Vendors Emporium recognized as the Chamber’s Small Business of MonthPublished 3:54pm Sunday, October 6, 2013
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A mainstay of the Brookhaven business scene for nearly two decades has been honored by the Brookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce as the chamber’s Small Business of the Month.
Chamber Executive Director Garrick Combs and other chamber representatives presented the award to Vendors Emporium owners Rhonda and Billy Joe Deer on Tuesday.
The Deers bought the business in 2008 from Marilyn and Buster Brown, who founded Vendors Emporium in 1994. The business has operated at 210 Highway 51 N. since it first opened.
“I was there as a vendor, and Marilyn and Buster approached us about buying the business,” Rhonda Deer recalls. Rhonda said she and her husband, who is also the pastor of Union Hall Baptist Church, prayed about it, and decided to take on the business. “God has just blessed us with it,” Rhonda said.
The Deers say they operate based on the teachings of Jeremiah 29:11:
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Today, Vendors Emporium typically has 65 to 70 vendors operating in the store’s 6,500 square feet of space.
“We’ve got handmade items, crafts, antiques, home décor, T-shirts, vintage items, furniture, purses, jewelry, candles, wreathes, flower arrangements, metal work, gourmet dip mixes, homemade pickles and jams, fudge and unusual handmade lamps and lampshades” to name just a few of the items available, Rhonda said.
Vendors tend to come and wind up staying with the business for years. “We probably have two people who’ve been with the store since it opened,” said Rhonda, who has been involved with the business herself for 12 years.
The Deers’ two sons and their wives also have helped out off and on, she said. “They’ve been very supportive. They come in wherever we need them.”
Besides Vendors Emporium, the Deers also own and operate Heaven Sent Goodies, a commercial bakery. Their baked items can be found at Vendors Emporium, and, when contacted Friday about her award, Rhonda was busy at the bakery preparing goodies for the Ole Brook Festival
“Between it all, we stay pretty busy,” she said
Vendors Emporium is open from 9 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday and from 9 a.m. until 8 p.m. Thursday.