When you purchase holiday gifts from local stores, the ripple effects of your expenditure, large or small, have significant and lasting effects. Gone are the days of packing the stores for Black Friday, then meandering out for a bit of community shopping during that one day known as Shop Local Saturday. One of many lessons that have come out of the Pandemic is that local businesses have needed us more than ever. From the rallying cries of restaurants facing certain doom when things first began to shut down, which many of us eagerly responded to, until now, people have risen to the challenge of supporting those in need. With the holidays upon us and gift-giving in full swing, the opportunities to support friends and neighbors who are also business owners are ever present.
One Such Shop Local Favorite
There is a feeling of having a secret all to your own when you find a great product or service, possibly unexpected or that has overwhelmed you in some positive way. Many years ago, while getting a haircut at a local salon, I stumbled upon some great soaps that I decided I must have. And, almost by mistake, I discovered the little shop that made them was near my sons’ school. Back then, it was just a front counter, really, in front of their warehouse. But I loved the friendliness of the owners and that their story included really following their passion and putting in the difficult work to make their business grow. Over the years, I have introduced many now loyal fans to those amazing soaps, and the sweet people who own Lolablue at 2525 Bobcat Village Center Road Unit 103 in North Port. (Lolablue – Lolablue Living).
Part of The Bigger Story
It has been fun to watch them blossom into leaders of the community and to visit their beautiful new location just down the road from where they started out. I feel like a tiny part of their success, all because we live in the same town and I decided to buy some wonderful smelling soaps all those years ago. That is a ripple effect of “shopping local.” As a consumer, you are gifted with pride for supporting somebody whom you know. You will not receive that fringe benefit from shopping at Walmart or Target.
And here is another… after making my purchases with Jamie at Lolablue the other day, she kindly walked me next door to The Craft Table DIY Workshops (2525 Bobcat Village Center Road Unit 101, North Port, The Craft Table DIY Workshops | Facebook) where you can craft with your friends in the cutest and most-festive shop. I am already making plans to come back for a sign-making day. Sorry Hobby Lobby and Michaels, I’m pretty sure you will be fine if I spend my money locally.
Your Favorite Local Shops?
What are your hidden local gems that you love to support, especially during the holidays? We all love to share our “must haves” on social media, over drinks with friends, or during breaks at work. It was over quarantine that I discovered a local coffee shop, Los Dos Cristiano’s Coffee, located at 1120 Plantation Blvd, North Port. (Los Dos Cristianos Coffee – Los Dos Cristianos Landing site) I had heard all the raves, but with added time on my hands, I decided to check them out.
Instantly, I knew why my Dunkin Donuts dollars needed to be reallocated to this local shop serving the best homemade strawberry lemonade a warm June day could offer (coffee wasn’t bad either)! It is places like these that make you proud to be a part of a community of entrepreneurs. Once you are invested in their product, then the business itself, you are a part of their team. It no longer makes sense to spend your hard-earned money elsewhere.
We all have “that” coffee shop, restaurant, or soap store we love. Why not make this the year you decide to introduce five friends or family members to your favorites via gift certificates they can enjoy, even on a get-together with you? Think local, act like a business-partner to those who truly make your communities unique. The large box-stores will still be here after Christmas, but the same cannot be said about your neighborhood mom-and-pop’s.
Photos courtesy of Lolablue Facebook page & Deposit Photos