Shopping Local: What’s In It For You?

Originally published November 22, 2017 by The Montrose Daily Press

Technology is an amazing thing. It connects us, makes our lives easier and makes us more efficient. I love technology. But, as we prepare for the gift-giving season, might we need a little technology vacation?

I’ve done it before; let the hustle of the holiday season get the best of me. In the past, I’ve ordered nearly every gift for my friends and family on Amazon. Thank you free “two-day shipping” and thank you Amazon gift wrap. Done and done. As I dusted off my finger tips and moved on to creating my holiday eCard, I was left with the sting of guilt. Guilt perhaps born of the “holiday magic” lost in those simple transactions.

The world is rushing by us; some say we’ve lost the “reason for the season.” How might we insert the holiday magic back into these holiday times? Maybe when it comes to gift buying, inserting magic into the experience is as simple as creating a gift buying experience in itself.

I’ve created a personal challenge: I plan on buying every holiday gift possible in a local shop. Not only that, but I am going to enjoy the experience of doing so. Sound fun? If you want to take the challenge, here’s how:

1. Make a list and check it twice: Have a plan before you set out for downtown or another shopping district. Include a general idea of who you’re buying for and the types of things they are interested in.

2. When you walk into a local shop and someone asks you if they can help you find something, say “yes.” Tell them about the person you love and how you want to make them feel special this year. Even if you have no idea what you’re looking for, local shop owners and their staff are experts on their products. Let them be your tour guide in finding something unique and heartfelt. It enriches the experience and fills the gift and intention with love.

3. Gift wrap: A lot of local shops offer free gift wrap. This not only saves you the trouble of doing it yourself, but you will receive a beautiful package that will look different from all the others.

4. Mailing those long distance gifts (love the USPS, but those lines!!): Did you know we have several local alternative options for mailing gifts aside from the post office? Check out FedEx’s office inside Walmart and the UPS store on South Second Street.

5. Have fun and save money doing it: There will be free carriage rides nearly every Saturday and Sunday downtown starting this weekend and running through Christmas. Santa Claus is coming to town and will be hanging out in his cabin from 2:30 - 5:30 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday. Finally, the Office of Business and Tourism is offering “Montrose Bucks” beginning at 10 a.m. this Saturday the 25th. You can purchase $120 worth of Montrose Bucks for just $100.

6. Whether you’re there in person or your gift is being opened in a living room across the country, you’ll know it has been gifted in love. The gift will fill your heart as the giver through the thought that went into it, the local business owner or friend you supported in buying it, and the love you felt in picking it out. And there, in that culmination of those tiny moments you will find the greatest gift of all: joy.

This is not a “shop local” crusade bathed in guilt because of what is better for everyone else. Certainly, it feels great supporting our local friends and neighbors and boosting that local sales tax base. However, shopping local through a self-tailored experienced is actually designed to make the season better for you. So what do you say, will you take the challenge with me?

Chelsea Rosty is the executive director of the Montrose Chamber of Commerce and director of Business Innovation, City of Montrose. Reach her at chelsea@montrosechamber.com.