Solid Gold Vintage is an eclectic, curated space featuring pieces from the mid-20th century. Photo by Celeste Hollister
Love Local: Downtown shops offer eclectic mixture of gifts for every person on your list
It’s noon on a Wednesday, and the parking lot for Shop 1893 is packed. Outside, an older gentleman is watering the plants, which are still in full bloom the second week of December. Various butterflies lilt among the flowers as a trill of holiday jazz pours from the front door of the Price Center, which houses Shop 1893, the Marie Jager Theater and the Art Gallery.
Shop 1893 hosts a mix of San Marcos artists and vendors.
Shop 1893 is one of those uniquely San Marcos shopping experiences, hosting a collection of vintage collectibles, antiques, original creations and resale items from San Marcos-area vendors and artists. Over time, and with the support of the community and the Price Center, Shop 1893 has grown to fill both floors of the renovated chapel with an eclectic mix of pieces perfect for the giftgiving season.
“The upstairs is really flourishing,” said Clay DeStefano, executive director of the Price Center. “We’ve seen a lot of growth in that area.”
The Mermaid at the Price Center welcomes shoppers to Shop 1893. Photo by Celeste Hollister
This has been a welcome change since independent businesses and charities have been hit hardest by the pandemic. Shop 1893 is a collective of artists who continued to support and inspire each other as the economy struggled with shutdown-related issues.
“It’s inspiring people to keep making things,” DeStefano said. “There was a noticeable change in the atmosphere after Thanksgiving. People are moving from shopping mode into buying mode.”
Starting Dec. 3 and running until Dec. 24, the shop is now offering extended holiday hours: Wednesdays and Thursdays, noon to 5 p.m., Fridays, noon to 6 p.m., Saturdays, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sundays, noon to 4 p.m. Shop 1893 is located at 222 W. San Antonio Street.
Another downtown business that actively supports local artists and vendors is Solid Gold Vintage. Owned by Zimi Chappell, who runs the shop with co-owner April Rose, Solid Gold Vintage is an eclectic collection of mid-20th century pieces, featuring furniture, clothing, locally-made jewelry, soaps, plants, artwork and more.
“She buys a lot from local vendors. She gets all the stuff from around Texas,” said Annabel Crain, an employee at Solid Gold. “She’s really smart, and she’s got an insane green thumb.”
Another reason to shop locally is that community-supported businesses are more likely to focus on the quality of the things they sell, rather than the quantity. Therefore, small business owners like Chappell can curate a distinctive mix of one-of-a-kind items that are special and made to last. But don’t linger too long on making that purchase, or the thing that catches your eye might catch the eye of someone else.
“Yeah, it’s true,” Crain said. “Things sell really fast here.”
Solid Gold Vintage is located at 164 S Guadalupe St. Store hours are are Wednesday.-Saturday, 10 a.m to 6 p.m., Sunday, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. and on closed Monday and Tuesday.
Impulse buying is easy. Doing a search on Amazon yields quick, convenient results, but shopping locally encourages people to be more thoughtful about their purchases. Additionally, the story of how the gift was acquired becomes part of the gift itself. The gift’s uniqueness also ensures there’s little chance it can be found elsewhere. Supporting local businesses — especially now — is a gift buyers can give with longlasting benefits to the community.