Support Local Economy And Organizations By Shopping Small This Season

By Jessica Mitchell

If you haven’t finished your holiday shopping – or haven’t started at all – fear not, there are plenty of great, local places to shop this season. By spending money with local businesses and non-profit organizations, you can purchase meaningful gifts that impact your community in a big way.

For fans of the arts, there are several organizations that offer art sales. Give back to area artists by purchasing an original piece of art at the Holiday Fine Art Sale at Arts Council of Southwestern Indiana. They also have an annual ornament sale, with pieces created by area artists. Purchase tickets to a local performance at the Evansville Civic Center. Upcoming shows include the classic musical “A Chorus Line” playing in January; “Love, Loss, and What I Wore,” a play by Nora Ephron and Delia Ephron and “The Wedding Singer,” the musical.

The Old North Fair Trade Market sells fair trade items from all over the world. All profits are reinvested in product and 25 percent is given annually to local, national and international missions. You can even choose gift baskets that have already been put together by their staff of volunteers. Uncharted International, Inc. also offers a variety of fair trade items at their east side location, including shawls, purses and blankets.

Purchasing tickets or season pass to a local park or museum also makes a great gift. Mesker Park Zoo, Reitz Home Museum or Evansville Museum’s newly remodeled Koch Immersive Theater all offer passes. Gifting experiences over objects also allows you to plan ahead to spend time with the person, doing something you both enjoy. Don’t forget about Easterseal’s Fantasy of Lights, a great way to give back to a community organization while enjoying a spirited holiday light show with your family and friends.

It’s not just non-profits who benefit from patrons shopping local. The American Independent Business Association has studies showing the impact of shopping with small, independent businesses has a significant economic impact on the community. They found that approximately three times as much money stays in the local economy than if the same money were spent with a national chain, and local restaurants return twice as much to the local economy as chain restaurants.

A few other great local spots for gift giving:

River City Mercantile in downtown Evansville is a collective shop featuring goods by a variety of local merchants. The shop features items such as handmade soaps, flavored olive oils, cutting boards and a great collection of Evansville clothing, including kids’ sizes.

In downtown Newburgh, The Refinery offers a variety of uniquely designed, quality goods. They refinish, repurpose and showcase a variety of furniture and home decor from rustic to shabby chic, eclectic to industrial. It’s also home to Lucid Coffee Bar, so enjoy a warm beverage while you shop in the historic space.

Single Thread Boutique, House of Bluez and Flutter are great spots for clothing and accessories. Give A Dog A Bone is a must for your four legged friends. Find great home goods at The Red Poppy and Sugarbakers. Spoil your foodie friend with a cooking class from Thyme In the Kitchen. The possibilities are endless in the Evansville area. So branch out and shop at a small store you’ve had your eye on, and support local businesses this holiday season.

Jessica Mitchell is the Marketing & Design Coordinator at Youth Resources.