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Business alliance filling holiday gift boxes with local goods

Business alliance filling holiday gift boxes with local goods

Missouri may be the Show-Me State, but David James, a retired University of Missouri professor and former hotel manager, doesn’t believe Missourians show enough pride in their state.

“I thought something should be done to generate interest in Missouri’s history,” James said.

Two years ago, James came up with the idea of putting together a deck of playing cards that features famous Missouri people, landmarks and annual events. After gathering and taking photos and writing captions for 52 cards in the Explore Missouri deck, he put together the Explore Columbia Playing Cards, with 52 local places of interest. The aces, for example, are four local festivals and the 10s are four historic hotels.

The decks are sold locally at Bluestem Missouri Crafts, and a two-deck set is one of the dozen items in a gift box developed by Columbia Locally Owned Retail and Services, a business alliance better known as COLORS.

Other gifts include honey from Walkabout Acres, chocolate bars from Patric Chocolate, biscotti from Cherry Street Artisan, seasonings from Hoss’s Market & Rotisserie, coffee beans from Uprise Bakery, decorative glass boxes from Arsenic Leopard, hand crème from Kilgore’s Pharmacy and hiking socks from Walt’s.

COLORS, an educational nonprofit organization with about 100 members, will start selling the boxes next week. Paul Sturtz, co-director of the True-False Film Festival and a COLORS board member, came up with the gift-box idea to provide a gift-giving solution to Columbia residents who support locally owned businesses—and to promote the practice of buying local. The boxes sell for $25 and $40.

“COLORS wants citizens to have a gift-giving option with local impact for the holidays, strengthening our economy and our community,” Ginny Chadwick, the organization’s operations manager, said. “These gift boxes are filled with items from your hometown businesses and a gift certificate that recipients can use at all COLORS businesses.”

The boxes also will contain $10 gift certificates redeemable at businesses that are COLORS members. COLORS is affiliated with the American Independent Business Alliance, or AMIBA, which agreed to cover processing fees. The organizations are using Certifichecks, a company founded in 1999 that serves business associations nationwide.

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