I am Cristi Spring, the owner and founder of Think Local Amarillo. I come from a family of entrepreneurs. My mom's brother David was the original center of my families’ entrepreneurial journeys. David had a body shop in Amarillo in the early 80's. He wanted to place a classified ad in the only paper available in Amarillo, Ad Beat Want Ads. They didn't accept call-ins and only took cash so my uncle decided to start his own classified paper, the Town Crier. A year later, the Thrifty Nickel franchise owner came through town, met with my uncle and created a partnership to make Town Crier a Thrifty Nickel. My mom worked along side David to build the paper. My mom took ownership of the paper when my uncle moved on to start another paper in the Dallas area. The paper eventually turned into American Classifieds and my mom ran it for 29 years.
My mom taught me how to do graphic design right out of high school and I eventually went to work for American Classifieds in 1992. I started as the graphic designer and worked my way up to Production Manager. I got more involved with the sales department and became the Sales Manager. As I worked with the sales department, I was able to go out and meet with existing and potential customers. The customer base for American Classifieds was Amarillo's small, locally owned businesses. My favorite part of being a part of the sales department was meeting new business owners and getting to hear "their story". I loved to hear why they started their business, what they had overcome, how much they had learned and changed, and what their future plans were.
I was born and raised in Amarillo and worked with Amarillo’s local businesses through American Classifieds for 22 years. I have a passion for small businesses and for Amarillo. It truly breaks my heart to see one of our independent businesses shut down. And when I see a new and flashy franchise go up, I fear for the survival of the existing small businesses that will now have to compete on an unlevel playing field. I created Think Local Amarillo to celebrate Amarillo's local independent businesses and to educate Amarillo on the importance of supporting these businesses along with the economic and social advantages they bring to our community. Think Local Amarillo is more than a “buy local” campaign, it is a company who’s sole purpose is to market and be the voice of Amarillo’s independents.
I’m Shae Young, owner and operator of Wildflower Blooms Photography. Wildflower Blooms Photography began humbly, amongst a long line of sleepless nights and countless, desperate prayers for rest while nursing my newborn daughter at all hours of the night. Although my womb had been barren for many years, and the hope that I’d ever have a child of my own was slim to none. My body, my spirit, both broken– I lost hope as many women do. But there she was, cradled in my arms, my miracle– my wildflower that bloomed. After my daughter was born, I quickly filled up the space on my phone with pictures of her every move- her first smile, all the adorable outfits, every outfit actually- there was much to document in all those brief, fragile moments. My husband teased me about my need to photograph all the things, but from that a dream was born.
In late 2016, I decided to make the huge leap and start my own photography business! My business bloomed organically many thanks to a long list of supporters. Never did I imagine my Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature would become the perfect background for telling stories through a lens. Today, I take great care to highlight the real– the beautiful truths– of love, family, and life as we know it. Through my photography, I aim to offer this view to all of my clients as I capture their unique beauty, whatever stage in life they might be, by pressing pause on the moment before it has passed, all the while encouraging hope, love, and faith–even if it’s only the size of a mustard seed.
I am so excited to have partnered with Think Local Amarillo to serve our community by promoting local businesses with their photography needs with my own local business! Growing up, my Dad worked long hours at his shop to provide for our family. His small, hometown business was what put food on the table, clothing on our backs, and a warm, comfy place to sleep each night. Local businesses have always had a special place in my heart because I was raised on my father’s success in building a business (quite literally with his own hands) from the ground up. His business was our livelihood. And he’s still working hard at it to this day, 29 years later! I wholeheartedly believe in supporting the locals and keeping as much money in our community as possible. This new partnership fulfills my lifelong dream to give back to the community in my own artistic way. www.wildflowerbloomsphotography.com
I’m Ryan Putman, of Ryan Putman Commercial Videography and Photography. I enjoy telling people’s stories. I used to be a songwriter for that reason. Then, I found visual storytelling. In the spring on 2012 I started volunteering on the camera crew at Trinity Fellowship. I found this kind of work exciting, rewarding, and something that I could be passionate about. Thanks to all the friends that I’ve met and the people who have helped me learn the ropes, I am now a full-time freelance videographer and cinematographer. I love my job. And, it usually shows when I am working. One day I may be working on a business’s commercial. The next day, I may be working on a large film set or documentary. I have been called a “swiss army knife” because of my versatility and eclectic skill set. I keep doing this because I love to know people and their stories. That’s what keeps me coming back.