How to Shop Local for Fun and Unique Gifts

Posted On: September 15, 2022
couple shopping


Finding the right gift, especially for someone who has virtually everything, is challenging. While you could do a web search to find gift ideas, why not take another approach by supporting your local businesses and finding something unique?

Small businesses account for 99.7% of our business economy, and many offer unique items. Some small businesses specialize in products specific to your area, creating an excellent opportunity to find something that might be of particular interest to someone who lives further away.

You’ll never know what you’ll find tucked away, but we’ve rounded up some ideas on where to look to find hidden treasures within your community.


Farmer’s Market Picks

Farmer’s markets are a great place to find local and unique gifts. In addition to an assortment of fresh vegetables, some farmer’s markets offer homemade crafts that might include items such as:

  • Preserves
  • Specialty cheeses
  • Honey and maple syrup
  • Fresh flowers
  • Needlecrafts
  • Goat’s milk soaps and homemade candles
  • Foraged items like mushrooms and fiddleheads

Each farmer’s market differs from the next, so visit each one or ask around.


Art and Craft Fair Finds

Art and craft fairs are other terrific options for fun and unique gift opportunities, and you’ll support a local artist with your purchase. These fairs often offer a variety of items, including paintings, needlecrafts, wood crafts, jewelry, sculptures, fragrances, pottery, and much more.

The only problem with an art and craft fair happens when you forget to bring a reusable bag to carry your treasures home.


Support Small, Local Businesses

You might surprise yourself with what you’ll find hidden in your local business district. Many cities and towns across the nation have niche businesses that sell unique items not found anywhere else. If you live in a coastal area, for example, you might find items made of sea glass or seashells, or that have a nautical theme. Other areas of the country will differ in what they offer.


Bargain Stores

Bargain stores have unusual finds, too. Brand outlet stores or surplus and salvage stores offer great deals on brand products, and they’re worth checking out. Surplus and salvage stores provide products on a limited supply basis, so once it’s gone, it’s gone. Outlet stores offer branded products at bargain prices. You’ll find quality products for the brands you know and love, but at a deal allowing you to save some of your hard-earned cash.


Art Supply Stores

Art Supply stores have many unique and fun gift opportunities, and they’re not limited to art supplies. Many stores have various options, such as wreaths, custom framing, and home décor. You’ll also find some stores that offer a variety of classes to learn art and crafts at every age.

  • Jewelry-making
  • Children’s crafts
  • Needlework
  • Papercrafts
  • Cake decorating
  • Painting
  • Soapmaking

Ask about free virtual classes for your health and convenience.


Adult Education Organizations

If giving the gift of a class or taking one together sounds like a great idea, then check out your local adult education organizations. You’re sure to find something you’ll love. Class offerings often change based on season and enrollment, so if you see something you like, don’t hesitate to register.

Adult education offers a variety of classes to meet everyone’s needs, from college prep, job skills, entrepreneurial spirits, arts and crafts, exercise, cooking, and even group trips for older adults.

The cost of classes depends on the topic. Some classes are free or low-cost, while other, more in-depth classes, may come with a higher price tag. All classes are worth checking out and help support your local economy.


Coffee Shops

You don’t always think of coffee shops as a place to look for unique gifts, but you can find something interesting for the coffee lover. Many coffee shops sell ground coffee, coffee beans, K-cups, drink tumblers, water bottles, apparel, and seasonal branded trinkets. Some coffee shops even offer coffee subscriptions, like a “coffee of the month” club, so they’re worth checking out.


Museums and Planetariums

Museums and planetariums are more than enjoyable places to visit; they’re also great places to find fun and unique gifts. Most museums and planetariums have gift shops where you might discover trinkets; maps; books; images of stars, planets, and solar systems; toys; home décor; apparel, and more.


Finding fun and unique gifts is easy when you shop locally. Visit the places you least expect to find gift ideas, and you’re sure to surprise yourself with what hidden treasures you might find within your community. You’ll also support your local businesses, farmers, and artists while offering a unique gift to your loved one, and maybe even yourself as well.