promoting the arts in the New River Valley since 1950, the Blacksburg Regional Arts Association is a Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Partner, a member of the Blue Ridge Arts Council, and a non-profit volunteer organization. Showing now in the Community Arts Information Office (149 College Ave), is a holiday display of art and craft by members of the Blacksburg Regional Art Association.

The Gift of Art
The work of the following artists is featured in this special exhibit- Dale Norton, Toni Bowman, Marie Collier, Paula Golden, Susan Hensley, Nancy Norton, David Pearce, Mary Ratliff, Cecilia Riegert, Robi Sallee, Lois Stephens, Donald Sunshine, Joanne Sunshine, and Gerri Young.
Items available include art in a variety of media- from carved wooden bowls, sparkling beaded jewelry, and woven rugs to photography, stained glass, and watercolors; guaranteeing that there really is something for everyone. And that includes something for everyone’s budget. You can buy your friend a beautiful handcrafted stained glass Christmas tree for as little as $12. Original holiday cards, customized jewels, and recycled glass pendants add to the mix. Give the gift of art, created by local artists; the gift that keeps on giving all year long.

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The exhibit runs from December 1-30, 2010 and all items on display are available for purchase so drop in and find a gift for someone special!

Community Arts Information Office, 149 College Ave, Blacksburg
Hours of Operation: 9:00 am to 7:00 pm, Mon. – Fri
10:00 am to 7:00 pm, Sat. *
1:00 pm to 6:00 pm, Sun. *
* As Staff is Available

For the first time in sixty years of service, the BRAA has a public presence! “It’s a place to gather, welcome visitors, show our art, store our stuff, and toot our horn. Our office is located at: 149 College Avenue, Blacksburg, VA 24060, in the Central Arts Information Office (CAIO,) near the Lyric Theatre and across the street from Theatre 101, and Henderson Lawn. It’s the heart of the developing Downtown Blacksburg Arts District.” says President and local artist, Nancy Norton.

Want to know more about how you can support the BRAA? Check out the website: BRAA or call: 540-552-0552.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year to be local!

7 Dec boots

Get into the holiday spirit while supporting your local merchants- join  us for our special holiday shopping nights in downtown Blacksburg. For unique and unusual gifts, eclectic dining choices and a variety of special activities there is no better place to go. The activities on Ladies’ and Gents’ Nights are not restricted to the venues listed- featured below are details available at time of writing.

Downtown Blacksburg: buy local. eat local. be local.

Ladies’ Night- late night shopping/dining- Thurs 9th Dec, 4-8pm
Ladies come on downtown for Ladies’ Night- enjoy special treats and attentions. Let your local merchants assist you in creating your Wish List so that special someone in your life knows exactly what you want this holiday season! Shop for your significant other, family and friends.

Great shopping- including free gift wrap, personal shopping assistance, special discounts, wish lists, refreshments and more at participating locations:
Fringe Benefit
Matrix Gallery
Gourmet Pantry- great gifts, excellent service and a fun night out!
Main Lee Art- make a holiday ornament while enjoying a hot beverage.
310 Rosemont
Kent Jewelers- Holiday gift for everyone! Free jewelry inspection and cleaning while enjoying Hors d’œuvres
Mad Dog- wine & cheese
Community Arts Information Office- Blacksburg Regional Art Association offering “Gifts of Art”

Great Food- specials
Poor Billy’s
Ben & Jerry’s
Rita’s- buy a gift card of $10 or more and get one free treat
Next Door Bake Shop- 10% off
Café de Bangkok- 10% off meal purchase
India Garden – 10% off meal purchase
Bollo’s & Gillie’s

Great Entertainment and a place to stay!
Main Street Inn- Make a night of it. 10% off room rate
Gillie’s -acoustic favorites with Bobby Parker 7-9:30pm
Awful Arthur’s- Metal bands from Fredericksburg, Richmond, Roanoke and Blacksburg will perform at 8 p.m.
622 North- 10 Dollar Sins, classic blues, rock, R&B at 9pm
The Lyric Theatre- showing “Hereafter” at 7 & 9:30pm

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Gents’ Night- late night shopping/dining- Thurs 16th Dec, 4-8pm

Gents come on downtown for Gents’ Night- enjoy special treats and attentions. Find out what your significant other has on their personal Wish List held in each participating store. This year that special someone in your life will get exactly what they want this holiday season! Shop for your significant other, family and friends.

