SAN ANTONIO — Allison Lopez owns Lola's Boutique, having opened the shop right before her 50th birthday.

"I always wanted to stay on the south side and give back to the community," Lopez said. "You're never too old to follow your dreams, you know?"

She sells items like handmade candles, custom T-shirts and jewelry.

 "It's not something that's made by the thousands—they're unique gifts," Lopez said. "Everyone who comes in always finds something."

Next week marks one year since she's been in business. It's not always easy, but Lopez said it sure is worth it. 

"To survive the first year, now I understand how difficult it is and why not everyone opens a boutique," Lopez said.

Lopez said she wouldn't be here without the support from her community. To pay it forward, she's hosting the Holiday Market Southside, where other vendors in the community can set up shop outside her business to show off what they've made. 

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Alicia Blanco is grateful for the opportunity. The full-time mom runs Licha's Craftz, creating designs, pictures and words through string art.

"We've got to help each other out," Blanco said. "It's important to help small businesses. We're local, and your money stays local."

For Lopez, it's all about giving back. She hopes others to do the same by making the decision to shop small.

"You can never out help people," she said, "because you always get back more than what you give out."