T hey're a part of the heart and soul of any community -- locally-owned and operated businesses that sell locally-made products.
O ften times, those businesses don't just help make a community unique, they help it thrive.
Melvin Edes, owner and operator of Edes Meats, is a good example of that.
"When we started 28 years ago, there was probably 30 places in the Panhandle. There's just not anymore," he said referencing his locally-owned meat processing business. "We do beef, we do pork and we do lots of sausage. We make about 35 different kinds of sausage. We do hams. We do it all from scratch, we don't just buy it and resell it to you."
Edes Meats started 28 years ago as a one-person business, and over the years it's grown to 30. Edes himself said the reason his business has been so successful is they know how to process meat right. They age it, cure it, freeze it and cut it. While we were there, Edes even ate a piece of meat *raw* just to prove how pure it is.
"We'll have people drive up from Lubbock and we have people that come from Dallas to buy stuff. They don't do what we do and see the quality of beef that we sell. There's a right way to do everything and meat is one of them," he added.
Even though it's clear Edes Meats has definitely "made it", for Edes it's not just about making a buck. A life-long resident of Amarillo, he underst oo d how important a local business like his is to the community and our economy.
"We employ 30 people," he said. "That's local. That money stays here, they live here, pay taxes here, we pay taxes here, we pay big taxes here," Edes laughed. "those go to schools, roads and everything else."
While hiring local employees is certainly helpful to our economy, other local businesses are still finding ways to be successful. Take Canyon Creek Soaps for example. Right now, owner and operator, Paula Davis, does all of their manufacturing on her own.
"We manufacture homemade soaps, lotions, lip balms and variety of bath and products," Davis said. "We do most of our selling to other retailers but also through our website."
Davis mixes a variety of ingredients to make her products like shea butters and olive oils. Then, she pours her smell good concoctions into custom-made soap molds, lotion bottle or lip balm containers. But, Davis won't just use any ingredients. She also values shopping local.
"I buy as many of my supplies, my boxes, my shopping materials, I buy a lot of things from local companies," she said. "so the money you spend with me, whether it's with a local retailer of with a company as a retailer buying from me, you're investing in this community."
You can find Canyon Creek Soap products all ten of United Market Street stores in Texas as well as in any Toot-N-Totum around Amarillo.
If it's a unique glass of wine you're looking for, D'Vine Wine is the local business to see. They not only sell wine, they make it.
"We have blends that are unique to Amarillo like we have the Palo Duro Sunset, it's a cranberry wine and we have Amarillo Morning which is peach wine," said D'Vine Wine Manager, Katherine Eppler. "We do make it all on site so it's kind of neat to taste something that is made here."
D'Vine Wine opened in Amarillo back in 2009. Since then, local wine lovers have been able to create, taste and buy almost any kind of wine right here in town, from the very folks who made it.
Being local, this winery will not only make almost any kind of wine requested, they'll also personalize it for you.
"We custom make labels so people that want special things for anniversaries or birthdays, they do that a lot, too," said Eppler.'
A business that's good for Amarillo, and your taste buds.
"Instead of getting the wine from who knows where and who knows who, you can come here and get it from us and we actually had a hand in making it and you can, too. So, that's kind of neat just having everything so local just right here."
If you need something to pair with a great glass of wine, look no further than your backyard. Coming soon to Amarillo is a new locally-owned business: Fanelli's Pasta & Lasagna Sauce Inc.
This gourmet pasta sauce company is expected to start producing it's sauce, Fanelli's Finest, in early March out of the West Texas Enterprise Center.
"It's a hearty, robust, Italian sauce," said Fanelli's Pasta and Lasagna Sauce Inc. Travis Fanelli. "Our recipes originate from Sicily, they're 175 year old family recipes, been passed down from generation to generation."
After they being production, you can find Fanelli's Finest pasta sauce in all the United Stores in Amarillo, Albertson's and other health food grocery stores in town.
Fresh, hand-chopped ingredients will go into the making of sauce. Fanelli also said they feel it's important to hire local employees as their business grows, to continue giving back to the community.
"I think it's important for people from Amarillo to know that they're buying something that's made here, by Amarilloans," said Fanelli. "We've lived here our whole lives and we just felt that Amarillo has given us a lot over the years and we wanted to give back."
That's just what all locally owned and operated businesses in any community are doing -- giving back. Many provide a service, many provide a product, and many provide jobs, all things that are helpful to our recovering economy.
Still, some might say, one of the best things about local businesses is they're just our like city and our people: unique.