I want to talk to y’all today about something that is very near and dear to my heart: shopping and buying local.
I am a small town girl through and through, and there are few things that make me happier than spending my money in way that directly supports my community.
I’ve talked for years now about the importance of shopping local, but, until now, I’ve never created a list of ways to help get you thinking about it. Yes, there are countless ways to support your community by choosing small businesses over big-box stores, but here are a few of my favorite ways to do so.
Shop at family-owned businesses
At the top of my list is this no-brainer. Local, family-owned gift shops, boutiques, stores, and markets are the best places for unique finds and fashion. More than likely, when you visit these businesses, you’re going to be greeted with a smile by someone who truly cares that you are shopping with them.
Since we moved to Kannapolis, NC, I have enjoyed getting to know the owner of the most darling shop in town. Nostalgia Hollow is a community marketplace carries products and goods crafted by local makers … making it a truly great place to shop local.
Buy from local makers
Much like supporting family-owned businesses, buying from local makers means that you are directly supporting someone’s dream. And that is a beautiful thing.
While shopping at Nostalgia Hollow, I have found several beauty and skincare products from local makers that I truly enjoy.
I have also picked up products from pop-up markets around the greater Charlotte area. Keep an eye out for these kinds of markets at craft breweries and at other weekend hangout spots in your community. They typically bring a ton of local makers together to sell their goods (anything from jewelry and art to skincare products) in one convenient location.
Most recently, though, Nurse Your Soul — a local maker specializing in natural beauty products in the Charlotte area — reached out to me and asked me to try a deodorant from their product line. I was excited and happy to do so since natural deodorant has been my thing for a while now.
Before I started using the product, I detoxed my underarms using the method I described in my post earlier this year about switching to a natural deodorant. Once my pits were detoxed, I began testing the pleasantly scented pink grapefruit deodorant from Nurse Your Soul. I must say, I absolutely love this product. The formula is thick (which means it coats your pits really well) and it glides on smoothly. Plus, it’s made using simple ingredients such as beeswax and coconut oil (among other things).
Get your caffeine fix from a local coffee roaster
Drop the Starbucks, folks, and pick up a bag of coffee from a roaster in your area. If you don’t know of a local coffee roaster, you might need to turn to Google and do some research. But I guarantee that you won’t be disappointed by the cup of joe you receive once you find fresh beans roasted locally by someone who cares about quality coffee. If you think coffee is bitter, it’s because you’re not drinking the right stuff.
We’ve learned a lot about good coffee from our friends at Mello Coffee Roasters, a family-owned small-batch roasting company in Concord, NC. They roast specialty grade, single origin, direct or fair trade beans every week to ensure the highest quality and freshness. If you’re local to the Concord/Charlotte area, you can find bags of their coffee at various markets all over town (check out their Instagram to see exactly where). They’ve also partnered with a few local breweries to create tasty craft brews using their coffee.
Not a Charlotte local? You can order coffee directly from Mello Coffee Roasters online.
Drink local beers
If beer is your thing, of course.
In North Carolina, craft beer is THE industry. It supports countless families in communities (big and small) all across the state, and there is nothing more enjoyable than spending a Saturday afternoon on a brewery patio with friends, sipping a cold brew made on site.
No matter where you are, I encourage you to seek out a brewery and support their business.
Buy art from a local artist
This is actually something I like to do when I travel, but it is completely relevant to your local community, too.
Whenever I visit a new city, I try to find a piece of art made by a local artist. Something unique that I will likely never see again, ya know? I always feel like art — whether it’s a painting or pottery — from local artists tells a more interesting story than anything you find at a big-box store.
Buy plants and flowers from a local greenhouse or plant shop
Another one of my absolute favorite things to do is buy my plants (indoor and outdoor) and flowers from a greenhouse or plant shop in my area.
I partnered with Charlotte plant shop Verde Tribe recently on a blog post and thoroughly enjoyed getting to know owner Veronica. She helped me realize just how valuable it is for the consumer to buy from local plant shops. Because you’re building a relationship with someone when you buy from a local plant shop or greenhouse, most, like Veronica, are available for plant care advice after you take your plant home. Veronica even sends out a monthly email newsletter with plant care tips and answers to commonly asked plant questions.
Order personalized stationary from a local shop
When Justin and I got married in 2017, we opted to go with a local custom stationary shop, Sweetest Beginnings in Concord, NC, as opposed to an online retailer for our save the date cards and invitations.
The individualized care and attention we received from the owner, Susan, was unmatched. And, I was even able to create a friendship with her that has lasted long after our wedding invitations came off the printer.
Besides building a relationship with the owner and being able to discuss exactly what we wanted with our wedding stationary, another big plus to buying local was that the cost was cheaper than if we had ordered from an online invitation company.
Keep in mind, wedding invitations aren’t the only pieces of stationary you can buy from a local shop. You can also get holiday cards, birthday party invites, shower invites, monogrammed cards for handwritten notes — basically anything you need.
Buy home improvement and renovation materials from a local store
This is something that is new to me, but I am so glad I discovered several local businesses for my home improvement and renovation needs.
As my husband and I dig deeper into home improvement projects (and spending more and more money on materials and tools), I began looking for places that aren’t Lowe’s and Home Depot to spend our dollars.
I’m most excited about working with a local flooring company we found when we get ready to install new floors in our house. We stopped by their shop one Saturday morning to see what they offer, and the customer service we received was absolutely incredible. You could tell that our business with them matters.
I hope that you find these tips for shopping small and shopping local helpful and useful. More than anything, I want to inspire you to think about where you spend your hard-earned money and how you might be able to invest it back into your community by frequenting these types of establishments.
Investing in local business means you’re investing in the health and future of your community. Which, in turn, is an investment in yourself.