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Shop Local and Keep your Community Strong

As we count the days until Christmas, many of you will shop in nearby cities with well-known stores and shopping centers. Others prefer internet shopping via home pc or cell phone. No one can dispute the multitude of products and incentives everywhere in the virtual world and in the malls.

Before you grab your car keys or cozy up to your computer screen consider supporting your local retailers when checking off your Christmas list. In our community of Fredericksburg we have over 50 stores on or located near our main street. Most are independently owned and managed; no cookie cutter stores here. Our store fronts are the creation of our own brains and our product mix is imaginative and current. Our amazing little town has everything from art to clothing to toys, books, antiques, things for your home and office, electronics and so much more. All this in a beautiful and friendly environment with exceptional customer service and, yes, competitive price tags.

Finding the right gift isn’t the only reason to shop where you live. Shopping local directly impacts the viability of the many non-profits in the community. Neighborhood retailers are a significant source of support for these non-profits and typically top the list of organizations when seeking assistance. A quick head count and a few phone calls came up with over 20 local non-profits which are the recipients of retailer donations, either monetary or in-kind, spanning such categories as educational, civic, religious, historical, medical, military and others. Shopping local does make a difference. The result is a thriving community. Who doesn’t want that?

As you spread your cheer this Christmas, consider spreading it locally. You’ll not only find a wonderful gift, you’ll be supporting your community in doing so. That’s something to feel great about.

Merry Christmas!
Mary Ann


Love that pig skin!

The official football season is underway! It's for real now that conference games have begun and the fans are flocking to see their favorite players battle it out on a 100 yard field of green. Be it the hometown team, an NCAA favorite or the pros, one cannot dispel the maniacal enthusiasm football brings to Americans everywhere.

I love football, but not just the game. I love the entire show. 1960s football games placed a much smaller me between my parents and my new best friend, Mr. Clements, a sweet elderly gentleman who explained plays, penalties and the benefits of peanuts. We sang the National Anthem and cheered for the team. The best part was when the players would bust through the big Pearsall Mavericks paper sign. I imagined myself running through that sign, holding hands with two awesome football players.

Our entire family was somehow represented at games for more than 16 years. My sister was a baton twirler, followed by my brother who played varsity ball. My next oldest brother was the drum major and then it was finally my turn. I couldn’t wait to get on the field and share in the excitement. I twirled my heart out in my green and white uniform and knee high boots. What a rush!

Some people don’t like football. Really? Football brings people together in a fun, competitive atmosphere like no other. The Friday night game is the heartbeat of a small town. Everyone shows up. You have the players, the coaches and the trainers. Add to that the band, the cheerleaders, the flag team, dance team, pom squad and twirlers. Not to mention the booster clubs, the boy scouts who raise the flag, and the families and fans who are loyal to the core. The very same thing exists across the field; the opposing team and fans, whom we hate.

Then there’s college ball. Take your high school team’s spirit and multiply that by a lot and you get crazy, fun games with tailgating to boot! If I can’t be at a game you’ll find me on the couch, remote control in hard, with my game meal of Velveeta queso, Fritos and a Diet Coke. I get excited. I jump up and down. I yell at the TV. It’s a blast.

It’s no wonder people spend a BAZILLION dollars on game related products. We are all financially certifiable when it comes to buying team gear. So (here comes the HCO plug), be sure to get your team togs on for your next game be it in your home, at the tailgate or at the stadium. Here are a few items we recommend for you crazy football fans.

Life is short. Get to a game.

Mary Ann


Hot is Just an Attitude

It's hot. The entire state of Texas is cooking. Weather enthusiasts love to talk about it!

“My car thermometer read 106. It may be only 100 degrees but it feels like 110 with the heat index. It’s so hot a possum walked across my front yard, tripped over my dog’s tail and she didn’t even notice!”

It's interesting how baffled people are about summer heat. I've lived in Texas all of my life and every July it gets pretty warm, same thing in August. Hmmmm, could be a pattern. But, somehow it becomes the main topic, binding us together in our sweltered state.

