We are Branson Strong - Reopening our beautiful city after COVID-19 (Corona Virus)
Let me start by telling you a little bit about this BIG, little town. Branson is town of just over 10,000 year round residents. We are located in the heart of the Ozark Mountains, in southwest Missouri, and we are known for being a family friendly vacation destination. On average, this BIG little town draws 8,000,000 (yes, that's 8 million) people, and for good reason.
Highway 76, Country Music Boulevard is famously lined with theaters (more seats than Vegas!), and though we once hosted mostly country music performers, today we offer very diverse entertainment. No matter your age, you're sure to find something you LOVE about our famous "strip", and lots you're going to love about this town. Along with Hwy 76, we also have Marvel Cave, Dolly Parton's Dixie Stampede Dinner Attraction, and Silver Dollar City, an 1800s-themed amusement park with live music.
Silver Dollar City itself attracts more than 2.2 million people between March and December each year. The park was opened in 1960 after the Herschend Family decided they could drive in more tourist to their cave if they added something more. Boy, were they right! Silver Dollar City now boasts the second steepest wooden roller coaster in the World! And, the only one in the world with three inversions! They have also, just recently, added Time Traveler. This coaster breaks all kinds of records, and for $26 Mil, it rightfully claims to be the fastest, steepest, and tallest complete-circuit spinning roller coaster on the planet. It also boasts that it is the only one to include three inversions as well as two launches. All of the assertions are true, and the combination of features and elements helps make Time Traveler a unique, wild, and wonderful ride. Thrill seekers come from near and far, from countries all over the globe to ride this 100ft. tall, 50mph, zero-G roll roller coaster.
Along with all of the entertainment Branson has to offer, our Tri-Lakes region, also has three lakes full of fun. From fishing, to boating, to Kayaking, to just plane ol' relaxing, between Table Rock Lake, Lake Taneycomo, and Bull Shoals Lake, this beautiful area has you covered. The largest of the lakes is Table Rock which was created to help control the flooding on the White River. Covering more than 43,000 acres, Table Rock Lake sits at 915ft above sea-level (unless we've suffered too much Spring rain, then it can go much higher!) This lake is known world wide for it's bass fishing! Just downstream from the Table Rock Dam, sits the Missouri Department of Conservation Fish Hatchery, which is used to stock trout in Lake Taneycomo. The cold water discharged from the dam creates a trout fishing environment in the lake. It's a flyfisherman's paradise. The Fish Hatchery is free to the public, and well worth an hour or two of your time.
The Shepherd of the Hills Outdoor Play is another "must do". This action-packed live reenactment of the famous historical novel by Christian minister, Harold Bell Wright. Published in 1907, this beautiful story tells of life in the rugged Ozark Mountains of Missouri in the late 1800’s. From May - October each year, over 90 actors and actresses, horses, sheep, mules and donkey’s perform on a stage the size of a football field. There’s a shoot-out, the actual burning of a log cabin, a love story, a mystery and a moral message that is as true today as it was over a century ago. My favorite time to go to the outdoor play is late autumn, when the air is cool, the trees are changing, and you can smell the familiar scent of smoke coming from the chimneys dotting the hills.
We also have a never ending supply of places to shop. One of my favorites spots is Grand Village Shops on Hwy, 76. These shops are locally owned and operated, and it's a nice place to have a look around and spend a dime or two should you feel the need. Stop in to Mel's Hard Luck Diner while you are there. They feature very talented singing servers and have a pretty good burger, too! And, before you leave, be sure and go by Sugar Leaf Bakery for an OMGoshhhhh Yummy treat! There's Tanger Outlet Mall, Branson Landing, and the Historic Downtown Branson area, which I am the most partial to. You'll also find the locally owned businesses here.
Located in that lovely, historic downtown is where you will find Enchanted Memories, Custom Engraving & Unique Gifts. We were born in April of 2006 by husband (and, he's mighty handsome) and wife (that's me) team hoping to offer something "different and unique" to the shopping in Branson. When we opened our doors in a 600sq. ft. building, we knew we wanted to excel in quality and customer service. We wanted to be personal, and we wanted to get to know our customers. Over the past (almost) 15 years, we have done just that. The customer service in this most unique personalization store, is second to none. This has lead to our constant and steady growth. It has, without a doubt, set us apart from the others. Our foundation was built on - never meeting a stranger, going above and beyond for our customers, and offering a fair and affordable price for our most unique gifts. We strive to have gifts that you wont find anywhere else, and strive even harder to sell items MADE IN THE USA (Chuck is a US Navy Veteran, so it's extremely important to us!).
