WAUKESHA – Small Business Saturday is all about supporting our local businesses. But this year in Waukesha, many business owners are giving that support back to the community. Several stores donate part of their proceeds to the United for Waukesha Community Fund. The fund helps support victims of the Christmas Parade tragedy when a man drove his SUV to the annual parade, killing six people and injuring dozens.
Right outside the front door of the Burlap and Lace Market on Main Street is a memorial to the victims of the parade tragedy that occurred last weekend. The store is one of the companies donating to the community fund this weekend.
“I live in Waukesha for a reason, and I live right in downtown Waukesha,” said Burlap and Lace owner Tami Evanoff of the strength of the community. “It was amazing for us to wrap our arms around everyone on Sunday and it’s amazing to feel that everyone is surrounding us now.”
The store sells products from over 100 mostly local vendors. More than half of these vendors donate a portion of their proceeds over the weekend, 10 to 100 percent, to the community fund.
Hundreds of people passed by the store on Saturday, some queuing for over an hour not only to support the local store, but also to support their community.
Debi Iams is visiting a family in Illinois for the holiday weekend and said she bought eight of the “Waukesha Strong” ornaments sold in the store.
“We all watched with tears in our eyes last week and so that was good. I feel good supporting people here because they are always good when we come here,” Iams said.
The ornaments cost $ 5 each and Evanoff said more than $ 1,000 has been sold so far. She said the designer was at the parade when the incident happened and wanted to help his community recover.
But it’s not just the ornaments. Pottery, jewelry, “Waukesha Strong” shirts and other items also sold in the store will help fund the fund.
Evanoff said the generosity she sees in her own store is overwhelming, especially when people donate beyond what they’ve bought.
“Once this weekend is over and I can,” Evanoff said with a deep breath, “I think everything is going to hit me then.”
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