Shoppers Flock To Golden Triangle

NEW BREMEN — Area residents and visitors to the Golden Triangle were able to score a few holiday gifts and participate in some unique activities as part of the German Family Christmas three-day shopping event.

Southwestern Auglaize County Chamber of Commerce Director Scott Frey noted German Family Christmas is a chamber member-based event.

“These chamber of commerce members are very into shopping local and supporting local business,” he said. “Why we have such a vibrant chamber of commerce is because everybody understands the importance of supporting the chamber businesses.”

Frey said he was out on the first day of the event.

“My son and I were out last night (Friday) at Trupointe in Minster,” he said.

“They had a petting zoo out there, which was new this year. They were pretty busy. Also new this year is the Mile Creek Animal Hospital. Yesterday she had Red Toe Day where she cut toenails, and today she is doing Christmas pictures for pets.”

Frey said he spent Saturday morning at the Lockkeeper’s House, which has an alternate purpose between a chamber office and a visitor’s center.

“I had seen a lot of good traffic at the Lockkeeper’s House this morning — when you open the doors, people will stop by,” he said. “I had a nice tour and visit with a couple from Dayton.”

German Family Christmas also serves as a draw for out-of-towners, Frey said.

“With our marketing, I will go as far as Van Wert and Lima and down to Tipp City and Troy,” he said.

“A lot of people mainly come because of the unique activities the merchants put together.”

Frey noted New Bremen Coffee Co. and Books Inc. hosted a story time and crafts, and La Piazza was open for lunch on Saturday.

“La Piazza even added some German menu items for German Family Christmas,” he said.

Frey added Santa visited True Value Hardware, Hallmark had pictures with the Hallmark snowmen and also hosted face painting this weekend.

“In Minster, the Bunker Restaurant at Arrowhead Golf Course is holding a cooking demonstration, a wine tasting and putter demos,” Frey said. “A lot of people don’t realize you can eat there year-round, both lunch and dinner.”

He added the restaurant has recently made some changes.

“It’s really come a long way,” he said. “Even though it’s getting cold outside, the restaurant is still open — even if the golf course is closed. They also do parties and catering.”

One event that made its debut last year, moved to a different location this year.

“Last year, we had the holiday bazaar at the Lockkeeper’s House,” Frey said. “This year, Elmwood picked it up and ran with it.”

Elmwood hosted the Holiday Peddlers Show on Saturday.

“We have approximately 30 vendors,” Elmwood’s Community Relations Director Kim Prueter said. “The turnout has been outstanding.”

Those vendors included companies such as Thirty-One Gifts, Tastefully Simple, Nancy’s Bags and Bangles, New Bremen Massage Company, Piggy Prints Pottery, Fark Photography, Lia Sophia, Watkins Produce, Belle’s Sweet Treats and The Hair House.

Prueter noted the center did not charge the vendors to participate in the bazaar.

“We did not charge them for both space, and we provided each vendor with a table,” she said.

Each vendor donated a door prize valued at $25.

“We have some today, and we are using the others to give away throughout the year through different things,” Prueter said.

Hosting the bazaar, she noted, was a way to give back to the community.

“We wanted to give back to the community by holding the market and at the same time they get a tour of the building, highlighting certain areas, such as the beauty shop and computer lounge,” Prueter said. “They get to see all of that without realizing they’re getting a tour.”

She added New Bremen High School students helped set up and would help tear down.

“It’s community service hours for them, which can help them with scholarships and grants,” Prueter said.

“We also have several residents who volunteered to help. A lot of the residents have been shopping today as well.”

She noted Elmwood was approached about being involved with German Family Christmas last year.

“With the timing with us just opening last year, we wouldn’t have been able to put the time in it needed,” Prueter said. “This was a way for us to promote Elmwood — I feel this was a big draw to bring people from other towns.”

St. Marys resident Tammy Badgett visited Elmwood with her sister, Sharon Craft, and her granddaughters,  Sara Craft, 6, Ella Resor, 6, and Rachel Craft, 9, of New Knoxville, on Saturday.

“We’re looking maybe for Christmas presents, just something different,” Badgett said.

She noted this was her first year participating in German Family Christmas, and she heard about it after seeing an ad in the newspaper

“We figured we’d hit all of the shops, and we decided here and have been walking around,” Badgett said.

Frey noted the German Family Christmas event is an opportunity for Golden Triangle merchants to provide something different.

“The merchants have put together some unique and interesting activities and events,” he said.

“For the people who come out, it’s just a little more interesting than going to a big box store. People look forward to going into town and visiting the little shops. They’re doing a little more than inviting people to come in and get a little savings.”

Each participating location also had an entry box, where visitors could have the chance to win one of three gift baskets.

“We got a bunch of stuff donated by the chamber members,” Frey said. “We have three gift baskets filled with $3,000 worth of stuff between the three. The grand prize basket alone has $1,500 worth of items in it.”

He noted there were more than 40 chamber members who donated items or who purchased chamber gift certificates for the baskets.

“And there were 14 or 15 merchants participating this year,” Frey said.