From engraving large marble and wooden photo plaques, to something as simple as a pen, we offer FREE engraving on everything that we carry both in our brick and mortar storefront and on our website. Speaking of website, www.EnchantedMemoriesBranson.com has been around almost as long as our storefront, and through that, we have shipped to every state in the USA, and all four corners of the world. Specializing in photo engraving, should you visit our physical location, we take photos from your phone, from your camera, from Facebook, even those wallet photos that you are still carrying around, and we create the most cherished and special gifts EVER. Some of our most popular items are, our Solid Wood Photo Plaque, in both Basswood and Butternut, our Full Color Slate Plaques, our Photo Engraved Anodized Photo Dog Tags, and our Custom Photo Crystal Christmas Ornaments, to name a few. Oh wait, I almost forgot, Our Custom Engraved Family Tree Plaque! Our photo engravings are amazing, capturing every important detail in your photographs. That special little freckle on your daughters nose? Yup, even that. If you aren't planning a Branson Vacation any time in the near future, our website is always open and easy to navigate. Simply pick your item, upload your image and type in your desired text. We take care of the rest. Rest assured, when you shop with us at Enchanted Memories, Custom Engraving & Unique Gifts, you are purchasing a piece of art, a gift to be treasured for all time.
Aside from our engraving, we also carry an excellent variety of other unique gifts. Custom Wall Words, Custom T-Shirts, even Custom Auto Decals. We also carry a sensation variety of pre-made signs, and some of them are laugh out loud funny. We also carry the most unique line of handbags anywhere. Our CHALA Handbags are one of our very best sellers year round. They are whimsical, they are fun, they are stylish! They are also a company, who like us, give a portion of proceeds to Animal Rescue. Because all of handbags feature living things (mostly adoraBULL animals! Bull is important here as we have three English BULLdog rescues!), their goods are made with vegan leather. Again, because quality matters to us, these handbags not only feel and look like real animal leather, we feel the quality is just as good, also. So many styles to choose from... sloths, dragonfly, cats, dogs, flowers, even a piano and a guitar. You've got to have a look at our selection, I know you're going to just fall in love with them, too!
And, I can NOT forget to mention our "Rescue Room". Created after we lost our beloved Dogue de Bordeaux, this special room in our store is very zen. Very zen, and very calming, because our precious Duchess was terrified of EVERYTHING when we rescued her after being a breeder dog in a puppy mill. A fountain flowing and wind chimes singing, it is such a nice and soothing room to spend a little time in. The merchandise in this room is centered around positivity, fun, and animals. A portion of the proceeds from this room are matched and donated to a different rescue organization each year. Know of a special rescue you would like for us to have a look at for next year? Email us! orders@EnchantedMemoriesBranson.com.
If I may, I would like to mention one more piece of our puzzle a little more in-depth. Our customers, our friends. We are so blessed with so many repeat customers, customers that shop with us year after year, and occasion after occasion. You are our lifeblood, the beat of this heart that we call our business. You are awesome, you are amazing, and you are wonderful. Thank you! We love each and every one of you!
Now, back to the story at hand. COVID-19. Ugh, just the continued mentioning of it makes me want to never, ever, ever, ever hear it again. That's where this blog started. The entire planet, no matter where on earth you may be, has been impacted in some way from this. We have shut down schools, churches, sporting events, transit, whole towns, whole states, and whole countries! Wow. Who would have ever dreamt of anything like this in the world that we live in? Never. It is our hope, and our prayer that you have not been (or know anyone) that has perished, or become very ill due to this invisible monster. We hope you are, like us, more than ready to open this world back up. We hope you are more than ready to find your new normal, going doing and seeing whom you want. Sounds really good right now, doesn't it? I've never wanted to be "normal" in my life, but I want my "normal" back. I want to drive through our BIG, little town and see the people! I want to see cars in parking lots, lights on in the stores and restaurants, and I want to see customers able to return to our amazing little personalization store on Main Street, in Historic Downtown Branson, MO, USA! I want to see their smiles, I want to see the awe on their face when they see their completed gifts! Normal things, that we all did every day that we took for granted before COVID-19.
The governor has set the date to reopen Missouri for May 4, but the city of Branson has different ideas. They have extended this closure until May 15. A decision that we hope changes within the next few days. Fingers crossed. All of these wonderful places that I have mentioned need to unlock their doors and greet every customer, every tourist, every visitor that enters their place. Country Music Blvd., Silver Dollar City, the Fish Hatchery, Shepherd of the Hills Outdoor Drama, the wonderful shopping areas, the wonderful restaurants, every show and every business in this BIG, little town... and Enchanted Memories, Custom Engraving & Unique Gifts depends on it.
May you all be healthy and safe as we continue on day by day to find our new normal life. A life after The Great Corona Virus Pandemic of 2020. God Bless our President, Donald Trump and his task force for working non-stop the past weeks/months to keep this country moving (though slowly). God bless our nurses, our doctors, our truckers, our grocery store and pharmacy workers, and so many more souls who have continued to do their job even during this uncertainty and unknown. God bless our planet, our country, our state, and this BIG little town that we call home.
~ Julie Mires