When you buy local, the care always shines through. We spotlight a few local stores & discuss why they’re worth visiting this holiday season!

by Max Fisher

Make a difference to your community this holiday season and choose to shop local. Anyway, Jeff Bezos is basically the bald Grinch

Holiday Shopping that Makes a Difference

Shopping locally isn’t just good for your local economy, but it also gives a bit of validation/appreciation to the owners of the establishments you frequent. Whenever you shop locally, it’s like your subtly saying “I choose you” because let’s be frank, whatever you buy from whatever store you choose, you can get it from a big name brand company instead, but you’ll be missing the heart/care that was put into it. People that frequently shop locally know this. Perhaps it’s a bit of a trade-off in the sense that you may have to pay a few dollars more or have to wait a bit longer for it to be made or arrive, depending on what you buy. But when you buy locally, the care always shines through and that always outweighs the small things like a few dollars more or a bit longer wait time. So let’s spotlight a few local stores and talk about why they’re worth visiting!

Overwinter Coffee

Overwinter Coffee

Move over Starbucks with your overpriced pumpkin spice latte ($5.25, and they call it a seasonal treat. It’s more like seasonal robbery). Because Overwinter Coffee has got you beat in one undeniably. According to their website, their mission statement is as follows “We want to bridge the great divide that exists in the coffee industry: we want to bring amazing coffee to everyone, and we don’t want it to be a secret.” And that sense of transparency is evident as soon as you walk in. Granted, on its face, it may not seem like a big deal to get exactly what you ordered, but a lot of the more prominent companies aren’t very transparent.

So when you get a black coffee, for example, you may not know where the beans where derived, or you can’t ask any questions. It’s just “here you go” and onto the next one. But Overwinter prides itself in not only having quality coffee, but quality information about coffee that it’s willing to share with anyone willing to listen. So if you’re tired of getting the hostile look from the barista every time you go to Starbucks in the morning, give Overwinter a shot. Not only do they have service with a smile, they’re more than willing to give you any info about any brew, bean or treat they carry in the store as well!

Old Editions

Old Editions

The number of people that read regularly is shrinking. Add to the fact that since the pandemic, many book sales have either been digital or from Amazon, and the idea of a bookstore in 2021 seems somewhat archaic. I’ll agree to some degree that a bookstore at this point is a relic of the past, but I’ll fight anyone tooth and nail (or spine and bookmark since we’re talking about books here) that bookstores like Old Editions are still as vital as ever. For one reason, human contact. If you’ve read a decent amount of my pieces, I’m sure you’ve heard me mention this here or there, but it really is important. Books aren’t just a means of enjoyment or a way to get information; books are also a means to foster connection.

Look at it like this, if you buy a book online from a place like Amazon, that’s all well and good, but all you get is you may save a few dollars and you get the book… that’s all. Gone is your chance to get someone’s opinion on the book or the author. Gone is the opportunity for meaningful conversation and possibly relative suggestions. All you get if you order online is a soulless “customer also bought.” It all comes down to a matter of preference but when it comes to books choosing, convenience robs you of all the small things that make books great. The discussions, the knowledgeable suggestions, and the possibility to be led down a path you would have never thought of.

So if you’re looking to get a book soon, I’d recommend going to Old Editions Bookshop & Gallery in North Tonawanda. You may believe you’re getting a bargain if you go on Amazon, but more than likely, you’ll just be missing out.

Butter Block

Butter Block

Butter Block is the pinnacle of a no-nonsense bakery. They’re open from 8am to 2pm 4 days out of the week. They have a relatively small space once you’re in their establishment, and they only have baked goods. Not coffee, not tea, only baked goods. And man oh man, are they good! Everything’s handmade and tastes great, from fresh monkey bread to almond croissants (my personal favorite). It’s simple, it’s local, and it’s wonderful. Plain. And. Simple.

Rustic Buffalo Artisan Market

Rustic Buffalo Artisan Market

Rustic Buffalo Artisan Market is an artist’s haven where they have the opportunity to sell their wares directly to the local market. They carry one of a kind jewelry, hand-formed and wheel-thrown pottery, handmade cards, hand-blown as well as fused glass, hand-turned wood bowls, hand sewn leather items, decorative wall art, souvenirs, mugs, wind chimes, hand towels, cutting boards, books, and literally tons more. If you’re looking to shop local and get something totally unique, Rustic Buffalo Artisan Market has you covered!

Support Local

Shopping locally is essential in more ways than one. Yes, there’s the obvious reason of supporting your local economy, but it also reinforces the importance of the services these local establishments provide. Like I mentioned at the beginning, by shopping locally, your essentially saying to the owner of that business, “I choose you,” and that means a lot to those that make a living by their own means through their own business. They know you could have gone to some big company or brand name place.

Still, the fact that you didn’t and decided to go to them gives them the sense of appreciation and importance (not to mention monetary gain. No business can survive off appreciation and importance alone) that’s needed for them to keep going. So I urge you to shop locally if you can. If it’s a matter of convenience that’s holding you back, I suggest you look at what you want to buy because remember, even though you may save a few dollars, you may be robbed of other things.

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