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Uptown businesses team up for Oak Street Fall Market

Uptown businesses team up for Oak Street Fall Market

August 29th, 2018 by Michelle Brooks in Local News
Uptown California business owners — Chelsea McGill, Julie Bolinger and Shanna Helms — are working together to support each other and grow local business. (submitted photo)

Fall is coming early to Oak Street in California.

The tastes of apples spice, the pumpkin decor and the feel of flannel will be on display 6-8:30 p.m. Aug. 30 and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Aug. 31-Sept. 1 during the Oak Street Fall Market.

Winding Road Gifts and Interiors has offered a special early preview of fall decor for the last four years. Last year, The Ruffled Hem joined in as its opening.

This year, Grind joins its neighbors in the growing affair.

And other businesses have been invited to join in. The Flower Shop For All Occasions and Clenin Farm Supply will set up samples of fresh fall flowers, mums and cornstalks for decorating.

To add to the variety of the weekend, Welcome Home — a gluten-free bakery — will provide fall-flavored baked goods, New Beginnings Church will serve lolly-waffles and Papa's Krunchy Kettlecorn will have a stand.

Grind will introduce its fall menu with caramel apples, tomato basil parmesan soup, grilled cheese, red potato chowder and turkey bacon panini. And Shanna Helms will have The Ruffled Hem filled with the cool weather favorites in time for football weather.

"We hope people will stroll the stores of Oak Street to enjoy the transformation to fall," Grind owner Chelsea McGill said.

It's more than just an open house, Winding Road's Julie Bolinger said. The Oak Street Fall Market is a themed event, all about fall. She expects more than 500 visitors over the three days.

"This is bigger than Christmas," she said. "People are ready for the change of seasons."

Working together, the young business owners hope to do more seasonal events down the road. They hope other local businesses also will benefit from the increased foot traffic.

Interest in moving business to the uptown area has increased dramatically in the last year or so, including the addition of Sugar and Spice Bakery.

Other storefronts are empty and the current owners are hoping to see other businesses locate to the area to complement the existing stores. One dream is a microbrewery.

"I could see this area being a destination area," McGill said.

In her business plan, before opening in May, she had planned to reach a 15-mile radius customer base. But she has been pleasantly surprised at customers coming in from more than an hour away.

"It's amazing what social media is doing," she said. "It's bringing light to small towns off the highway."

For now, the three women business owners are working together for support and mutual benefits.

"It's awesome to roundtable with like-minded business women, passionate about the community," McGill said.

Each business has its own customers and they encourage overlap, promoting their neighbors with shoppers.

The key is the businesses complement, not compete with, one another, Helms said. And that's what they hope will continue if new businesses join them on Oak Street.

"This town has room to grow," Bolinger said.