Shop small this holiday season.
The smell of cornbread dressing baking in the oven is filling my mind with all things holiday. My shopping list for Langenstein’s is beside me on the table assuring I won’t forget the Popeye Dip, Better Cheddar or Crawfish Dip, and the pie crusts are resting in the refrigerator awaiting their pumpkin and pecan filling. It is undoubtedly the second most wonderful time of the year (Mardi Gras is first y’all).
As the holidays arrive, those shopping lists grow longer and more varied. As consumers, we have innumerable choices of how to spend our money. We also have a responsibility to spend it wisely. When it comes to dispersing our dough, there is no denying that shopping at locally-owned businesses is best for the community. According to a 2017 report by the Urban Conservancy and Stay Local, money spent at independent businesses has as much as three times the economic impact that money spent at a national chain does.
Now, I admit I don’t shop exclusively local. I shop at big box retailers and order from online sources when I need to get a specific item not available otherwise — and we all have a budget to consider. I would argue, however, that when you can afford to, you should spend that extra dollar at Clement Hardware rather than Home Depot. Don’t try to find Clement online, they’re too old school for that. Find them at 6000 Magazine St. when you need items such as a flashlight, drain snake, hammer, life advice or a Lodge cast iron frying pan.
Visitors to New Orleans this time of year have a special advantage in gift giving. Shopping in NOLA before the holidays means you can purchase items not available at the mall back home or even online. Here, you can bring back a bit of the NOLA magic and share some of your favorite travel memories with your loved ones.
The French Quarter offers many small business options, but the art galleries are a special draw. Royal Street is home to more than a dozen independent galleries and boutiques. Each specializes in different genres, eras and artists, many of whom are living and local. The antique stores bring an added layer of distinction to your gift options. Would Aunt Patricia delight in a silver serving spoon from 1780? Big or small, fragile or plastic, many businesses along Royal will ship your items so you don’t even have to pack them.
On the other side of Canal Street, a growing number of stores are popping up in a quickly developing area of downtown New Orleans. Two of my favorites are Hattie Sparks and Simplee Gourmet. Both located on a strangely hip area of Girod Street, they appeal to quality design and whimsical humor. Hattie Sparks is an elegant shop that carries clothing, jewelry, home décor and stationary. Many of the products are handmade and each item is curated to offer the best choices. Simplee Gourmet carries kitchen gadgets and dining accoutrement to suit all needs and price points. From witty dish towels to high-end ceramic and glassware, the store carries a big inventory so give yourself plenty of time to browse.
From our renowned Magazine Street retailers to the growing businesses along St. Claude Avenue, New Orleans provides shoppers with choices to suit even the pickiest of gift recipients. So before you place that Amazon order, look for it locally first.