The Downtown Sherman Preservation and Revitalization organization asked Santa to bring Christmas a little early for Sherman families who visited with local businesses and invigorated downtown Saturday.

The Downtown Sherman Preservation and Revitalization organization asked Santa to bring Christmas a little early for Sherman families who visited with local businesses and invigorated downtown Saturday.


The "Christmas in July" event returned for a third year to bring people downtown with their families and friends during the summer. DSPR Executive Director Karen Tooley said the event was specifically created to target families but it has also helped local businesses thrive.


"I often hear: I remember growing and coming downtown on a Saturday and all the sidewalks were filled with people. You saw everybody you knew and it was such a social time. That’s what we’re trying to do," Tooley said. "I think that downtown is the heart of the city. If you don’t keep your downtown vibrant, your city begins to die."


Bean Me Up Coffeehouse & Cafe, located in Kelly Square, has blazed a trail for other local restaurants to join the heart of downtown. Since setting up on the square, owners Sheila and Mike Kluss have seen other eateries start to slowly pop up. Mike said he believes the more restaurants and retail, the more alive the city will become.


"Downtown is coming alive," Mike said. "It’s going to continue to grow, but the only way it can grow is with the support from the community."


It was always Sheila’s dream to own a coffee shop in Sherman and the dream has evolved into a place that offers a great "cup of joe" and more. In the past eight months, Mike said they have improved their menu with kid-friendly meals, more baked goods and additional homemade menu items.


"As Sherman is growing, Bean Me Up is growing," Mike said. "It allows us to get our business in front of people who are not normally downtown during the week and realize that we are open Saturdays. Once they taste our food, they realize we are an option."


As Sherman evolves, businesses are going to have to start expanding off the square, Mike said. Even though it’s going to take a few years to fill up the square and expand, he said, the community and Tooley are essential to continue the growth of the city.


Since the birth of the "Christmas in July" event, Tooley said the turnout of community members and participating vendors have increased each year. Several nonprofit, civil service organizations and other local businesses from outside the square have joined the roster for the annual event.


Businesses that are not located in the heart of downtown had a special opportunity to consider for the "Christmas in July" event. If vendors offered an activity free or if they wanted to give something away for kids, they were allowed to participate, Tooley said. The option brought in a variety of new vendors and Tooley said she hopes the list continues to grow over the years.


Owner of FASTSIGNS Todd Bass was one business owner who had to join the fun this year. After hearing about the event through a Chamber of Commerce meeting, Bass said he brainstormed ideas to make his company fun for children. From cool sayings to popular symbols, children were able to make their own stickers at the FASTSIGNS tent.


"It’s been awesome. I think I’m having more fun than the kids are," Bass said. "I didn’t want to come out here just to advertise. I wanted to come out to do something for the family and the kids."


Taking part in the "Christmas in July" event not only allowed Bass to interact with families in the community but he said he expects it to help his business down the road. Bass said he could not believe how parents were genuinely interested in his services.


"Today is not about sales. Today is about good will," Tooley said. "If (community members) leave downtown Sherman with a good feeling, it helps us all."