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Union Bridge’s big dreams on display during gift shop open house

Cheri Thompson and Pam Fink manage a store operated by the nonprofit Dream Big Union Bridge and its volunteers, the Union Bridge Gift Shop.

“Our mission is to bring our community together to assist the community and its needs,“ Thompson said.

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The grand opening for the store at 11 North Main Street in Union Bridge was in July. A holiday open house is underway, having begun on Friday, Dec. 4 and continuing on Saturday, Dec. 5, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Sunday, Dec. 6 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

There are light refreshments and a book signing of “The Bella Rose & Dianthus Bobby” from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday by author Brenda Black is planned.

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A pair of books written by local authors are among the unique gifts available during a holiday open house at the Union Bridge Gift and Thrift Boutique on Friday, December 4, 2020. The shop features gifts, artworks and crafts from over 40 different local vendors and benefits Dream Big Union Bridge, a nonprofit group focused on the revitalization of the town.
A pair of books written by local authors are among the unique gifts available during a holiday open house at the Union Bridge Gift and Thrift Boutique on Friday, December 4, 2020. The shop features gifts, artworks and crafts from over 40 different local vendors and benefits Dream Big Union Bridge, a nonprofit group focused on the revitalization of the town. (Brian Krista/Carroll County Times)

One of the gift shop’s missions is to encourage foot traffic in Union Bridge. The Dream Big store houses 43 vendors that rent booths for $25 to $85 per month depending on the amount of space they use. TMyriad merchandise is for sale including housewares, crafts, gently used items, antiques, toys, computer gaming supplies and holiday decorations. Dream Big charges just enough for the spaces cover their expenses.

Some people donate items for Dream Big to sell. The money from those sales support yearly activities including and annual Easter Egg hunt that is free for all the children. There is also a Soup Social that is open to anyone in the community for free. The organization holds a holiday activity for Shriner’s Court which is a 55 and over Senior Community. They have a tree lighting, sing Christmas carols and provide refreshments.

Dream Big also used some of their funds to purchase “Welcome to Union Bridge” banners and donated them to the town.

Another donation to the community is a kiosk in Union Bridge for local organizations to put out their fliers.

Every year there is a holiday decorating contest and cash prizes.

Most recently, Dream Big sponsored a pumpkin people and scarecrow people contest. Local residents decorated their yards and businesses with a creative variety of pumpkin people.

Judges this year were Commissioner Stephen Wantz, Commissioner Eric Bouchat, Sheriff Jim DeWees and State’s Attorney Brian DeLeonardo. There were three categories including Family, Business and Nonprofit. The Keen Family, Flood Zone brewery and, Dream Big were the prize winners this year.

Many artistic craft persons who sell their creations at the Dream Big store.

Water color greeting cards made by Summer Cloud Creations are for sale. Jennifer Helm also makes handmade greeting cards. This year she also made little packets for Halloween with pencils and cute holiday items.

Gabriele McCormick cloth wrapped decorative pumpkins and seasonal signage for the holidays. Brenda Black’s book “The Bella Rose & Dianthus Bobby” is on display and sold in the shop. Cindy Emerick sells textiles, face masks, aprons and other sewn items. Becky Leister sells hand knitted items such as hats, scarves, blankets. Ruth Colson makes hand sewn items featuring Autistic Awareness. Nikki Poole makes a variety of handmade soaps in unique designs.

Unwined Candles also has a booth of hand-poured candles. The candles burn for 80 hours and are in a wine bottle that is cut down.

Terrie Howard sells wooden signs that are personalized with legends such as “I Love Union Bridge,” police emblems or the Carroll County logo. She also does commissions.

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Thompson is proud that Dream Big is one of the four locations that sell Hoffa Beans coffee. The coffee is sold in memory of Jimmy Zumbrum, who passed away from addiction. The profits go toward a halfway house.

Locally roasted coffee by Hoffa Beans is among the local vendors with gifts for sale at the Union Bridge Gift and Thrift Boutique on Friday, December 4, 2020. The shop is holding an open house this weekend with door prizes and other give aways.
Locally roasted coffee by Hoffa Beans is among the local vendors with gifts for sale at the Union Bridge Gift and Thrift Boutique on Friday, December 4, 2020. The shop is holding an open house this weekend with door prizes and other give aways. (Brian Krista/Carroll County Times)

There is a game booth with lots of video games and equipment owned by Eric Holnicker. He hopes to start a video game museum in Union Bridge someday.

Bonnie Hood has a booth selling her hand-painted wine glasses, Christmas ornaments and popular bread and dip mixes.

According to Thompson, Dream Big has a vendor waiting list of 5-10 people at all times.

Thompson can be contacted at 443-340-6305 and her email is ravent16@yahoo.com. The shop has a Facebook Page, Union Bridge Gift Shop and Dream Big Union Bridge also a Facebook page.

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