Think Globally, Shop Locally
By Gretta Monahan
Today is Small Business Saturday — my favorite shopping day of the year! It’s a way to give back twice — not only to the gift receivers on our lists, but also to support our local small business owners and show your community and small shops the love. And it’s oh-so satisfying to stroll through your hometown, visiting the merchants and enjoying all of the perks that the small-biz owners go out of their way to spoil you and your family with!
So here, then, are some of my favorite local stores — not just for the terrific things they sell, but for the extras they put into the shopping experience.
I spend a lot of my time in Wellesley, where my own clothing boutique, Gretta Luxe (grettaluxe.com), is in the town’s pretty downtown shopping area. It’s a true pleasure during the holiday season to walk around Central Street — to such stores as Wellesley Toy Shop (57 Central St., Wellesley). There, owner Andy Brown always gives me guidance on the best new ‘It’ toys, buzzed-about books, and he gift-wraps all my kids gifts for simple store pickup. He also offers a generous loyalty punch card program!
Just a few steps away is Wasiks (61 Central St., Wellesley), the curated cheese shop that offers delicious free samples and has an awesome wine bar with free wine tastings while you wait. They also have one of the best, most addictive chutneys ever made — it’s so good, it absolutely makes a party. Wasiks does personal gift baskets, and even offers in-home cheese classes, and exceptional personalized service every day of the year.
Outside of Wellesley, other quintessential New England shops like Phillips Candy House (818 Morrissey Blvd., Dorchester) are also a must. This is their 90th anniversary year (Phillips is the region’s oldest chocolatier). Step into the original store and sample some of their signature chocolate brownies, almond buttercrunch and the chocolate turtles that they’re famous for. The staff will help you hand-select baskets of wrapped sea salt caramels and pecan rolls (they’re one of the original food artisans; everything here has always been handmade) for friends and family gifts.
On Back Bay’s Newbury Street, Small Pleasures (142 Newbury St.) personifies graceful service. Not only is all of the jewelry it sells, both men’s and women’s, one-of-a-kind (most of it being estate or vintage) but the staff takes the time to know every customer’s likes and tastes; they record all of your past purchases and check in about how customers or their gift recipients liked them. Small Pleasures also offers custom design, so with enough time and a little creativity, you can be completely sure you’re giving a gift that’s as personal as they come.
So I hope you’ll join me in getting out there and #ShopSmall today!