Fun holiday gift ideas that support your neighbors
Small businesses are the backbone of rural Missouri. This holiday season, skip the big-box stores and mega online retailers. Instead, support the businesses that support your communities. Here are just a few ideas to add to your shopping list. These businesses — and 500 more — are part of the Buy Missouri initiative overseen by Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe. To find more products made in Missouri or to enroll your business in this program visit www.BuyMissouri.net.
SPOOR FARMS, LADDONIA
First-generation farmer Gavin Spoor has been growing popcorn since 2018. You can enjoy his crop in the traditional ways (microwave bags or kernels for your popcorn popper), or you can buy the ears of popcorn and gather around the microwave to see it pop right off the ear.
GIDDY-UP SOY CANDLES, WESTPHALIA
Brenda Kay Rehagen hand pours all of her 100% soy wax candles. The unique candles come in a variety of scents, from mulberry to lilac to caramel pecan to sea salt and peonies. You can find Brenda’s creations online and in 25 boutiques and stores across Missouri. Her products are also available for school fundraisers and special benefits.
COWBOY CHRIS’ BBQ SAUCE, WARRENTON
Chris Theerman spent years searching for the perfect barbeque sauce, but he came up short. So, he made one. After two years of experimenting in the kitchen, he created Cowboy Chris’ Original Hot Barbeque sauce. Enjoy his original sauce, which is zesty, thick and has a bite, or opt for his mild barbecue sauce, a dry rub or seasoning.
GUNSLINGER SOAP, ST. JOSEPH
Sean Selecman was tired of using cheap and drying soap and decided to experiment in crafting his own. From almost 100 formulas, he narrowed down his list to 15 high-quality formulations. After creating homemade bar soaps from natural oils and amazing scents, Sean expanded into shaving soap and beard products. Their beard oils help soften, hydrate and control frizz on even the unruliest beards.
BENTONSHIRE FARMS, EDWARDS
After moving to a Missouri farm, Joanne Stewart took a soap-making class. She was hooked and began creating products from clean ingredients. Today she produces small-batch soaps, lip balms, body butters and sugar scrubs. Joanne is a first-generation American from Yorkshire, England, so her company name combines her county of Benton and “shire,” a British word for county.
BEAR PAW CREEK, MILLER
Since 2000, Janet Stephens and a team of seamstresses have been producing colorful educational products for all ages. Their products include bean bags, stretchy bands, streamers, balloon balls, play scarves, instruments and more. Bear Paw Creek equips teachers, therapists and parents as they seek to enrich the lives of others through music and movement.
BYRD’S PECAN DELIGHTS, ADRIAN
In 1964, Jennifer Cassaday’s grandfather bought a farm with a dream of raising the best pecans. That dream grew into a small shop. In 2014, Jennifer had a similar dream, but instead of growing pecans, she bakes with them. Her made-from-scratch goodies include cinnamon pecans, pecan brittle and pecan clusters. If you visit her store, you can also enjoy breakfast, lunch, coffee and ice cream.
22 SIERRA COFFEE CO., MOUNT VERNON
In early 2020, two veterans joined forces to create a specialty coffee company. Patrick Little and Cole Gardner say their mission is to fuel those who serve their countries and communities. You can choose from 12 varieties of their 100% specialty grade Arabica coffee in either coffee bags or single-serve pods. Or, visit their shop in Mount Vernon