Looking for a gift for that person who has it all? Can’t bring yourself to purchase a plain old gift card? Read more to find out how to shop local in the Virginia Beach area, and why it’s the best way to check off your holiday shopping list!
Shop Local? Yes, Please.
One of my spiritual gifts is “gift-giving” (second only to gift-wrapping). Here’s the catch, though: I cannot bring myself to buy just any old gift. It has to be personal and intentional. At the big chain stores, achieving that perfect personalized gift can be a challenge. I’ve found that when you shop local at small businesses, it can be easier to find something creative, special, and different for that wonderful person in your life.
Why Shop Local Small Businesses?
Shopping small not only supports the individuals running their businesses but overall helps your community thrive. By shopping small, you are stimulating and strengthening the local economy. When you shop local at small businesses, you’re putting your taxes to good use, creating jobs, and making your local area more unique! Plus, who doesn’t love the customer service at those little mom-and-pop-shops? Seriously, I’ve always been treated like royalty when I walk through the doors of a local business because they care for individuals in their community.
Shop Local Unique Gifts
1. The Creative Wedge
The Creative Wedge is an artisan market and specialty retail store. They offer great service and selection of unique handcrafted gifts, their own unique southern style “Chow Chow,” regional artisan cheese, wine, and craft beer. They focus primarily on North American made gifts, local art, and fair trade products from around the globe. The Creative Wedge aims to sell unique items that you won’t find just anywhere at reasonable prices, and with complimentary gift wrapping!
2. North End Bag Co.
Since 2012, North End Bag Co. has been hand-crafting canvas and leather goods in their shop at 19th street. The entire process unfolds in their shop. This means every piece has been handled and re-handled with an eye to quality, strength, and durability. They tan their leather in the old-world style using bark tannins, an organic and centuries-old process that’s sustainable for the planet and results in the strongest product. Their bags are made to get better and more beautiful with age and use.
3. Savor the Olive
Savor the Olive is a stylish tasting room featuring one of the finest and most extensive selections of the freshest Extra Virgin Olive Oil and authentic aged Balsamic Vinegar in North America. Looking for a gift for that classier friend with expensive taste? This could be perfect!
4. Jars of Dust
Jars of Dust makes handcrafted functional ceramics for your hands and home. Inventory includes mugs, wine cups, vases, planters, jewelry, and more! Each item has a beautiful, sleek, modern shape that is sure to be a hit.
5. The Plant Bar
Some people don’t love gifts that might sit around collecting dust. One of my personal favorite new places, The Plant Bar would the perfect gift for the plant-lover or even just the creative type! They provide terrarium workshops, which could be a fun experience/gift to share with a friend or loved one. It could be so much more creative, beautiful, and meaningful than something you bought from the mall.
6. Whalebone Surf Shop
Whalebone Surf Shop has been serving the needs of surfers and beach-goers on the Outer Banks of North Carolina since 1975 and Virginia Beach, Virginia since 1998. They sell a wide variety of surfboards, surf accessories, clothing and swimwear for everyone. A purchase from Whalebone would surely be a great gift for the surfer or beach bum in your family.
7. Freedom Surf Shop
Dedicated to selling the highest quality surfboards and clothing, Freedom Surf Shop knows how to keep the soul. This trendy shop stays far away from generic, cheap and touristy merchandise. If you’re looking for the inside scoop on the local swell, be sure to ask shop-owner Dave how things have been looking– he and rest of the Freedom crew take the customer experience seriously!
Nectar is a home accessory and gift boutique located in Hilltop. Items include coastal decor, exclusive candles, and great jewelry. Some of their featured items include Nest Candles, Aspen Bay (the Volcano candle), and Orla Kiely Handbags and Wallets. Shop here to find cool and unique home accessories!
Shop Local Clothes and Consignment
9. Apricot Lane
Although a national franchise, each location is locally owned and operated. Since the styles are hand-picked by the owner, it creates a unique adventure and shopping experience that captures the look and vibe of our local area. This is a truly hip spot to find styles in smaller quantities, so you know you won’t see everyone else around town wearing the same piece.
10. Jody G
At Jody G, you can find well-fitting and high-quality contemporary separates, premium denim, and accessories. It’s definitely a mix of New York chic and California cool. Their assortment is always changing to reflect the newest trends and the hottest designers. Trendy yet sophisticated, effortless yet chic.
11. DoubleTake Consignment
DoubleTake receives cool, current, and eclectic items every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. Their mission: resell, recycle, and consign. I definitely think consignment make great gifts, especially because Christmas can be such a commercialized holiday and tends to benefit larger retailers. Check it out and see what gems you may find!
12. Sprout Boutique
A unique and fun children’s clothing, toy, and gift boutique offering styles for newborn up to 14 youth. Shop brands like Ruffle Butts, Tea, Kickee Pants, Jellycat plushies, Copper Pearl, and Melissa and Doug. The great thing with consignment for kids is you can find high-end brands at a lower price and better made than your typical chain-store selection. You can also find a lot less powder pink and blue, which is the bane of my existence as a baby-shower gift shopper.
13. Lemon Cabana
A preppy-chic women’s clothing and jewelry store, plus beach-inspired home decor and furniture. The feel is fresh, bright and the service is immediately welcoming. Not only that, they have a selection of yummy candy treats including “champagne bears,” “bourbon bears,” and pumpkin spice almonds. Yum!
14. Beecroft and Bull
“Dress better than you have to” is their motto! While this may be one of the higher-end menswear stores, their dedication to quality fashion is surely worth the price tag. They’re highly dedicated to a quality of experience, with expert tailoring and custom clothing.
Where can I Shop Local Small Businesses?
It can be hard to find small businesses online. Search engines don’t know how to distinguish a chain from a local shop. Check to see if your city has a local guide. Virginia Beach has the “Scout Guide” that gives insight into some of the best local businesses in Hampton Roads. My friends and I use it when we’re feeling adventurous and looking for something fun to do in the area.
Other ideas for You to Shop Local
Find a local bakery or coffee shop to patronize instead of that giant chain (you know which one I’m talking about). Spend your money on a local experience instead of a material item. Find somewhere to dine with your family that’s unique to your area. Check out The ViBe District’s pop-up vendor marketplace on Saturday, November 30th, from 10 am-4 pm! Fathom Coffee will be organizing a massive scavenger hunt with a huge prize drawing from local businesses. Over 32 vendors so far, and the list is growing!
At the end of the day, don’t sweat the shopping list. Gifts will collect dust and material things will fade. It may sound cheesy, but hear me out. Make your holiday about experiences and memories, and cherish the time you have with the ones you love.