How to (safely) support local businesses during the holidays

Photo courtesy of Unsplash.

The holiday season is upon us, and with that comes the holiday buying season. For better or worse, the holidays are synonymous with gift-giving. With COVID-19 numbers continuing to rise and restrictions imminent in the area, it can be hard to know how to safely support local business when celebrating. We may not be with all of our loved ones this year, and many presents will have to be shipped instead of placed under the tree, but there are still ways to safely give gifts. 

You may be looking forward to giving gifts after the incredibly hard year we’ve all collectively had, or you may be a bit stressed about how to buy gifts in the safest way possible. While shopping online from a certain giant corporation may be easy and tempting, it’s important to remember that our favorite business owners have had a hard year, too. By supporting local businesses this holiday season, you’ll be giving a gift to both your loved one and the owner you buy from. But if you’re still a little lost on the best ways to do that, you’re not alone. 

It can be hard to know exactly where to buy from – especially if your loved one’s list is linked to all online stores. An easy way to make sure you’re still supporting an independent seller is to do some calling and website searches to see if a local store may have it in stock. 

Many stores have been taking precautions to ensure customer safety, including offering curbside pick up and online ordering. Be sure to sanitize frequently if you do shop in-store – and, of course, wear your mask. If you’re buying clothing, make sure you get the size and measurements of the gift recipient before you shop, that way you can make your shopping trip faster and more efficient, and thus safer. 

If you still don’t know what you want to buy, there’s no need to worry. You can find just about anything you’re looking for right here in Kansas City. Common types of gifts are grouped here in sections for your shopping ease. 

For the book lover: 

Kansas City has quite a few independent bookstores. Prospero’s on W. 39th St. has over 50,000 books in the three-story shop. Coming here is a book lover’s dream. Buying a gift card for the book lover you know allows them to pick out the book perfectly suited to their wants. Rainy Day Books has been in Kansas City, Kan. since 1975, and they have just about any title you can think of. You can order online to be delivered directly to the person you’re gifting the book to. Rainy Day Books also offers gift boxes, which include upwards of three titles in a genre-specific box. Wise Blood Booksellers is fairly new to the Westport scene and has a wide range of titles to choose from. You can also buy a gift certificate or “boredom bundles,” which include a book or two that are hand-selected for each bundle based on genre. 

For the fashion icon: 

There are so many options when it comes to clothing stores in Kansas City. Clothz Minded is a sustainably curated collection of secondhand clothing in Westport that always has new pieces in the store. Masks and hand sanitizer (provided at the entrance) are required for shopping, and you can also order on their website or Instagram stories. For the retro lover in your life, Daisy Lee Vintage has two locations, in the Crossroads and Overland park, full of vintage clothing from the grooviest time periods. ULAH has you covered for ready-to-wear men’s clothing. They also offer styled looks that you can get for the fashion lover in your life who may want to switch up their wardrobe. If you’re looking to give the gift of a great fitting suit, Houndstooth in the River Market is the place to go. Get a gift card from one of these places for the person you’re shopping for, and arrange a time to safely shop at the store after the Christmas rush. 

For the Kansas City proud:

If you’ve noticed people’s clothing the last few years, you’ve definitely seen plenty of Kansas City-specific apparel around town. Charlie Hustle is where you’ll find the iconic KC Heart t-shirts, as well as some other local favorites. Raygun has clothing, glassware, pillows and more that are all covered in Kansas City and Midwest pride (not to mention their witty apparel). Bunker has been offering a plethora of different Kansas City clothing brands since 1997 in their Westport store. Westside Storey carries an array of clothing, accessories and home decor that is all focused on Kansas City. You can’t go wrong with any of these stores. A gift card or item from any one of them is sure to be loved. 

For the gardener:

Whether they love potted plants or outdoor gardens, there are plenty of places to buy gifts for those with a green-thumb in your life. Paradise Garden Club is in the coolest pink warehouse in the Crossroads and has all of the plants – and plant care advice – you could ask for. Virgil’s Plant Shop has a brick & mortar location on Troost but also has a traveling plant bus that will deliver plants to your door. KC Tiny Greenhouse offers a monthly plant box subscription that you can buy for the plant lover in your life – it comes with three 3-inch plants delivered to their door every month. 

There are many more places than these that could have the perfect gift for the person you’re looking for, but these shops are a great place to start. As important as it is to stay safe during the pandemic, we also need to look for ways to continue to support local businesses. Be sure to look out for contactless options when buying, wear a mask and sanitize often if you do buy in-person.

Savannah Hawley

Savannah Hawley is the Managing Editor and Chief Copy Editor of The Hilltop Monitor. She is a senior majoring in Oxbridge: Literature & Theory and French.

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