I don’t know about you, but I haven’t started my holiday shopping yet (even though Black Friday deals have been circulating for weeks, somehow). What better time to start than Small Business Saturday? Not only will you avoid supply chain issues, you are also supporting local stores and small business owners right here in Vermont.
I asked around my office for my colleagues’ favorite hometown stores to support and compiled this categorized list of Vermont businesses. Join me in shopping locally on Small Business Saturday and throughout the holiday season!
FOR THE ACTIVE: SPORTS & RECREATION
Waterbury Sports (Waterbury): Not sure what to get the sporty person in your life? Turn to the helpful staff at Waterbury Sports! They stock sporting goods for every season—bikes, ski equipment, team sports, you name it. They have a full-service shop open six days a week.
Chuck’s Bikes (Morrisville): If your bike needs a tune-up, Chuck’s can help you for just $35 in most cases. Of course, we’re reaching the end of reasonable biking season—unless you’re looking for something with fat tires for four-season riding!
Skirack (Burlington): Don’t let the name fool you. Skirack has gear for just about every kind of outdoor enthusiast. Personally, I’ve trusted their knowledgeable staff to take care of my aging joints for too many pairs of running shoes to count. (The six-month reminder emails to buy a new pair of shoes is a nice touch!)
R&L Archery (Barre): This long-time family business takes care of all your hunting, fishing, and outdoor sporting needs. You can find e-bikes specifically designed to traverse rugged hunting terrain, as well as a great selection of kayaks and canoes for an early morning catch.
FOR THE CULINARY: FOOD & BEVERAGE
Boule (St. Johnsbury): The bakers at Boule make their bread fresh daily with naturally leavened sourdoughs and local ingredients. As my colleague and fellow blogger, Alicia White, put it, “The best sourdough bread I have had in a long time! You can taste the love.”
Dedalus Wine (Stowe, Burlington): Wine. Cheese. Cured meats. Need I say more? I know I would love the makings of a delicious charcuterie board. If anyone in my family is reading this, take note.
Piecemeal Pies (White River Junction): Named Yankee Travel Magazine’s best farm-to-table restaurant in Vermont in 2018, Piecemeal Pies is a British-inspired meat pie shop and hard cider bar. Get someone an e-gift card and an excuse to enjoy their quaint place, or get some takeout to simplify your holiday meal prep.
Sweet Vermont Treats (Colchester): And now we transition from meats to sweets. This home bakery out of Colchester offers up all sorts of, well, sweet treats. Order something for yourself, get a treat box for a friend, or call them for catering. As my colleague said, the owner is “SO nice and accommodating, and even better, it’s all DELICIOUS!”
Morse Farm (Montpelier): You know your out-of-state family and friends are just waiting for their annual delivery of all things maple syrup.
Mark BBQ (Essex Junction): Someone please sign me up for their “Sauce of the Month Club,” or take advantage of their Black Friday offer. You support a veteran-owned and -operated BBQ joint that is deeply involved in the community. Win-win!
Sweet Simone’s (Richmond): This is pretty much a must-stop for me any time I pass through Richmond (or the general vicinity, honestly). They offer a rotation of sweets made on location from as many locally sourced ingredients as possible. You can even get yourself a gingerbread house kit! This friendly team of bakers can also sling a good cup of coffee, latte, or cappuccino.
Lucy & Howe Brewing Company (Jericho): Have you ever wanted delicious beer from a one-man show brewing out of his own home and selling it from a card table in his front yard? Lucy & Howe Brewing is the place for you—and could be the start of a nice holiday brewery tour.
FOR THE BIBLIOPHILE: BOOKS
The Galaxy Bookshop (Hardwick): This indie bookstore has been operating for 26 years and has a great array of books, including new releases. And is it really a bookstore if it doesn’t have a cozy atmosphere that makes you want to stay and hang out a bit? Say hello to the friendly shop dog while you’re there.
Bear Pond Books (Montpelier): According to my bookworm of a colleague, they have a great selection and their staff picks are on point.
Book Garden (Montpelier): A nice complement to Bear Pond Books, Book Garden has a little something for everyone. Stock up on graphic novels, comics, and board games.
