This year I challenged myself to only buy holiday presents from locally owned businesses. The experience had several unexpected but pleasant results:
- Most of the things I bought were handmade. This made the gifts unique and more personal.
- Most items reflected the diversity of the Twin Cities. I found gifts made by people from Ghana and other countries in Africa, Tibet, and Native American communities.
- Some items were free trade, supporting economic growth in the Twin Cities and in other countries.
- Most gifts were made in environmentally responsible ways.
- Each of the gift recipients loved their presents and appreciated the personal touch.
Where did I find these special gifts?
Most were purchased from the diverse merchants at the Midtown Global Market. Shopping at the Global Market has the opposite effect on me as shopping at the Mall of America.
After spending time at the Global Market, I felt serene, fulfilled and connected to my community. MOA just makes me feel tired, cranky and broke.
I did break my “buy local” rule twice … well, one and a half times.
I bought one toy at a national chain store because the Land of the Littles is completely foreign to me. I didn’t know which locally owned store would have the specific toy I was looking for at a reasonable price.
I also bought one gift from Target, which technically is a local business (corporate headquarters in downtown Minneapolis), but decidedly not in the spirit of buying local.
This was a good experiment for me. Making a priority to buy only from local businesses helped me to think about where the stuff I buy comes from, how it’s made, and who is affected by my purchases.
I will make a point of supporting locally owned businesses throughout the year.
Do you have any tips for buying local?