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19 Days of Cool Gifting—Local, for real

When it comes to shopping in Buffalo—or any other major city, really—a hot topic is the idea of big box versus local. Those fighting the good fight in hopes of changing the fabric of our local retail community have been hitting the pavement especially hard this holiday season. Buffalo First, City Dining Cards, and Visit Buffalo Niagara are among the few that are going non-stop until everyone, quite frankly, “gets it.”

But why, might you ask?  

First and foremost, when we buy from local stores, the impact it has on our local economy is notable, with cash spent on goods circulating within our community three times rather than one (or even zero) times, as is the case when purchases are made at chains. Plus, important issues such as community and sustainability are more likely to be addressed by locals (read more here: Why Local? from Buffalo First.) But there’s also something to be said about the experience shoppers have when supporting a small business, especially at this time of year. Whether it’s the animated shop owner (eccentric in all the right ways), or the creative holiday windows that enchant and entice you to enter a store. Maybe it’s the elevated interior design that heightens your senses, or the innovative way that the product dispalys make you want to buy everything you see. Those that do it right, succeed, but only with YOUR help.

We are lucky to have these “cool” shopping destinations in Western new York. Neighborhoods loaded with great shops exist in the Elmwood Village, along Hertel Avenue, in Williamsville, and East Aurora. But keep this in mind, they don’t need you to just "like" them on Facebook—they actually need your help to stay the course and keep thriving. With that said, you don’t have to be made out of money to shop local. There is something for everyone and every budget, and the icing on the cake is that you can also enjoy the fun adventure that can accompany that special purchase.

Now, I’m going to get a little bit Oprah on you with my 2012 list of “Favorite Things.” I’ve narrowed down some of my go-to favorite places to shop for some pretty unique and cool items this holiday season. With only 20 days left, you better take some notes and support your local shopping community. I've thrown in a few hostess gift ideas, too!


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