What's better than one-stop Christmas shopping? One-stop Christmas shopping in your hometown.
Finding the latest and greatest in food, beauty, fashion and décor used to mean hoping from store-to-store or spending hours online; luckily, Wilson Living Magazine founders Becky Andrews and Angel Kane stepped-in to simplify and optimize the holiday shopping experience.
WLM's annual Holiday Expo is in its 7th year - and with 100 vendors setting up shop at the Expo this weekend - is getting bigger and better.
"Angel and I started writing our column nine years ago, then started the magazine a year after that. A year after the magazine started - we started the Holiday Expo," Andrews said.
The ladies - Angel, an attorney, and Becky, a journalist - formed a friendship when their children attended school together. "I had always loved humor writing, and Angel enjoyed it too. (Her husband) Brody got us a meeting with Sam Hatcher, who was publisher of The Wilson Post at the time, and he said go for it," Becky explained of unveiling their popular "Telling Tales" column.
On a trip to her native Memphis, Kane picked up a Memphis Magazine in a bookstore. "I told Brody this is the type of magazine that Wilson County needed - something that showcased the town and the people living in it for people who were from here and for the new people moving to town," she said in an earlier interview. From there, Wilson Living Magazine was born.
"When we started the Expo it was because there wasn't a show like this in the area. You had to go to Nashville for Christmas Village or someplace else," Andrews said. "We wanted a place to show everyone all the great shops we have locally. This year we've had vendors come in from as far as California and Texas because it's been such a success."
Becky and Angel attend similar events throughout the year to develop new ideas.
The Holiday Expo kicked-off Thursday evening with the Light Up the Night pre-shopping Gala. The ticketed event offered folks the opportunity to get a sneak-peek at what the public will see Friday and Saturday, as well as mix and mingle with friends.
The Holiday Expo will be open Friday, Nov. 20 from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday, Nov. 21 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the James E. Ward Agricultural Center. The expo is free to the public on Friday and Saturday.
A Breakfast with Santa on Saturday at 8 a.m. and 10 a.m., served by Wildberry Catering, was added for the kids again this year - and by Thursday was sold out.
Andrews, who dressed up as an Elf to celebrate the 2014 Holiday Expo, said she is looking forward to checking a few items off her Christmas list this weekend.
"The only time I get my shopping done is when I come here."
Staff Writer Sabrina Garrett may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Editor's Note: Becky Andrews is employed by The Wilson Post as producer of Wilson Post in Motion, a daily online video program posted on The Wilson Post's Facebook page and YouTube channel.