The holiday shopping season is fully underway, and there's never been a better time to support local retailers. While supply chain issues have caused product shortages at big box stores nationwide, most small businesses are still well-stocked with a diverse array of gift options.
"If ever there were a time to shop local, the 2021 holiday season is it," a recent news release from Old Dominion University emphasized. That's because most small businesses rely primarily on local sourcing rather than importations from Asia, where traffic backups in ports are particularly severe.
When you shift to spending your money at small businesses, you ensure that more of your dollars stay in the community - and you help support the creation of more quality, local jobs.
The small businesses you support will further fuel the area's economy by spending money on local printing products, legal services, paint and hardware supplies and more. For every $100 spent at a locally-owned business, more than half is recirculated, whereas for every $100 spent at a chain store, less than 15% stays in the community, according to the Institute for Local Self-Reliance.
Finally, small businesses play a key role in supporting the unique feel of the community they serve. Local shops aren’t reliant on a national sales plan like the big chains. Instead, they're tuned into the wants, needs and interests of local residents.
Independently-owned businesses abound throughout the Historic Triangle - and many of them offer one-of-a-kind gifts you simply won't find anywhere else.
Below is a list of some of the local businesses to consider shopping at this holiday season.
Category: Art & Unique Gifts
Location: 330 Water St. in Yorktown.
On the hunt for a handcrafted gift? Check out Autie M's American Cottage located on Water Street, right in the heart of historic Yorktown.
The store is run by a local artist who carefully selects pieces made by local and regional crafters and other creators from throughout the U.S. You’ll find jewelry, art, figurines, home decor and much more here.
Category: Specialty Foods
Location: 410 W. Duke of Gloucester St. in Williamsburg
The Cheese Shop is an ideal gift destination for the food lover on your shopping list. Shop for local honey, specialty wines, savory sauces and oils, and a wide variety of cheeses. Gift cards are also available.
Category: Fine Teas
This locally-owned tea shop is based in Williamsburg. While operations were moved online amid the pandemic, Discover Teas is still open for business. You'll find a broad selection of teas and teaware here - all of which can be shipped directly to you or your recipient.
Category: Handcrafted & Unique Gifts
Location: 6927 Richmond Rd. in Williamsburg
This independently-owned shopping destination - which now includes three locations in the same plaza across from Go-Karts Plus - is a favorite of many local residents, and it's not hard to see why.
Over 100 vendor booths sell all kinds of goods here, including antiques, crafts, candy, collectibles and much more.
5. Gangsta Dog
Location: 319 Water St. in Yorktown
Shopping for your dog – or a dog lover? Check out Gangsta Dog, a shop in Yorktown that just opened in April 2021. The shop features specialty dog items like gourmet cookies and chews, bones, supplements and gluten-free dog food.
Looking for an active-duty-owned business to support? Check out Heroic Apparel. This clothing and accessory shop, operated in Williamsburg, was founded by Jason McNeely, who joined the U.S Navy in 2007 and continues to serve.
McNeely says his wife, Brandi, and his daughter, Kherington, also play key roles behind the scenes in keeping the business running smoothly. You'll find locally-printed t-shirts, hats, sweatshirts, key chains and more here - many of which feature patriotic-themed designs.
Category: Specialty Foods
Location: 414 Prince George St. in Williamsburg
Stroll through Merchants Square and stop at The Peanut Shop of Williamsburg, where you’ll find an array of seasonal favorites, like Holiday Snowfall Virginia Peanuts, nut brittles and perfectly-packaged gift sets.
8. Nautical Dog
Location: 5102 Main St. Suite B in Williamsburg.
Situated in Newtown, the Nautical Dog is a great place to stop if you're looking for the perfect gift for the dog or cat lover on your list. The store features pet-related home decor, t-shirts, socks and breed-specific merchandise, as well as toys and treats for pets.
Category: Bath and Body
Location: 2021 Richmond Rd. and 423 Prince George St. in Williamsburg
If you appreciate natural products with clean ingredients, you’ll find plenty to love about Perfectly Natural Soap. This small business focuses on artisan soap-making in small batches, and their products are made right in Williamsburg with high-quality ingredients.
Aside from specialty soaps, you’ll find all kinds of other gift options, like scented candles, men’s grooming supplies and products for babies and kids.
Category: Bicycle-related gifts; afternoon tea
Location: 3449 John Tyler Hwy. in Williamsburg
This unique cafe' on the Virginia Capital Trail sells more than just food items: you’ll also find a gift shop featuring bicycle-themed accessories here. Prefer to give the gift of quality time? