Shop glocally and boost your local economy

I know what you’re thinking. Christmas is three weeks away. You haven’t even shopped for gifts yet and you’re sort of in panic mode.

If you don’t celebrate Christmas or what I’d like to call the Great Gift Giveaway for those who just want to join in on the American tradition, well then, carry on with other fun things you do during the holiday season.

While the pepper-spraying-dying-man-on-the-floor consumer craze that engulfed Black Friday and Cyber Monday has passed (though we hear some major big merchants are still riding the materialism momentum), there are still deals out there.

This holiday season, find the unique one of a kind gifts for your friends and fam. Let’s think about the ‘other’ merchants: the local artisans and small business owners who want to you to take interest in their products and help them make a living.

If your’re on a tight budget and are going to spend hundreds anyway, you should support the ‘little guys’ to not only pay their products what they’re worth, but to drive the local economy, make friends, and build your community assets along the way. It’s a true statement that if you buy locally, that an average of 80% of your money spent goes back into our communities.

So for your next shopping spree, we suggest you check these places out that host a hub of great local gems (in no particular order):

1. Midtown Global Market (South Minneapolis). There’s tons of international boutiques from Somalian scarves to Tibetan tea. Located on Chicago Ave along Lake St E. They are green and they are our immigrant neighbors from the metro area. http://www.midtownglobalmarket.org/

2. North King Building (Northeast Minneapolis). This amazing historical mill era building opens the first Thursday in the Arts District as a multitude of painters, sculptors, printmakers, photographers, ceramists, textile and fiber artists, jewelers, furniture showrooms and more open their studios located in the heart of the Northeast Minneapolis Arts District. http://www.northrupkingbuilding.com/

3. University Ave (From West Bank to Frogtown). Yes, I’m talking about the whole soon to be famous corridor, which is packed with local specialties from intricate Hmong handicrafts to decadent Chinese pastries. http://www.universityavenuebiz.com/MemberDirectory.htm

4. Grand Ave (St. Paul). If Frogtown is a little hectic to navigate for gifts, there’s always the good ol’ charming shops that are lined up in St. Paul. A little on the high priced boutique side, but the people are easy to bargain with. http://grandave.com/businesses.php

5. LynLake Uptown (Minneapolis). Although the hip and trendy seem to be ruling the area and big chains are continuously moving in, there are still a couple of locally-owned shops that are worthy of your interest from antique bicycles to vintage clothing. http://www.uptownminneapolis.com/businesses_arts_theaters.html

6. Stillwater, MN. If you want to make a little hike out to one of the historically known old towns, check out the boutiques in Stillwater that has everything from fresh bottles of wines to handmade jewelry. http://stillwaterchamber.chambermaster.com/directory/jsp/busdir/QLCatgListing.jsp?ccid=257&catgid=23&aname=1

7. Lao Inspired Gifts. For Lao textile fashions nearby, check out Lao Vientiane Clothing store which has an array of colorful threads and of course, karaoke VCDs: http://twincities.citysearch.com/profile/606088620/st_paul_mn/lao_vientiane_clothing_shop.html. Another one is Hmong ABC (Arts, Books and Crafts), where you’ll find books of folktales to Hmong tapestries: http://www.hmongabc.com/store/home.php?cat=.

8. Socially-Responsible-Eco-Friendly E-Boutiques. Confirmed by trade associations for being free from sweat-shops and impacting mother earth, here are a few online boutiques for more perusal from the comfort of your at-home laptop:

Cool Jerk (Lao beef jerky locally owned by husband and wife duo, Mali Kouanchao and Mike Davis)

http://www.cooljerk.net/

Ock Pop Tok (Laos)

http://www.ockpoptok.com/shop/cat_17.html

The Hunger Site

https://www.thehungersite.com/store/site.do?siteId=220&origin=HS_GOOGLE_ADGROUP_SociallyResponsible&gclid=CNOO-sHs8awCFWgEQAod7SUZJQ

Find more here online at: http://aznow.biz/lists/charitable-socially-responsible-shopping-sites

If you need a shopping partner, don’t hesitate to invite deal shopaholic Chanida at c.phaengdara@gmail.com! HAPPY SHOPPING!