Great shopping- including free gift wrap, personal shopping assistance, special discounts, refreshments and more at participating locations:
Fringe Benefit
Matrix Gallery
Gourmet Pantry- champagne, tasty treats and a store full of great gifts.
Main Lee Art- make a holiday ornament while enjoying a hot beverage.
310 Rosemont
Kent Jewelers’- Hang out with the guys and play blackjack for discounts on jewelry. Enjoy chili, wings, and beverages on us while you get your Christmas shopping done early.
Mad Dog

Great Food- specials
Poor Billy’s
Ben & Jerry’s
Rita’s- buy a gift card of $10 or more and get one free treat
Next Door Bake Shop- 10% off
Café de Bangkok- 10% off meal purchase
India Garden – 10% off meal purchase
Bollo’s & Gillie’s

Great Entertainment and a place to stay!
Main Street Inn- Make a night of it. 10% off room rate
The Lyric Theatre- showing “Inside Job” at 7 & 9:15pm
Gillie’s – bluegrass with The Java Brothers 7-9:30pm

Fashions for Evergreens

5 Dec DBI- 30 Yrs of Steppin' Out

The holiday season is right around the corner, and it is time to enjoy the designs of local businesses  at  The Inn at Virginia Tech and Skelton Conference Center’s Fashions for Evergreens 2010 display!

Fashions for Evergreens has become a staple in the New River Valley as young and old, locals and visitors grace the foyer of the Inn at Virginia Tech to view the decorations!

For the third year running Downtown Blacksburg, Inc. is participating in this fun filled activity. The theme for our tree this year is “30 years of Steppin’ Out”. Decorations on the tree include miniature replicas of the 30 t-shirts from each Steppin’ Out, garlands and ornaments made from old Steppin’ Out t-shirts and gold painted leaves from the downtown Ginko trees.

The tree was designed and created by Steve & Debbie Miller of Mish Mish, Mary Woodall of Sew Attitude, Ranae Gillie of Bollo’s & Gillie’s, Nancyne Willoughby of Fringe Benefit and Sue Drzal and Laureen Blakemore of Downtown Blacksburg, Inc.

The trees will be on display until the Inn closes for the holidays on Dec 19th. Voting for your favorite tree takes place through Weds Dec 8th. So hurry on over to The Inn at Virginia Tech with your family and friends to enjoy the decorations and to vote, vote, vote!

May the best tree win!

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Let the holidays commence!

21 Nov santalyric

Winter Lights Festival with TubaChristmas

Friday Dec 3rd – 4-8pm

Get ready for the biggest holiday event of the year in beautiful Downtown Blacksburg. The perfect time of the year to truly support your local merchants as we pull out all the stops to bring you a real Hometown Holiday!

Activities in Market Square Park 4-8pm

Holiday Market, Funnel Cakes and Kettle Corn

Free Hot Cocoa and Hot Cider from Downtown Blacksburg, Inc.

TubaChristmas at 6 pm- Co-sponsored by Downtown Blacksburg, Inc & the Department of Music at Virginia Tech.

Activities around the Downtown area 4-8pm

Blacksburg Children’s Chorale singing in The Lyric- 4:15pm

Percheron Carriages of McArthur Inn- carriage rides around the downtown area (subsidized fee applies).

Pictures with Santa in the Lyric- 4:30pm

Tree Lighting Ceremony on the Henderson Lawn- 5:30pm

Deo Gloria strolling the streets

Art Crawl round the downtown Galleries- Community Arts Information Office, Art Pannonia, Matrix Gallery, The Gallery at Mish Mish, Main Lee Art, Miller off Main- 5-7pm

Holiday Parade co-sponsored by Blacksburg Parks and Recreation Department and Virginia Tech Chapter of Circle K

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Holiday Open House at participating businesses- including free gift wrap, personal shopping assistance, special discounts, refreshments and more.
• In Balance Yoga will offer 20% off all class packages and 25% off all retail with Special Holiday Gift Packages on sale also!
• Gourmet Pantry-tasty treats to snack on while you shop.
• South Main Chiropractic- The clinic will have both doctors on hand to answer any health-related questions along with offering no-cost consultations during the open house. Massage Therapist-giving free chair massages.
• Main Street Inn -Peppermints and hot chocolate by the fire.
• Fringe Benefit
• Matrix Gallery
• Main Lee Art- Art Crawl Reception
• Clay Corner Inn- cookie bar and hot cider
• 310 Rosemont- Christmas cookies & holiday treats
• Kent Jewelers’-Relax with an espresso while children make beaded jewelry for the holidays!
• Mad Dog
• Rita’s- buy a gift card of $10 or more and get one free treat
• Ben & Jerry’s
• Gillie’s- holiday jazz with Mood Swing 6-8:30pm
• Café de Bangkok- 10% off meal purchase
• Next Door Bake Shop- 10% off

 

Ladies Late Night Holiday Shopping- Thursday 9th Dec 4-8pm

- including free gift wrap, personal shopping assistance, special discounts, refreshments and more.

