Leading from the Left

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Make Shopping Count

Sorry about the long absence from "Leading from the Left." A bad bout of diverticulitis, and a few other distractions, led me to set blogging aside for a few weeks. But I'm back now!

One thought for you all for the Holidays: skip the chain stores; buy your gifts locally. Here's the bottom line---when you spend your money in locally owned stores, the money stays here, it doesn't get sent off to some corporate office in Dallas or Atlanta or Minneapolis. With the economy so rough right now, it's more important than ever that we support the folks who employ our friends and neighbors, that we support those businesses that put cash back into our own local economy.

Besides, there are some awesome shops in Orange County that specialize in handmade goods, speciality foods, arts, clothing and the like. Now, you could always find a decent gift for your mother or uncle or best pal at a chain department store, no doubt about it. But wouldn't you rather give them something unique, something they couldn't find in every mall from Charlotte to Singapore?

Need a few suggestions? Try NC Crafts Gallery in Carrboro for an amazing collectoin of pottery, jewelry and other crafts, all made my NC artists and craftspeople. For specialty foods and gifts, the king of the mountain is A Southern Season. It's always worth a visit, and your sure to find some of the finest goodies from around the world. But dont' forget to try Matthew's Chocolates in Hillsborough. Chocolatier Matt Shepherd creates some of the tastiest and most beautiful chocolate creations in the area. His cakes, particular is chocolate cardamon cake with lemon-jasmine icing, are out of this world. (The new dessert shop at Carr Mill Mall also looks great, though I haven't yet tried it).

For amazing jewelry, try Grimball's at Eastgate. Or stop into the aforementioned NC Crafts Gallery. They don't just sell pottery; Sarah Gress' collection of handcrafted necklaces and earrings from artist across the state is stunning.

I guess I oculd go on all day. We are very fortunate here in Orange County to have locally owned shops that step out of the ordinary to provide unique choices for holiday gift giving. But the best part is, if you shop locally you are supporting a vibrant local economy and you'll be keeping your tax dollars right her to support our schools and our services.