Not that I prefer heat. I don’t love the feeling of sweat trickling down my stomach as I drive to work, or opening my lipstick only to watch it melt off the tube and onto my lap, or realizing I left the laptop in the trunk of my car, or dragging the garden hose all around the yard to trickle a little water on the remaining Live Oak trees that surround our house.

Still, I’m optimistic.I listen with hopeful expectation to the weather man each morning, but he’s not telling me what I want to hear - which is “Well, we’re finally going to have a wet, cool front tonight that will blow across the state bringing rain and lower temperatures." Nope, haven't heard that in a while.

So, with all the weather chatter and whining, I've decided to personally ignore the heat and instead, use it to my advantage as a retailer! Not an easy thing to do, but it can be done if one is creative. Yes, my glass of warm lemonade will be half full.

For instance, our HOT, HOT SALE is underway, with prices SO HOT, you will BURN with excitement over all the cool cash you’ll save! Maybe I should sell used cars in the back lot, too. But kidding aside, you’ll find a bargain you’ll love wearing!

Someone told me photos add interest to any blog. If you’re still reading this I hope you enjoy ours. I literally dragged Evelyn all over town (because she's my employee and she has to do what I say ;-) and sure enough we found ways to Carpe the Heat. Here are our findings!

First, we ventured down Main to visit our friends at the Fredericksburg Fire Station. We didn’t actually turn on the big water hose, but we definitely got our minds off of the heat! You could try this at home with a garden hose (on your assigned watering days, of course). Thanks, Wade!

Next stop was Clear River Pecan Co. We ordered a banana split with fruity ice cream because we like to eat healthy. Rebecca added the dollop of whipped cream for photo quality; that and the benefits of all that extra calcium.

After ice cream we sought a cool body of water. While I don’t recommend a plunge into Baron’s Creek at Lady Bird Johnson Park (in a dress), you can still locate some running water in various spots around the Hill Country. Just make sure it's legal; climbing over barbed-wire fences should be avoided!

Back to town for some sightseeing and, yes, the temperatures keep rising! Evelyn's hat keeps her cool(er) AND protected from the sun. She stays well-hydrated with her Camelbak backpack and extra water bottle. The hat is made of 100 percent breathable cotton and comes in (almost) a million colors. The Camelbak holds enough water for a climb up and back down Enchanted Rock. You can find both at HCO!

We wrapped up our day at Fredericksburg Brewing Company with a frosty glass of Red Rock Ale. Few things are as refreshing as a cold beer on a hot day. We also scarfed, I mean nibbled, on a freshly baked pretzel to replenish the salt lost in all that perspiring. Thanks, Chris and Anton!

Other ways to stay cool in Fredericksburg include a visit to art galleries and museums and of course, SHOPPING! We’re absolutely sizzlin’ to see you, but not to worry - we keep Hill Country Outfitters pretty cool inside and always have chilled water available for our customers. And if you’ve ever been in to see us, then you already know our store is just way cool! HA!

Have related thoughts or suggestions of your own? Please include them in our comment section. Embrace the heat!

And until the August weather report, hydrate and take care!

Mary Ann


Summer...the very best season

Just the mention of the word summer and my spirits lift. Summer means a relaxed approach to everyday life, and fortunately I live in a part of the world where the weather is conducive to summer activities; be it an early morning walk or a relaxed evening on the patio with Bob.

Summer also means family travel. We have many wonderful memories of our family vacations with our three sons. Weʼd load our Suburban with more than enough food and gear for a month, even though we were only gone for a week. The VHS player, everyoneʼs favorites snack, drink , pillow and blanket, Bobʼs extra large bag of sunflower seeds, my needlepoint (still unfinished), cameras, audio books (Hank, the Cow Dog) , cards and games were all stashed in the car.

There is NOTHING like a family vacation to form and solidify those familial bonds. Where else would you choose to be stuck together in a confined space for long periods of time? When else are family members required to act as a team in order to endure the surprises that are guaranteed to occur?

