By Nancy Black
I’m one of the original Shop Local Saturday consumers. I used to shop every Saturday when I was a child. Why? Because my mother was Bronson the Artist, and she had her portrait studio in Olla Podrida. Olla, what? Olla Podrida. It was THE place to shop in Dallas during the 70s and 80s.
Located off of Coit Road in what at the time was far north Dallas, Olla Podrida was housed in a big barn. Granny’s Dinner Theater was next door. My mother’s shop was upstairs next to the plant shop and Kathy Burke’s Marionettes.
I had to go every Saturday and hang out while my mother worked. She had an antique barber’s chair set up outside of her shop where her subjects would sit while she painted oil portraits of them. People strolling through the mall would stop and watch with amazement as she brought people to life on her canvases.
All the shop owners at Olla Podrida were like a family, so I would spend the day bopping from one unique business to another. Next to my mother’s shop was Sounds and Strums, where Harriette Fleischmeir would teach guitar. A couple of doors down from her was the candle shop, where I’d make sand candles and play with the wax. Then it was off to the candy shop. At first, the owners would let me help restock the candy barrels. I later moved to working the cash register and weighing the bags of candy. It was a fabulous job for a 10-year-old!
I have fond memories of watching the glass blower create amazingly delicate carousels of horses, ballerinas and other items he would never let me touch. Same goes for the antique clock shop. They were not too fond on me strolling around their space, either.
Downstairs, I’d have lunch at Dovey’s Upper Crust restaurant and then head past The Silver Mine jewelry shop to the fields outside. I used to ride bareback on the horses in the field next door.
Why all the reminiscing about Olla Podrida? Because Shop Local Saturday is coming up on Nov. 27 and I want to encourage everyone to shop local.
Numerous news outlets have reported on the back up of shipping containers clogging delivery ports around the world. They encourage consumers to order products early for fear of not receiving holiday gifts on time.
Phooey! I say forget the big box stores and head out to locally owned businesses. They may not be located all under one roof, like Olla Podrida was. But each offers a chance to keep your hard-earned money local, support the business owners, who are our neighbors, and find unique items and gifts you can’t find online. Our Shop the Rock (STR) sections showcase locally owned businesses and their products and services. Don’t know what to get that hard to please person in your life? Consider buying a gift card from one of the restaurants featured in our Dine the Rock section.
The holidays are a time of giving but they are also about showing our appreciation for all we have in our lives. Shop local on Saturday, Nov. 27. And all year, too. Community Counts! Keep it Local!