The Importance of Shopping Local

When everyone first went on Covid lockdown, there was a meme floating around the internet. It went something like this: “Remember all of the local small businesses that you’ve asked for years and years to donate and sponsor your sports clubs, school events, organizations, etc.? It’s time to support them. They’re the heart of our town.”

Even in the best of times, there’s a motivation to shop local. And in tough times like these, shopping locally becomes an absolute necessity. Dare I say a community obligation. I’m not suggesting you buy things you don’t want or need out of guilt. Instead, my plea is to try and shop here before choosing to spend your dollars online.

Shopping Local Takes Some Effort

Shopping locally can be categorized under things we all agree are essential but don’t always do. A practice that, in theory, we want to embrace. But when it comes to putting it into action, compliance levels are iffy. I liken it to recycling, eating fruits and vegetables, or even using clean beauty. We know it would be better if we were diligent, making the habit part of our regular routines, but more often than not, we don’t.

Well, at least I don’t. I don’t know about you, but my ideal image of myself eats all vegan, organic, kosher. Exercises and meditates daily. The ideal Hallie remembers to write thank you notes promptly and returns all calls and texts (spoiler alert – this is not my strength, just ask my family). She cleans her home with all-natural cleaners AND wakes up cheery every morning without the need for caffeine. But that is a full-on Disney fantasy right there. It isn’t happening. At least not all of it. But just because I can’t commit to my version of perfection in its entirety doesn’t mean that parts of the scenario shouldn’t be my goal.

Shop Local Instead of Amazon

So too, with shopping local. Yes, shopping on Amazon is easy with a capital E. Just click buy it now, and it’s at your door the next day. Jeff Bezos is a genius and a gazillionaire because of it. It’s possible that he single-handedly got many of us through quarantine. I know my sanity was saved more than once. But, and this is a BIG BUT, just because shopping online is easy doesn’t mean it should always be the first choice.

Now from a purely income generating standpoint, touting the shop local call could be a slippery slope. A good chunk of my livelihood comes from my followers, readers, and clients clicking my affiliate links and making online purchases. So, in my case, while encouraging you to purchase from local stores may not be the most profitable for me, I still feel like it’s the proper path. Helping to ensure our local economy remains robust improves my personal and our collective quality of life.

Shopping Local Matters

Shopping local matters because it affects our neighborhoods, our city, and our community. Did you know, for every $100 you spend at a locally owned business, $68 stays in the community? And from a brick-and-mortar national chain in your area, $43 stays in the local economy. THE LOCAL ECONOMY! That is huge! It means that the dollars you’re spending will help local schools and roads. And, will provide jobs for neighbors and food for friends. As well as help improve your day to day life where you live.

If you look at shopping locally from a hierarchy standpoint, locally owned businesses, boutiques, and restaurants should come first. However, shopping local means also shopping in the neighborhood brick-and-mortar stores of national chains. Meaning, the more we support and patronize the Cleveland outposts of Saks Fifth Avenue, Urban Outfitters, and Nordstrom Rack, the more likely those stores are to stay in our community and thrive. If we opt to buy online and just use the local stores as a place to do our returns (you’re not alone, I’m guilty of doing this too), there’s a high likelihood these stores will close.

We will then find ourselves traveling to NYC, Chicago, or even Detroit to shop in person.
Trust me when I tell you, we DO NOT want that to happen. We want Cleveland to have a thriving retail environment. It’s good for us; it’s good for our economy, it’s good for our property values, it’s good for our schools, it’s just plain good.

In-Person vs. On-Line Shopping

Even for me, as a professional shopper, online shopping is not as successful or satisfying an experience as in person. Being able to touch, see, and feel a product, ask a real live person for feedback and suggestions, and try something in multiple sizes – that can not be duplicated virtually. On line shopping and in-person shopping can be a winning combo. It’s not an all or nothing scenario – the two are meant to go hand in hand.

What I’m trying to say is; when it comes time to do your holiday shopping, buy that new outfit, or get that thank you gift card, PLEASE TRY TO BUY IT LOCALLY FIRST.

I understand that shopping locally 100% of the time is unrealistic. But being mindful of what you’re purchasing, along with where you’re buying it from, can go a long way in changing your shopping habits. And, in turn, a long way in helping the local economy.

Sometimes the right choice, like shifting your consumer habits to be more locally focused, may not be the easiest, but it’s also not the hardest. It’s do-able, at least part of the time. And the impact is enormous.

Hallie’s Hot List – Shop Local Cleveland Guide

People often bash the local shopping options that Cleveland has, but when I started compiling this list I was blown away – we’ve got great stuff here  – and we need to support them to continue to have a variety of shopping options. Smaller stores offer personalized attention as well as unique brands – often that’s how I discover new labels, thru the small boutiques.

Sadly, some of our great local boutiques have shut their doors recently, Fringe, Scout & Molly’s Pinecrest, Two French Blue, Find Me, Audrey’s Sweet Threads to name a few. Please don’t let this part of the list grow. We have the ability to help keep the small local businesses alive until the time comes that they can thrive again. Even if you’re not in the NE Ohio area, you can support these businesses most of them ship. And/or be sure to support the local stores where you live.

Fun fact, now that I offer virtual styling and have clients all over the county, I can still support local stores. I just sent a box of goodies from Amy’s Shoes & Apparel to my client in San Francisco. I knew my client’s needs and found unique pieces at Amy’s that fit her style and budget (and that I would have NEVER found at Zappos or Nordstrom). Amy sent a box of 5 items – I did a virtual try-on session with my client and 4 were perfect – only the dress was a smidge short, so it was sent back with a pre-paid label. It was easy, successful, and a win all around!

