Creative Councilwoman Makes Gift Shopping in Travelers Rest a Cinch

by Celeste Hawkins

You want to shop local this holiday season. But maybe you’re not sure where to start? Thanks to a new list by Brandy Amidon called TR’s Favorite Things, you can discover some of the town’s top recommended gifts all in one place.

It’s fair to say that Amidon — a recently re-elected councilwoman and local business owner herself — has done all the hard work for you. On her tumblr page TR’s Favorite Things, Amidon has put together a varied selection of gifts sold in Travelers Rest shops.

Amidon hopes the gift list will serve to showcase Travelers Rest’s retail offerings and to encourage everyone to support local businesses as they shop for friends and family during the holidays.

“We can buy the majority of our Christmas right here,” says Amidon.


Local artist Michelle Wade creates pottery to sell at TR Maker’s Co.

When Oprah Winfrey released her personal list of recommended gifts in early November — the similarly named Oprah’s Favorite Things — it sparked Amidon’s inspiration for this project. If your business gets included in Oprah’s list, you can pretty much guarantee a huge spike in sales. Amidon dreams that her list will someday have the same kind of effect on local businesses in Travelers Rest.

Instead of choosing all the gifts herself, however, Amidon requested submissions from some of her local friends. With their help, she has already managed to curate a dynamic list of favorite gifts in town in only a short amount of time.

And the list will continue to grow. Visitors to TR’s Favorite Things are also welcome to submit their gift suggestions throughout the holiday season and the rest of the year, too.

Inside The Tasting Room in Travelers Rest

“When I first came onto council six years ago, 80% of Main Street was empty buildings. It was a desert,” says Amidon.

Since then, new shops have opened up throughout Main Street, including most of the ones featured on the TR’s Favorite Things list. So far, gift ideas range from $1.50 jewelry by The Flop Shop to a wine tasting at The Tasting Room to custom pottery from TR Maker’s Co.

Amidon says she aims to find inventive ways to help her hometown’s local businesses thrive and to be a cheerleader for the owners, many of whom she knows personally.

“The fact that you can go into one of our stores and you can leave knowing the owner’s name — you might not get that personal attention somewhere else,” says Amidon. “Here, you’re buying a dress, but you’re also gaining a friend.”

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