ORANGE GROVE, Texas — Kelly Thurmon is a salon owner, and realized that during the pandemic, local people needed to be able to shop local in Orange Grove.
Her idea was to create a place where customers could get an array of local goods in one handy place.
“A lot of my elderly clients were just going downhill and so depressed, we needed to do something for the community," Thurmon said. "Something where they’ll have a place to come and maybe have a piece of pie, or just shop, and just give them a sense of happiness."
So, Thurmon and her business partner got to work starting the Orange Grove Emporium. The process was not easy, but in late 2020, the business opened.
“We were sitting here painting, and we’d look at each other and just say, what are we doing?’ But something just kept pushing us forward, we knew it was a positive thing. There were times when we thought it won’t happen, but we made it happen,” Thurmon said.
The business was originally supposed to feature goods from just two vendors, but it has grown exponentially over the last several months.
“We were going to keep it really simple with two vendors, one is selling soaps, and one is selling cups, and I told my business partner at the time, I said, ‘let’s just stop there, let’s just see how it goes.’ Well, as we were talking about what we wanted, as far as vendors to come in, they just kept rolling in the door, and I said, ‘okay this is a sign, we just got to go with it,’” Thurmon said. “We were looking for an artist, well the same day an artist contacted me, we were looking for someone that did local honey, and he came in right after that.”
Now, the Orange Grove Emporium has goods from 18 vendors on sale, with two more on the way. Some distributors from as far away as Calallen are bringing their products to the shop.
The Orange Grove Emporium has a wide variety of goods and services for purchase, including Thurmon's salon, a bistro, homemade soaps, local honey, art, and much more.
“People just like to come in and see what we have new, we’re always changing stuff, changing merchandise, and people really love it," she said. "They can come here, shop, eat, get their hair done. It’s really convenient for them, especially the elderly women."
One of those vendors is Hippie Chick Soap and Body Works, owned by Judith Myers.
“I am super excited to be able to share our product line at the Orange Grove Emporium,” Myers said. “It’s such a sweet, comfortable place.”
Myers makes her own soaps with natural-based products, including goat’s milk as one of the ingredients. She sells her goods in several local shops in the Coastal Bend, and loves to share her product with people.
“I like to make body products that are going to rejuvenate the skin. I want to sell to everybody, I want everybody to use natural-based products,” Myers said. “I just love doing what I do, I love having a person that will buy my product, and trust me that it will be good for their skin. That’s the biggest compliment I could get.”
The Orange Grove Emporium is located at 113 S. Eugenia St. in Orange Grove, and is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday.