SAN MARCOS, Texas — When customers walk into Heartworks Co./Paper Bear, they get bombarded with things to buy: metal farm animals, tapestries, jewelry, sage, etc.
"It’s this like little fantasy world that – I mean everywhere you look there’s stuff," Linda Wiedman said.
Wiedman has shopped at Paper Bear for 37 years. She goes there for any gifts she needs for birthdays, holidays and anniversaries. Since she started shopping there, she has brought her kids, grandkids and now her great-grandson.
"It’s nice – it’s that home feeling when you go to a store and it’s been there forever," Wiedman said.
Owner Carol Powers and her husband have discussed closing the store for the past five years, but finally made the decision to make one more purchase to stock the shelves. That last purchase will come after Christmas.
"The store has pretty much been created by the customers because whenever they come in and [whatever they] are looking for, then we’ll go out, and if it sounds cool, we’ll go out and see if we can find it for them and bring it in," Powers said.
With that purchasing model in mind, Powers hopes to hear from customers about what they want to buy from the store for their final sales.
Former employee and current customer Jan Welch has been in and out of the store since the 1980s and has seen the shop's impact on the San Marcos community.
"It’s a store full of 'I-got-to-haves' – 'I got to have this; I got to have that; I got to have this over there and I want that too, don’t you?'" Welch said. "I truly believe Carol is the person that really made San Marcos the community that it is."
Powers made it her mission to support small businesses and family-made products. She gave the example of buying goods from a family who lives in Central Texas but has extended family in Peru as well as a similar story with a family from China.
She started the shop by selling her own handmade jewelry and pottery. She still sells jewelry today and said that's probably the one constant product in her store.
Now, she plans to retire in March or April and close the doors for good. She plans to cultivate her new passion: gardening.
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