I remember all five of us riding in the cab of a tow truck (with the driver) into some remote New Mexico town after our ʻ89 Suburban broke down. Ah, togetherness! The short distance traveled in the tow truck seemed like hours. The suburban was semi-repaired and continued to give us trouble the remainder of the trip.

Unanticipated illness or injury always added drama to any trip. John has broken both his nose and his arm while on family trips. Robert once rode down the mountain in a sled pulled by ski patrol, topping off our most expensive ski trip. Iʼm sure something happened to Tyler, but honestly I canʼt remember. Heʼs the middle child anyway. We hardly noticed him at all. (JK, Tyler!)

We do remember lots of good things, too. There were the “biggest fish ever” caught by proud boys, invigorating hikes taken, wild rafting trip wars, scenic trail rides with Uncle Bruce, the best snow caves, multi-cousin tubing events on Table Rock Lake, Port Aransas, sailing in the BVI, zip lines in the Costa Rican Rain Forest and “begged” Alaska. Awesome vacations, but always returning to the incredible place we get to call home...Fredericksburg, Texas!

We hope youʼll consider Fredericksburg for your family vacation. It is a great place to bring the kids, with fun for all ages a sure thing. For outdoor types, visit the ever- popular Enchanted Rock State Park with its beautiful trails, breath-taking views and cool caves to explore. Get up close and personal with the Longhorn cattle at the historic LBJ State Park or take a dip just down the road in the clear, blue Hamilton Pool or Pedernales Falls State Park. Both are easily accessible from Fredericksburg. The beautiful Guadalupe River with its impressive Cypress trees is a peaceful 30-minute drive to Kerrville. Stop along the way at any local peach stand to get the best peaches youʼve ever eaten. Some orchards allow you to pick your own. Talk about making a memory!

In town thereʼs shopping, eating, miniature golf, real golf, live music, art galleries, a multi-screen movie theater, parks, pools and museums. The Pioneer Museum complex features life as it was “back then” when the first German settlers arrived in Gillespie County. A trip to the Admiral Nimitz Museum and the National Museum of the Pacific War is a must. Admiral Chester Nimitz was born in Fredericksburg and commanded the Pacific Fleet during World War II. The National Museum of the Pacific War is a world- class facility detailing each battle fought in the Pacific during the war.

We love our summer tourists and want you to have a great time while visiting this special town. Youʼll find the people in Fredericksburg are helpful and friendly. Be sure to stop by Hill Country Outfitters and say hello. Come see us and make some shopping memories that you can take home and enjoy until your next visit!

Happy Summer and Stay Cool!

Mary Ann



May is a great month to be in the Texas Hill Country; warm days, cool nights, an occasional thunderstorm. Green has replaced brown in country sides and landscapes. Wildflower hues are changing to vibrant reds and yellows. Hummingbirds buzz around the feeders, and butterflies are permanent guests in my yard. Makes me want to be outside as much as possible.

May also means Mother’s Day, Graduation Day and other significant occasions. At HCO, we’re ready to help get you through this busy month. We have wonderful products for Mom; colorful dresses, shoes galore, versatile Baggallini bags plus beautiful jewelry and accessories. All delivered to you by our excellent sales team. AND we gift wrap with extra love just for mom!

For the graduate choose from a variety of gifts handpicked for the special day. Among our more popular items are the Collegiate Leather Belts by Enmon. Our web photos show a few Texas schools, but others are available; LSU, Auburn, Baylor, OU, OSU and more. The North Face backpacks which are great for hauling books, laptops and notebooks. Our girl graduates love the beautiful watches my Michael Kors watches (we just received a new shipment). Our jewelry and accessories are always favorites.

There are so many options. To make your decision making easier, we’ve included our top products on our website. If you still can’t find the perfect gift, give us a call or send and email and we’ll make suggestions. We are very good at that.

For those of you on our email list, enjoy a 10 percent discount on any full price merchandise through May 23, 2011. If you’re not on the list sign up now and be eligible for store discounts offered throughout the year. It’s another way to say “”thank you” to our amazing customers.

Whatever is in store for you this May, we hope it’s memorable.

Mary Ann