With Christmas season bearing down on us in southern Litchfield County, Black Friday looming large, stores posting notices they are open on Thanksgiving Day, I have been thinking more and more about buying local as opposed to online or in the big chain stores.
I know, money is tight. We want the biggest bang for our buck. And I admit that when it comes time to replace that HDTV that was broken by my grandson 2 years ago I know I will have to buy it elsewhere, there is no local store than carries what I want, at least not nearby me.
But when was the last time you gave those local stores a chance?
Here is the thing. If we support local businesses, they stand a better chance of sticking around. Stop in and see what they have to offer, you might be pleasantly surprised. Take New Milford, CT for instance. We have lost stores over the years, we have gained some. Each time a store closes down and a new one doesn't take it's place we moan and groan about the empty store fronts, we blame it on the economy. But we never shopped there.
An "ah ha" moment!
We have a store in the center of New Milford, CT called Nordica Toys. It used to be on Bank Street, now it sits on Main Street. The store has been here as long as I have been in New Milford. It has changed a bit, the old Nordica used to carry gifts AND toys for kids. I loved the gifts and I used to shop there all the time. Now it is a toy store only. And it is an amazing toy store. You can find things there that you can't find in any big box store around. I have gotten my grandsons some pretty cool toys there, and the quality of the toy is fantastic. Everything I have purchased there is still kicking around, passed down through the grandsons. They have withstood pounding after pounding, and the boys still find them fun to play with. And I don't think I spent any more money by purchasing there! (PS, they do FREE gift wrapping!)
I have a plan to spend some time shopping in local stores this year, checking them out to see what they offer. It helps me by getting some awesome things for those on my gift list, and it helps me by supporting local businesses because the more businesses we have in our towns the better off we are. And it gives the local business some ... business! A win-win all the way around!
And nothing gets you in the mood for the holiday season like a stroll through downtown New Milford, or Kent, or Washington. The shops and streets are decorated, the people are smiling, the feel is different than the feel of being in one of those big box stores. It is local people, people who live with you and I, working hard to keep their stores open in this economy, who provide us with the vibrance our towns need! They are at the heart of our communities and they deserve a chance.
And after a day of shopping has worn you to the bone, you can stop in at any of the local coffee shops and restaurants and enjoy some more of what makes our towns in southern Litchfield County so special!
A few ideas.
- Even if you have an artificial tree, how about stopping at a local nursery and buying a fresh wreath or centerpiece? I love Fieldstone Nursery in New Milford or Painter Ridge Farm in Washington.
- That hard to buy for person just might enjoy a gift card from a local restaurant. I know a few I would welcome a gift certificate from.( Santa needs to know I like The White Horse Pub in Marbledale and Bulls Bridge Inn located in South Kent, in case he was wondering.)
- Check out the local hardware stores. I am planning a trip to the Washington Supply Company, I love to walk through the building and check out what they are selling. I find things there I will never find in a big box store, they have some pretty interesting things and the prices there are often better than you think!
- My girls have always loved any article of clothing I got them at Foreign Cargo up in Kent. And they last for years! Always a bit different, and of very high quality.
- We have three fantastic book stores in New Milford, Washington and Kent. I love to go in there and see what they have. Kids love books! And so do I...
- Check out Spruce Home and Garden on Bank Street in New Milford. They have a great collection of things for the home and some hand made items from local artisans. And the prices aren't bad, you will be surprised!
- Applebrook at Home on Bridge Street in New Milford has an amazing array of "stuff". It is other people's stuff, or it was, there are some very good finds there. A set of antique tea cups, spoons for a spoon collection, all sorts of art objects, paintings, anything you can imagine. If you like the idea of recycling, this is a perfect place to go.
- I like to go to the local Goodwill store and get plates, all different colors and styles. Then I make 5 minute fudge (awesome recipe, everyone raves about it), I deliver it to people on my list. The plates are theirs to keep, the fudge doesn't stick around long I have been told.
Andrea Swiedler, Realtor, Southern Litchfield County Real Estate
2017 President, Greater New Milford Board of Realtors
2017 Connecticut Magazine 5 Star Realtor
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
Litchfield County Regional Office,375 Danbury Rd, New Milford, CT 06776
© Andrea Swiedler 2009 - 2017
Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest. - Mark Twain