When You Shop Local, Tell Them You Saw it Here

Please, if and when you patronize these stores, TELL THEM YOU SAW THIS BLOG POST. Some will even have a surprise or a discount for you. Honestly, it was too confusing coordinating everyone’s offers (some offered 10% off, some wanted to wait until small business Saturday, some had a gift with purchase)- so it is easier if you just mention reading about them here and they’ll let you know if there is a special.

Letting local stores know you read my blog lets them know they’re supported. And it supports my business too-it lets local stores know the reach of this blog and the cross-section of my readers and their potential customers because, at the end of the day, I’m also a small local business owner.

Cleveland Shopping Guide

For the Ladies:

East Side

Haven 

One of my personal favorites. A super well-curated women’s boutique in Chagrin Falls. Carrying basics that have a special something.

Sanity

Another special Chagrin Falls shop. Some of the best loungewear around – and great prices too.

Knuth’s

Both east and west locations. And everything a lady could want or need store – clothes, shoes, bags – they’ve got it all.

Amy’s Shoes

Another with both east and west locations. Very well selected clothes and shoes that you won’t find in department stores – brands like, Nicole Miller, Fantasy Sandals, Papillion, Sympli,

Lisa Moran

A great boutique for Mother of the bride dresses but they also carry more casual clothes (like my fabulous Hermes blanket denim jacket)

Banyan Tree

Multiple locations. Interesting women’s clothes featuring their house brands Figwood and North Shore -designed by the owner and made in Bali.

Black Bird Fly

This shop features cutting edge designs that stand the test of time, from designers around the world. As well as local artisans.

Cleveland Consignment Shoppe

The east side’s premier consignment store. Bags, shoes, sunglasses, clothes, furs – they have it all.

West Side

Groove

I’ve actually never been to Groove – but all of my west side peeps rave. Great contemporary fashions at a fair price.

Girl Next Door

This shop has a cool girl west coast vibe – they carry brands like Sundry, Velvet, and Xerina, along with great denim.

Fetch and Co

On-trend, easy to wear, and size-inclusive – great customer service too!

Emily Roggenburk

Hometown, lifestyle, and one-of-a-kind apparel from one of the coolest girls in the CLE.

In the Style Loop

The west side’s got-to consignment shop. Displayed in an upscale boutique-like setting with truly knowledgeable sales staff.

For the Gents:

Ticknor’s

Multiple locations. Sportswear, business attire, made to measure, and tuxedos. Truly anything a guy needs to get dressed they have. Easy one-stop shopping and fantastic customer service.

J3

An innovative approach to men’s retail – founded 10 years ago with a loyal following of well-dressed men in NE Ohio.

Kilgore Trout

An Esquire Magazine “Best of Class” winner. Carrying both men’s and women’s clothing by well-known designers including Zegna, Eaton, Veronica Beard, Herno, and L’Agence.

Cuffs

The only Hermes boutique in the area, this charming store carries both men’s and women’s. Brands such as Henry Cuir, Kiton, Loro Piana, Holland &Holland, Barbour, and Vilbrequin.

Brigade

Cool guy brands like Ksubi and G Star. Items with a lot of edge. Think more off duty than business attire.

Xhibition

Upscale men’s and women’s streetwear brands – a total sensory experience. And major collaborations along with limited-edition sneaker launches.

For the Kids:

Play Matters

The best toy store in town! Multiple locations. Unique and fun toys and super knowledgable sales staff. My go-to place for kids’ gifts!

Double Rainbow

My friend Meg owns and curates Double Rainbow with a mix of whimsy and funk. She carries a variety of unique, fun, and cheerful children’s clothes and accessories – and some great add ons for moms too!!

BabyCakes

I’ve not visited this west side shop, but friends and clients with littles say it’s the best.

Jewelry & Gifts:

Luster

From fun and functional home-goods to statement jewelry and accessories,  a curated collection of products that exemplify the perfect gift for any occasion

Hedges

A small boutique located in Chagrin Falls. They specialize in unique gifts and home goods suitable for all occasions.

Mulholland and Sachs

For over 17 years Mulholland and Sachs has been creating memories by providing your gifts for every special occasion.

Lingg

A dreamy environ – and brick + mortar dealer – of delectably curated jewelry, accessories, and art. One of my first stops when looking for a gift for a friend (or myself).

Alson

Fine jewelry at it’s finest. From classic diamond jewelry to swiss watches – they have it all.

Fount

Ethically and responsibly made, handcrafted leather bags and accessories. Made right here in Cleveland. In fact, Jackie was my Girl Crush a while back.

I’m sure I didn’t cover all of the great local shops in Cleveland – for some additional reccos, check out The Cleveland Bucket List‘s shop local round-up.

This might officially be the LONGEST post I’ve ever written – if you’re still reading, THANK YOU!!

Affiliate Links

Since the purpose of this blog is to take the stress out of getting dressed, we try to make it easy on you by sharing shoppable links (accessed by clicking the PINK words or the actual photo) with awesome readers like you. We want to let you know, some of those contain affiliate links for products. There is absolutely no additional cost to you if you take action (click, purchase, subscribe) with one of these links. As a result, we will earn some coffee money from your click.  But we promise to drink it while creating more ad-free, helpful content like this.

 

Photo: Molly Nook

 

Author

Cleveland-based personal stylist and fashion blogger.

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