Few things compare to Christmas in a small town—the courthouse square is especially vibrant this time of year with twinkling lights and gorgeous decorations in nearly every window. We tend to hone in on these shops because they’re centrally located and convenient, but Owen County and dozens of other rural communities across the commonwealth and beyond are home to locally-owned businesses outside the city limits.
In the farthest reaches of Owen County, in a community known as Golds Valley, you will find Dutch Pastries (their cinnamon rolls are to die for). M&T Country Store, located near Long Ridge, specializes in country decor and plus-size women’s boutique clothing. Rita’s Furniture & Décor offers a vast selection of home furnishings. Inside the Sweet Owen Country Store (which doubles as a restaurant), you’ll find a little bit of everything imaginable.
The very purpose of this magazine is to highlight these hidden gems while introducing them to a broader audience. In doing so, we hope you will seek out these small businesses and “support local” this holiday season. The big-box stores will still be there when in dire straits, but it’s up to us to ensure our local business community continues to thrive.
Speaking of thriving, Sweet Owen Magazine has officially reached its first anniversary, with some big news to share. In late August, we entered the first three issues of the magazine in the Print Advertising and Print Collateral category of the Kentucky Travel Industry Association’s (KTIA) 2022 Traverse Awards. I’m proud to announce that out of 160 total entries statewide, Sweet Owen Magazine received a bronze award.
Although a bronze award may seem like a pat on the back, we were up against major cities like Louisville, Lexington, and Bowling Green, whose tourism commissions had numerous projects eligible for entry. For our first year of publication, we don’t think a bronze award is half bad. We jumped at the opportunity to view other entries and how communities across Kentucky promote their counties at the KTIA Annual Conference back in November. We hope to bring some of what we learned back to Owen County and this magazine.
The fall season was incredibly fruitful on so many different levels. Sweet Owen Day and the biennial Monterey Homecoming Fair were both huge successes. The Owen County Chamber of Commerce held its annual meeting Nov. 21 and presented its Business and Businessperson of the Year awards—Earth Tools and Jim Ziege of Ziggy’s Physical Therapy, respectively. The Chamber Marketplace Craft & Vendor Expo allowed dozens of shoppers to purchase handmade items and interact with many talented small business owners.
On a more personal note, multiple folks involved with this magazine held their own celebrations. On Oct. 15, Owen County Tourism & Convention Commission Chairperson Jenni Duncan celebrated the wedding of her son, Grant, and his longtime girlfriend, Candace. On Oct. 29, Brian and I were married in a gorgeous ceremony on his family’s farm. Finally, on Nov. 27, Commission member Shadoe Perry said “I do” to Owenton Police Officer Clint Aldridge.
Somehow, with our insane schedules and numerous responsibilities, we still managed to publish a magazine! Now, if we can only get our Christmas shopping done on time. . .
Molly Haines Riddle