• Main Street Inn- Make a night of it. 10% off room rate
• Ben & Jerry’s
• Fringe Benefit
• Matrix Gallery
• Gourmet Pantry- great gifts, excellent service and a fun night out!
• Main Lee Art- make a holiday ornament while enjoying a hot beverage.
• Poor Billy’s
• 310 Rosemont
• Kent Jewelers- Holiday gift for everyone! Free jewelry inspection and cleaning while enjoying Hors d’œuvres
• Mad Dog- wine & cheese
• Rita’s- buy a gift card of $10 or more and get one free treat
• Gillie’s -acoustic favorites with Bobby Parker 7-9:30pm
• Café de Bangkok- 10% off meal purchase
• Next Door Bake Shop- 10% off

Gents Late Night Holiday Shopping- Thursday 16th Dec 4-8pm

- including free gift wrap, personal shopping assistance, special discounts, refreshments and more.
• Main Street Inn- Make a night of it. 10% off room rate
• Fringe Benefit
• Matrix Gallery
• Gourmet Pantry- champagne, tasty treats and a store full of great gifts.
• Main Lee Art- make a holiday ornament while enjoying a hot beverage.
• Poor Billy’s
• 310 Rosemont
• Kent Jewelers’- Hang out with the guys and play blackjack for discounts on jewelry. Enjoy chili, wings, and beverages on us while you get your Christmas shopping done early.
• Mad Dog
• Rita’s- buy a gift card of $10 or more and get one free treat
• Ben & Jerry’s
• Gillie’s – bluegrass with The Java Brothers 7-9:30pm
• Café de Bangkok- 10% off meal purchase
• Next Door Bake Shop- 10% off

Calling All Tuba Players!

8 Nov


ATTENTION ALL TUBA AND EUPHONIUM PLAYERS
All ages and ability levels!
TubaChristmas is coming to Blacksburg to join in the holiday festivities, the Winter Lights Festival. Join in the fun as downtown Blacksburg celebrates with the annual lighting of the tree, parade, Holiday Market and more. TubaChristmas will make this the best holiday celebration ever! Bring your tubas, euphoniums and all of your friends to downtown Blacksburg on Friday, December 3rd, 2010.

Participants, please RSVP to ecrone@vt.edu


Schedule and Details:
• Parking: Kent Square Parking Garage – 207 Draper Rd, Blacksburg, VA 24060.
• Registration: 3:00 to 4:00pm – $5.00 per musician (Department of Music, rm. 243, Squires Virginia Tech)
• Rehearsal: 4:00 to 5:15pm (Department of Music, rm. 243, Squires Virginia Tech)
• Break: 5:15pm to 6pm (Dinner will be provided for the musicians.) Pizza, hot chocolate, coffee and water.
• Performance: 6pm to 7pm, (Parking lot of NBB, Outside under tents with heaters. Warm weather dress and plastic mouthpieces are in order.)
• Available for purchase: TubaChristmas hats and/or scarves – $15.00, Music ‘Carols for a Merry TubaChristmas – $15.00, Commemorative buttons – $3.00.

TubaChristmas is sponsored by the Downtown Merchants of Blacksburg and the Department of Music at Virginia Tech

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About TubaChristmas
Harvey Phillips, called the “Paganini of the Tuba.” Sadly, Harvey died on Wednesday October 20, 2010 at age 81 in Bloomington, Ind. In 2007, while serving as distinguished professor emeritus at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, he added another honor to one of the most remarkable careers in modern American musical history. He became the first brass player and first wind player chosen for induction into the American Classical Music Hall of Fame. Merry TubaChristmas is celebrating its 36th Anniversary (1974-2009). Created by Harvey Phillips, Merry TubaChristmas 2010 concerts will be presented in over 200 cities throughout the United States and in several foreign countries. Phillips was inspired to create TUBACHRISTMAS as an annual event honoring his teacher, the late great tubist William J. Bell (born Christmas Day, 1902). Every Christmas season, tuba and euphonium players of all ages, from specific geographic areas, gather to pay respect – through William J. Bell – to all the great artists/teachers who represent their heritage. Every TUBACHRISTMAS performance features traditional Christmas carols especially arranged for the first TUBACHRISTMAS, (December 22, 1974 in NYC’s Rockefeller Plaza) by American composer Alec Wilder (died Christmas Eve, 1980). Through Wilder, TUBACHRISTMAS concerts pay grateful tribute to composers who have embraced these noble instruments with solo and ensemble compositions. Depending on the population of any given geographic area, TUBACHRISTMAS ensembles may attract multiples of 100 participants aged 8 to 85 years! The warm, rich organ-like sound of the tuba-euphonium choir has won the ears and hearts of every audience. It is no wonder that TUBACHRISTMAS is an established Christmas tradition in cities throughout the world.

TUBACHRISTMAS is a property and presentation of the
HARVEY PHILLIPS FOUNDATION, INC
P.O. Box 933 • Bloomington, IN 47402-0933
(812) 824-8833 • FAX (812) 824-4462
e-mail: coord@tubachristmas.com Web site: http://www.tubachristmas.com
“. . .dedicated to developing, expanding, and preserving the music arts. . .”

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