This week, Keith sits down with Sandy Carpenter and Trena Street of the Collierville Contemporary Club to talk about their annual Christmas Home Tour, charitable giving, and the spirit of Christmas.
The Collierville Contemporary Club’s Christmas Home Tour will be Saturday, December 8, 2018 from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Watch the video here or read the transcript below!
Collierville Contemporary Club – Full Transcript
Keith: Hello, this is Keith with Tour Collierville, and today I am here for our 2 Minute Tuesday with Sandy, who is the President of the Contemporary Club, and Trena, who is a PR consultant here on behalf of the Contemporary Club as well. So, I appreciate you guys coming in.
Sandy: Thank you for inviting us. We’re happy to be here.
Keith: For me, and for my benefit, can we kind of start with the basics? Tell me, what is a contemporary club?
Sandy: Absolutely. The Contemporary Club is a women’s service organization, and it was organized in 1936 and dedicated to charitable and civic causes here in the Collierville community. We are 501c3 non-profit, and one of the first things we did—well, not one of the first things, but in 1957—we organized the first public library here in Collierville. And it was a little, small, concrete/brick building on the corner of Walnut and North Rowlett.
Keith: So you were actually here.
Sandy: I was actually here. I’ve lived here all my life. My parents and grandparents were here. And I grew up on Walnut Street, so I spent a lot of time down at the Public Library down there at the corner of North Rowlett and Walnut. That’s a nice childhood memory for me.
Keith: Yeah, I bet. Is there any other things that Contemporary’s done throughout the years that—
Sandy: Well we have published—actually, we have published two books. We published Collierville, a Place Called Home, which is a lovely book. It’s a pictorial history of homes and churches (places of worship) here in Collierville. Historic.
Keith: Where can you get that?
Sandy: The Brooks Collection has them for sale. We will have them for sale at the Gift Gazebo for the home tour. And we also published A Taste of Collierville, which is a little cookbook that was…
Keith: I’ve seen that.
Sandy: Oh, okay! Good! We will have those at the Gift Gazebo as well for when we have the tour.
Keith: Got you. Awesome, awesome. So about how many members does Contemporary have?
Sandy: We have 45 members. We meet monthly, except June, July, and August. So we meet September through May. We have the May Luncheon, and that is when we award grants to our non-profits. This past May, we had 13 non-profits. We awarded a total of $14,000, and all that money comes from what we make on the Home Tour, so this is our major fundraiser. It’s huge for us. And I want to thank the homeowners. They just really sacrifice so much, and we appreciate them.
Keith: So, you’ve mentioned the Home Tours a couple of times. Let’s move into that just to back up a little bit. Tell me about the Home Tours. What are they?
Sandy: Okay. Every year… Well, for the… This is our tenth-year anniversary. So, we try to get a variety of homes, four or five, depending on what’s available. But we try to get a renovation, an historic home, possibly a zero-lot line, and then a new home—new construction. And this year, we have included all of those in our tour, so we are so excited about those houses.
Keith: So, when you get those houses, what’s it a tour of? What are they doing?
Sandy: They show off their homes. And I think Trena can speak to that.
Trena: This year, we have four homes, as well as the Morton Museum of Collierville History, which is where our Gift Gazebo is. And our Gift Gazebo is actually things that people have donated throughout the year. And all of that proceeds go to the ten to twelve organizations that we donate back to. We also have baked goods there. All of our members bake things, usually small cakes or cookies or whatever. Yeah, and so you can get a taste of Collierville along with visiting. And then we have refreshments, and we have entertainment there, too.
Trena: Let me talk a little bit about the homes that we have. The Morton Museum is a part of this. And, of course, I think it was 1857—something like that—
Keith: I’m not sure. It’s been around a while, though.
Trena: It was about that year. And the homes that we have, they decorate for the holidays early for us. So you may go into a home and see heirloom Christmas decorations from their childhood or brand new things that they have, and it’s just phenomenal.
Keith: So these are homes that you’ve identified. They’ve opened their doors to you—
Trena: They open their doors for just one day, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. And we run a shuttle bus. The tickets are actually $20 in advance, and you can get them from any of the businesses on the Town Square. And then, $25 on the day of. Each home you can get tickets of. Back to the shuttle for just a moment.
Trena: The shuttle that we have—because we do have homes that are in the historic district as well as an historic home from actually 1857, the Duke home—we run a shuttle bus, and we have 10 – 12 buses.
Keith: And that’s this year? The 1857 home?
Trena: Yes. The Duke House is one of them, and you can only access it by the shuttle bus, which you can catch a Tom Brooks Park, which is on Walnut Street. Then we have the Gupton Home, which is on Washington. The museum at the corner of Main and Poplar Avenue is one of our homes. The Sumner home, which is on Burrows Road. And, let me see, and the Brewer Home…
Sandy: And the Brewer Home, which is interesting. They have renovated the Brewer Home, and it is such a darling little bungalow. But my grandmother actually built that house in 1957. She did not—and this was after my granddaddy died—and she did not like to stay by herself, so she built that house. She didn’t stay in it but two years, but she built it in 1957. And I am just thrilled with what the Brewers have done in the renovation of that little—
Keith: Did you spend any time there?
