Friday, December 9, 2011

Christmas Shopping - Local, Homemade or Small Merchant

How I wish I could show you all what I purchased today- but I can't. Someone on the receiving end might just happen to find out I posted and it would spoil the surprise!!! I can show you SOME of it though.

I am determined to gift either homemade, made locally or at least purchased from one of our small merchants so after an early morning doctor's appointment I headed out to Washington, MO where they have a darling main street lined with shops competing for holiday dollars with the big (or medium) box stores. The only drawback is the parallel parking which I have not done for years! I can't say it was pretty, just that I didn't hit anyone or anything. I stopped in at the Chamber of Commerce to find out which shops might fit into my objectives. They had some great suggestions.

My first stop was somewhere where they didn't take debit cards and that's all I carry, not even a check. I didn't think about that possibility. The next shop offered the soaps you see above made by a woman in Gerald, MO, a neighboring town. The proprietor told me that the woman owns a farm and makes everything herself using her own goat milk and even grows her own herbs. I also picked up another locally made cranberry/orange jelly. It's not overly sweet.

Then it was onto several more small shops where I select the best stuff for mom- but I can't show you!!! It's killing me. Maybe after Christmas. Even more exciting is what I found for my daughter. Aggggh, I can't show you! Wait until you see how pretty it is. Another item I found for her was in my local gift shop that tries to purchase as many items made the USA as possible, another plus for them in my book.

The overly sad thing is what's happening to the small merchants. One of them told me she is dropping debit/credit as of March when her contract expires. The percentage she has to pay had been something like 1-2% and it's jumping to around 5%. That will kill her profit. Maybe Wal-Mart can absorb the cost or pass it to vendors, but not this little consignment shop. So, she will take checks (a risk) or cash or miss sales from people that don't carry cash. It's not just me, most of the young people shop with their debit/credit cards.

I noticed the fabric shop had cut way down on their offerings and then there were the shops that just disappeared- gone. If we don't do something about this pretty soon all the small businesses will be gone. So, support your small businesses, even if you live in a big city- find the mom and pop shops, take a class at your local quilt shop, learn to knit and purchase some fine alpaca home spun yarn or find a yummy candy store that makes their own fudge. What a great stocking stuffer!

After my day shopping I don't know the exact total but I don't believe I paid a huge amount over and above what I would have paid at a big box store, especially if you compare quality. My gift recipients may not get as much-but they will get more thoughtful gifts and will know my purchases benefited the little guy!


Pat said...

I so agree with a former shop owner myself, I know the struggle that goes on trying to be just around the corner from the Big Guys. The days of knowing your customers by name and what their tastes are will vanish. We have lost a number of really sweet specialty shops in the last couple of sad.
We do have a wonderful Mennonite community with a well stocked store just down the road...special flours, baking goods and locally grown produce in season. What a blessing they are as neighbors.

Michelle said...

I agree on local shopping. We don't have a lot of local stores for gifts.But what we do have supplies some great gifts. The thing I love best is that every one knows each other. It's not impersonal like the big stores. A good example is I went to our quilt store to buy some fabric.( they know me very well there.) She was handing out homemade Chex mix. You won't get that at a Wal-mart.

Ames said...

I always use my debit card too. I never carry cash. But, ATMs are everywhere, so perhaps people can redirect them to an ATM and they won't lose the sale. I like buying American made and really make an effort to do so. Especially when it comes to food products. It sounds like you bought some really nice gifts.~Ames

Candy C. said...

Good for you! It is hard on the smaller shops when they have to pay for the customer to use a debit card. I'm always nagging my hubby not to do it, to carry some cash, but he isn't very good about it! They even want us vendors to consider accepting debit cards at the Farmer's Market, no thank you!

Bonnie K said...

You go! I like what you had to say and how you said it. Maybe we can make Christmas mean something again.