The stockings were hung by the chimney with care

Published 10:00 pm Monday, December 21, 2015

Tommie and Anna Perry, owners of Perry Ltd. in Landrum. (Photo by Linda List)

Tommie and Anna Perry, owners of Perry Ltd. in Landrum. (Photo by Linda List)

I’ve always thought the most fun when Christmas shopping is searching out the last minute stocking stuffers, those unusual little gifts that no one ever dreams of getting.  And this year I discovered the perfect place to find these last minute treasures, Perry Ltd. on Rutherford St. in downtown Landrum.

Tommie and Anna Perry are the owners. They relocated their shop from Tryon to Landrum last summer, just in time for the tourist season. Several years ago they opened an outlet style shop in Tryon next to IGA.

Tommie tells me, “We would find overstocks on the Internet and bring them in. It was challenging because you never knew what shape things would be in.  They were often just thrown in a box with no packing, or were just in poor condition. We decided we needed more foot traffic and found a spot for lease in downtown Tryon.” They changed the mix of products, becoming more of a general store and carried less of the overstock merchandise.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

As time went on, Tommie felt that Landrum offered more tourist business and more local foot traffic.

“When we saw this space become available, we decided to move,” he continues. “But you have to weigh all the factors. Will the added traffic create enough sales to pay the increase in rent?  There’s a lot of second-guessing. Our business has been good here. This is our first Christmas and sales are up,” he smiles.

We discuss some of his merchandise. Tommie is proud to carry as many lines that are made in the USA as possible. I’m surprised by all the products he has discovered. He shows me a line called Duke Cannon.  It’s a men’s gift line and a portion of the profits go to the Wounded Warrior project.

“I feature a company called Stephanie Dawn that includes little cloth purses. Originally she worked in a factory in a small town that produced Vera Bradley. But when Vera moved production out of the country, it left people without jobs. So she started her own company making some similar products and put employees back to work,” he explains. I notice a pretty lip balm holder which will be the perfect stocking stuffer for my daughter, who never goes anywhere without a ChapStick.

I ask about some plaques with sayings, made by Celebrations, and learn that all the employees are people with disabilities.

“And this,” Tommie says, “is my best selling item.  Customers buy one and come back and buy two or three more.” He points to a little gadget called Soap Lift, made in USA, that holds a bar of soap, keeping it high and dry. I immediately start a mental list of who will be getting one of these in their stockings.

One wall is covered with cooking gadgets. A three-minute egg timer, fancy ice cube molds, or a pot minder to keep things from boiling over, would surprise your favorite cook. Dish towels offer amusing sayings. If you’re looking for paper doilies for cookies, he offers several sizes. Having company for Christmas? Tommie has some festive paper Christmas placemats to dress up your table.

I notice a little bag called a Sleepover Kit, perfect for the teen on you list. It contains nail polish, a toothbrush, glitter eye cream, hair ties, and a sleep mask. Looking for a bag of marbles? Perry Ltd. has them. Candy cane soap? You’ll find it here. If there’s a child on your list, check out the little duck soaps. Or maybe dinosaur erasers would be fun.

Tommie makes his own soy candles right in the shop. The scents are varied, Christmas tree if your tree is artificial and doesn’t smell like balsam, leather for a nephew or bachelor on your list, and even fresh linen, which sounds like the perfect candle for the guest room and overnight visitors.

Growing up, my stocking was filled with oranges and walnuts and maybe a candy cane. Now I think it’s fun to include that special something.  And I’ve managed to do that visiting Tommie Perry at Perry Ltd.  I hope I’ve given you some ideas.

So, as the poem goes, “The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, with hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there. Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!”