Sandy: I did, I did. We spent the night down there many nights. She wouldn’t stay by herself, so we stayed with her. It was a lot of fun.
Keith: That’s awesome. That’s awesome. So, the shuttle: is that included in your ticket price? Or is it extra?
Trena: Oh, yes. No, no, it’s a free shuttle bus—or, shuttles. We have Collierville United Methodist Church, who has donated a couple of their buses for us. Landers Ford donates some minivans for us. And a lot of our members drive the shuttles. Don’t be surprised if you see our mayor driving that bus. He’s always been very supportive, and the town has been very supportive with this event. The shuttle is accessible at Tom Brooks Park, as I said, but you can also catch it at the homes. And it runs consistently, so you don’t have to worry about driving your car. And if you park over at Tom Brooks Park, then you can take an opportunity to shop at some of our many stores here on the historic Square.
Sandy: And also, Trena, there will be parking around the Linda Curley Center as well. The old high school.
Trena: The senior center.
Sandy: The senior center. There will be parking available there, too.
Keith: How many people do you expect will come through the homes in a day?
Sandy: We’ve had between 6 and 800 people.
Trena: You know, I’ve had someone say to me earlier well, you know, is, “I don’t want this home tour to sell out; I want to get my ticket.” We don’t sell out on the home tour. We run shuttles…
Keith: Bring ‘em all! As many as we can do, yeah!
Trena: Because all the money that we raise goes to non-profit organizations here in Collierville. We were founded in Collierville, and we continue to support.
Keith: So, this is what you were talking about earlier, when you have the home tours, and the home tour sells tickets, and then you have that event. And what did you say it generated? $14,000?
Sandy: $14,000 we awarded to 13 non-profits this past May.
Keith: That’s awesome.
Sandy: This is big for us.
Keith: So not only the town—and we cover it in the magazine, too. It’s spectacular, a big feature for us. We put it in the magazine.
Sandy and Trena: Yes, thank you!
Sandy: We do appreciate that.
Keith: Yeah, absolutely. Our viewers really like it. We get comments on it. But I think what you’re saying is not only does the ticket get you access to a wonderful day on the town, but that money is also being 100%–or, a large percent—reinvested in some non-profits.
Trena: The other thing we do—because we raise more than that, we’re glad to tell you—we also support the Collierville Public Library. As Sandy said, we actually started the library, and so we help support it and the, uh…
Sandy: Friends of the Museum.
Trena: Yes! The Friends of the Museum is with the Town of Collierville Museum that Mr. Morton donated several years ago, the old Christian Church. Which is, again, the site of our Gift Gazebo. So we do quite a bit. We also did help donate some money for restoration of…. Was it a gazebo, Sandy, at the Magnolia Cemetery?
Sandy: At Magnolia Cemetery. And this year also, we furnished—we put new furniture in the lobby of the library this year with some of the funds from the Christmas Home Tour.
Trena: So it’s a great way to get in the Christmas spirit and just be involved. And we encourage people from all areas to come. I’ve gotten phone calls from Missouri and from the far, far part of Arkansas and East Tennessee.
Keith: So, you get a little bit of tourism, too. Yeah. So, in terms of the Contemporary Club itself, if any of our viewers wanted to get involved, is there like an open/closed membership time? How does that work?
Sandy: It’s a closed membership, uh huh. Yeah, it’s a closed membership, but we always welcome visitors to come and visit with us. On all but two certain months of the year, we welcome visitors to come. Because we have business to take care of, and sometimes business is not real interesting to visitors. We do have two months that are just closed for business sessions, but we would love to have visitors come to our meetings.
Keith: Great. Do you guys have a website or anything where people can get information?
Trena: colliervillecontemporaryclub.org. You can also get the information on where the tickets are being sold and the map for directions to the Tom Brooks Park. We do have all that information on there.
Keith: Well that’s great. That’s pretty much what I wanted to cover. I’ll give you guys the floor. Is there anything you want to say? Anything that we missed that you’d like to tell our listeners?
Sandy: We just appreciate you letting us publicize our home tour. And the magazine is fabulous, and the homeowners are wonderful. Our club members have worked very hard this year to make this a success.
Trena: Yes. There’s only 45 of us, and that might sound like a lot, but it’s really not.
Sandy: No, it’s not.
Trena: By the time you do the baked goods and you organize the actual homes, this starts out months in advance.
Sandy: And the Gift Gazebo.
Trena: And the Gift Gazebo, which is well worth coming by. And the entertainment that we have.
Keith: Awesome. Well, we’re looking forward to it.
Sandy: Thank you. We appreciate it.
Keith: Thanks for your time today.
Trena: Thank you.