These trees need toys: Downtown merchants need your votes to help charity

Published 10:38 pm Wednesday, November 23, 2016


NATCHEZ — Downtown merchants have planted a holiday forest they hope draws customers to their stores and provides help to a local charity during the Christmas season.

Fifteen businesses on Franklin and Commerce streets are competing in the first charity Christmas tree competition this holiday season. Merchants are asking customers to vote for their favorite trees with donations to the local Toys for Tots campaign.

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“We were looking for something to do that would bring customers to the shops, but would also be a benefit of some type,” The Nest owner John Grady Burns said.

Burns has already finished his tree fashioned out of bare twigs populated with a flock of redbirds.

Magnolia Mariée owners Jennifer Smith and Sarah Williams  were busy Wednesday afternoon transforming their tree into a angel complete with wings and a wedding-dress-inspired train.

Regina Hoostell, owner of Franklin Street Antique Mall, has nearly finished her tree filled with vintage and antique ornaments in the spirit of the many items available in her store.

Hootsell said that shoppers are welcome to look at the trees and decide which one to vote as their favorite.

Tickets can be purchased two ways, Hootsell said. Shoppers can donate an unwrapped toy or they can donate money that will be given to Toys for Tots.

A donated toy buys two votes, a $3 donation buys one vote and a $5 donation buys two votes. Each participating store has a Toys for Tots gift bag for collecting votes.

“You can buy them in any store, and you can drop them in any store,” Hootsell said.

The competition starts Friday and continues through Dec. 10 when the stores will be hosting their annual Christmas Open House.

Other participating stores include, Natchez Coffee Company, Crafted Gallery, The Pampered Sole, Consign and Design, Some of This and Some of That, Lean Ink, Pique by Mush, Mrs. Holder’s Antiques, My Shoe Kloset, Clary Sage, H. Hal Garner Antiques & Interiors and Turning Pages.