Business chips in on Harvey fundraiser
Having created localized versions of their Christmas tree ornaments for more than 300 cities in the United States, Newberg couple Dan and Sherry Stevens know people all over the country.
It's one of the great parts of running their business, Country Christmas Eggs, which they've done for the past 38 years.
Unfortunately, it also means that when a natural disaster strikes somewhere in the U.S., they're likely to know people who have been affected, like the mother-daughters trio of Janie, Amie and Jolie Sikes, who operate Junk Gypsy Company, a boutique antique store in tiny Round Top, Texas.
That's how the Stevens got involved in the "We Are Texas" fundraising campaign, which has raised more than $150,000 for victims of Hurricane Harvey.
"Right after the hurricane, I called and asked if we could help them in any way," Sherry Stevens said. "They got on it really quick."
The Sikes, who have also been featured on the reality TV show "Junk Gypsies," teamed up with country music star Miranda Lambert and former Navy Seal, author and subject of the best-selling book "Lone Survivor," Marus Luttrell to create a "We Are Texas" fundraiser t-shirt.
The Stevens had created a custom ornament just for the Junk Gypsy Company to sell in its store in 2016 and were inspired to contribute in any way they could. So Dan, who does the artwork on the eggs, worked up a design in three days and sent several dozen fundraiser eggs to Junk Gypsy Company.
"We were pretty excited about that," Sherry Stevens said. "We gave it to them for the basic cost of it and they're not taking anything either."
The shirt features artwork and the phrase "We Are Texas Come Hell or High Water," so Dan applied that design to one side of the ornament.
Dan, who uses an architectural style of painting to recreate local landmarks and cityscapes for their regular line of ornaments, rounded out the fundraiser egg with a Texas-themed Christmas scene featuring a red barn and longhorn cattle.
"He was going to be an architect, so he took a couple years of architecture and then he switched to graphics," Sherry Stevens said. "So that really influenced his whole graphic style. It really helped him."
According to store manager Archie Allen, the Sikes and Junk Gypsy Company were thrilled by the Stevens' gesture.
"We were so appreciative for it and they turned out awesome," Allen said. "We had a really great response for the eggs. They sold it to us at their cost, so they didn't take anything from the eggs and we gave all of our costs as well. Everything was great."
Allen added that a few of the fundraiser eggs are still available online at www.gypsyville.com, but that the company went ahead and fronted the expected proceeds from all unsold eggs when the campaign wrapped up in November.
"The t-shirt is great, but you can keep the little ornament for probably longer in the long run," Allen said.