Everyone’s Books (Brattleboro): Their slogan is “Raising hell since 1984.” What else do you need to know? Okay, their staff is also very patient and helpful. They special ordered a book for me when I thought I would be in southern Vermont, then followed up and shipped it to me two weeks later after I forgot all about it.
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FOR THE TRENDY: FASHION
Lumière (St. Johnsbury, Burlington): Heaven on earth? Yes, please. This holistic retail shop has a little bit of everything. Meditation, sound bowls, chakra alignments, energy work, and natural hair styling and coloring. For your nearest crystal aficionado, snag their popular crystal advent calendar.
Roam (Montpelier): Your loved ones can explore in style with multi-purpose apparel that you can wear both in town and on the trails.
Stowe Street Emporium (Waterbury): The emporium lives up to its name: a large retail store with a wide variety of merchandise. Peruse their quirky trinkets or delve into some high-end fashion. No matter what you’re looking for, the owner will greet you more like a long-time friend than a customer.
Forget Me Not Shop (Johnson): Not every gift needs to be brand new. It just needs to be new to you. They don’t have a website, but you’ll find bargain and quality used clothes from the Forget Me Not Shop in Johnson. You’re supporting a local business and helping the environment, too.
Style Encore (Williston): As DJ Khaled would say, another one (in the category of secondhand shopping)! Find stylish, gently used women’s clothing, shoes, handbags, and accessories at up to 90% less than the regular retail price. They buy, too—make it a two-for-one by finding a gift and getting rid of clothing you no longer wear.
FOR THE COZY: HOME GOODS & CRAFTS
ReSOURCE (Barre, Williston, Burlington, Hyde Park): They are a mission-based organization focused on workforce development, poverty relief, and environmental stewardship. Find used items in almost any category, including furniture, I needed a serving platter the week of Thanksgiving and landed one for a buck.
Nelson Ace Hardware (Barre): Nothing says holiday gift like a power tool, am I right? Family-owned since 1983, Nelson Ace Hardware has kept that hometown hardware store service and feel. They always work to help find a solution to your needs.
Scentastic (Brattleboro): What’s that I smell? Oh, a lovely gift! They have designed, formulated, and blended 100% pure, all-natural fragrance oils for 20 years. They’ve expanded to a bath and body line and other products as well (bath duckies?!).
Strictly Vermont Candles (Irasburg): You mean my house can always smell like banana nut bread, pumpkin pie, or mulled cider? Great, now I’m hungry. If you don’t want to torture someone’s taste buds with your gift, you can always let them pick out their own using a Strictly Vermont Candles gift card.
The Drawing Board (Montpelier): The perfect place for the artsy people in your life! You’ll find quality supplies and you can even try some out before you buy. (This, of course, presumes you, too, are artsy.) They’re also a framing shop if you have a nice picture you want to give someone.
FOR THE GENERALIST: GIFT SHOPS & GENERAL STORES
Jericho Country Store (Jericho): I’m obligated to start with Vermont’s longest-running general store, especially if it’s been running since 1807! You can buy local handcrafted items and indulge in the nostalgia of old-fashioned bulk candy bins. Celebrate the holidays by picking up fresh donuts delivered every Sunday morning.
Singletons General Store (Proctorsville): Other than a five-year hiatus in the 1970s, the Singleton family has been running their general store since 1946. Maybe this should be in the food section, but pair some of the best smoked meats in Vermont with one (or more) of their signature sauces and you have yourself a gift.
Golden Hour (Winooski, Burlington): This gift shop might have the ideal conditions for buying just the right present. Find cards and stationery, apparel and accessories, home goods and baby gifts, and self-care items from their apothecary.
Whistle Emporium (Hardwick): This little, unassuming shop has unique, seasonal gifts for all ages. If you’d like, they’ll even gift wrap your purchase(s) for free (yes, please!). They just started doing a 3D virtual tour of the shop so you can shop online and never even set foot in the store.
Moose River Lake and Lodge Store (St. Johnsbury): Their philosophy is to “let the outside in” for a bit of rustic elegance. Their motto? “We won’t sell anything we wouldn’t buy ourselves.” Head there for a not-your-typical selection of clothing, wines, and, yes, taxidermy. They also have their own line of jewelry!
After a difficult year for small businesses, buying locally for your holiday shopping is a great way to help your neighbors and community—and get all your gifts in time, too.
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