From the Desk of the Main Street Program Director
There are many ways to shop local during the holiday season
by Rae Gosling, Grayling Main Street Program Director
Season’s Greetings! Lights and decorations are popping up more and more, and the holiday tunes are all around. These seasonal cues always bring to mind a few important matters: shopping local, being neighborly, and cold weather safety. Over the next several installments I will cover each of these things, starting with, you guessed it, shopping local.
Naturally, I support shopping local first. Alas, being a person who knows other people, I completely understand that the wish list you receive is probably not filled with local specialties, but instead has a plethora of highly advertised gadgets and gizmos from around the globe. To that I say, go for it. Get them what you can from that list. While I hope you can find it in a small business, if you can’t, I hope you get a great deal. A penny saved at a big box store or online is a penny you can spend in a locally owned business as you finish your other holiday shopping.
Like I have discussed previously, money that stays local, circulates and supports our economy better. I have also asked you to shift 10 percent of your shopping to local businesses, and regionally sourced goods. During this giving season, there are ways to keep that going. You can even be a little extra about it, you don’t have to limit yourself to 10 percent. Also remember, shopping small does not always mean local. Supporting small businesses everywhere you go is good for small businesses all over.
One easy way to shop small is for stocking stuffers. A lip balm here, a couple flies there, some snazzy socks, and a gift card just enough for dessert, coffee, or a beer. Additionally, shopping local is a great way to send a piece of home to someone far off. Local honey and tea stuffed in a handmade mug, or a shirt from their favorite bar, are delightful reminders of Grayling. Gift cards to local shops and restaurants are a stellar idea for Secret Santa giving, and for the friend who has everything.
Beyond all those great reasons and ways, lies the best part of shopping local: store owners and employees know their stock like the back of their hand, and maybe even the person you are shopping for. They can help you find a gift that is perfect for the recipient and your wallet in no time at all. Try to find an employee like that in a big box store! (No offense intended to chain store employees, you are delightful humans. But, you probably don’t know who “Ben T.,” is or what he wants from Santa for less than $10.)
Holiday shopping is more than just gift giving. Let us not forget the food, aka: the BEST part of the holidays, and all the printing that can be done this time of year. Try looking for a local farmer, shop, or butcher to get a ham from. You can also look into getting a beautiful array of sweet treats and your dinner rolls from local bakers. Here in Grayling, you will find your beer and wine needs can easily be met shopping local. Lastly, between annual letters stuffed in cards with the family photo, and invitations to your big Christmas bash, there seems to be an endless list of items you could have printed, cut, and folded, saving you loads of time! I suggest giving one of our small print shops a try.
Want to know more about GMSt and what is going on in Downtown Grayling? Check back in future editions of the Avalanche for more From the Main Street Director’s Desk. You can also check out our website, www.DowntownGrayling. com, find us on Facebook, or email your questions to DowntownGrayling @gmail.com.
Rae Gosling is the Program Director for Grayling Main Street. She has been with GMSt since April 2016. She is a Grayling resident, wife, mother, local shopper, avid supporter of all things Grayling, and keeps everyone on their toes wondering what color her hair will be next.