As we enter the busiest shopping season of the year, I want to urge you to spend some time, and some dollars, shopping here in your neighborhood. And invite your friends to join you!
In these challenging economic times, retailers, particularly local retailers, often feel the pinch first. We want all of our local businesses to thrive–as the saying goes, a rising tide lifts all boats. Vacant storefronts, on the other hand, have quite a different effect on our community.
As we continue striving to make our community more sustainable, we need to build a retail environment where most of our needs are met locally. The more our existing businesses succeed, the better our odds of attracting additional quality shops and services.
Below are ten good reasons to shop locally. I’ve also provided a host of great gift ideas, all available here in the 49th Ward. Let’s all spend the bulk of our holiday shopping dollars close to home!
Ten Good Reasons to Shop Close to Home
1. Protect Local Character and Prosperity
The 49th Ward is unlike any other community in the world. By choosing to support locally owned or locally operated businesses, you help maintain our diversity and distinctive flavor.
2. Community Well-Being
Locally owned businesses build strong neighborhoods by sustaining communities, linking neighbors, and by contributing more to local causes.
3. Local Decision Making
Local ownership means that important decisions are made locally by people who live in the community and who will feel the impacts of those decisions.
4. Keeping Dollars in the Local Economy
Your dollars spent in locally-owned businesses have three times the impact on your community as dollars spent at national chains. When shopping locally, you simultaneously create jobs, fund more city services through sales tax, invest in neighborhood improvement and promote community development.
5. Job and Wages
Locally owned businesses create more jobs locally and, in some sectors, provide better wages and benefits than chains do.
Entrepreneurship fuels America’s economic innovation and prosperity, and serves as a key means for families to move out of low-wage jobs and into the middle class.
7. Public Benefits and Costs
Local stores in town centers require comparatively little infrastructure and make more efficient use of public services relative to big box stores and strip shopping malls.
8. Environmental Sustainability
Local stores help to sustain vibrant, compact, walkable town centers-which in turn are essential to reducing sprawl, automobile use, habitat loss, and air and water pollution.
A marketplace of small businesses is the best way to ensure innovation and low prices over the long-term.
10. Product Diversity
A multitude of small businesses, each selecting products based, not on a national sales plan, but on their own interests and the needs of their local customers, guarantees a much broader range of product choices. Can’t find what you need? Ask them to start carrying it! Your local retailer wants you to come back.
Hot Local Gift Ideas for Everyone on Your List
1. For your loved one or the teen in your life
How about a set of new bicycles for some quality & healthy time together? Check out Roberts Cycle at 7054 N. Clark. You won’t find service or expertise like this at a big box sporting goods store!
2. For the city gal or guy with a little country in their soul
Check out Jessica’s Western Wear at 7015 N. Clark for great boots, cowboy hats, suede jackets, bandanas, belt buckles and more. It’s a little bit of Texas right here in the 49th Ward.
3. For the pet lover–or for your “child”
Rogers Bark Pet Salon at 1447 W. Jarvis and Bark Place Chicago at 1775 W. Greenleaf offer natural foods, treats, toys, gear and services.
4. For a friend who enjoys a little “holiday cheer”
Consider a selection of hard-to-find Belgian beers from Rogers Park Fine Wine and Spirits at 6733 N. Clark or a personally selected basket filled with fine wines, stemware and gourmet foods from Taste Food & Wine at 1506 W. Jarvis. They even offer a Wine of the Month Membership!
5. For the budding musician or the maestro
Flatts and Sharpe Music Company at 6749 N. Sheridan boasts one of the widest varieties of printed music in Chicago and a nice selection of instruments for pros and beginners alike. Consider lessons to accompany that instrument, whether for a child or a retiree ready for something new.
6. For the collector or the eccentric
Lost Eras Antiques is a Rogers Park gem. Whether you are seeking an antique coffee service, an historic Chicago street lamp, a piece of retro jewelry, or a special costume to make someone’s fantasy come true, you’ll find it here at 1511 W. Howard Street. The 49th Ward is home to a number of great resale and antique stores. Tour them all. What a green choice for your holiday giving!
7. For the little tikes
The Pig Pen at 1536 W. Jarvis is a creative space for children and parents to create, play and shop. Unique children’s new, handmade and gently used clothes are the highlight–and you should see this place on Halloween!
8. For the art lover
Rogers Park is home to many fine artists. RogersPark.com features a listing of local artists and galleries. Don’t miss Unan Imports at 6971 N. Sheridan, the Iraqi Art Gallery at 7013 N. Sheridan, and the Greenleaf Art Center at 1806 W. Greenleaf . While you’re at the Greenleaf Art Center, check out their “Made in Rogers Park” hats, t-shirts and accessories. Can you beat a one-of-a-kind gift?
9. A little something for everyone–and stocking stuffers galore!
Fair trade coffee, hacky sacks, bumper stickers, bath products and toiletries, imported scarves and locally made jewelry, magazines, books and oddities. The Heartland Cafe’s General Store has it all at 7000 N. Glenwood.
10. Ah yes, gift certificates
Rogers Park is alive with services and entertainment. From music venues, such as the Morse Theater at 1328 W. Morse and the Morseland at 1218 W. Morse, to fine dining, such as Grupo di Amici at 1508 W. Jarvis and RoPa Restaurant and Wine Bar at 1146 W. Pratt, to superior theater, such as the Lifeline Theater at 6912 N. Glenwood and The Side Project at 1439 W. Jarvis, there is much to see and do.
Still haven’t come up with the perfect gift? How about a certificate for a car wash or detailing at Rogers Park Auto and Hand Car Wash, 6828 N. Clark, a hot stone massage at the Rogers Park Center for Massage Therapy, 6934 N. Glenwood , or a month’s worth of hot coffee from the Common Cup at 1501 W. Morse.
Hosting a holiday party?
Make your holiday entertaining spectacular by featuring some diverse ethnic treats. Meat pies and rum cake from the Caribbean American Baking Company, 1547 W. Howard (temporary location), tres leches cake from Panaderia Ayutla, 6963 N. Clark, or the sweetest tamales from Tamales Lo Mejor De Guerrero, 7024 N. Clark, will warm you on a cold winter night.
Pick up some jerk chicken from Jamaica Jerk , 1631 W. Howard, or Good to Go, 1947 W. Howard, and turn it into appetizers for a crowd (I’m giving away my wife Barbara’s secrets here). The Romanian Kosher Sausage Company, 7200 N. Clark can help you put together a fantastic chartucerie platter.
Want fish? Bring home some taramosalata from Amphora, 7547 N. Clark, freshly prepared and stunningly beautiful sushi trays from Grande Noodles and Sushi Bar, 6632 N. Clark, and fresh fish, seasonings and salads from The Fish Keg, 2233 W. Howard.
Need more hints?
My staff and the staff at DevCorp North, Rogers Park’s business and economic development organization, are available to help guide you in the right direction. As this list demonstrates, local shopping can be fun and good for your pocket book!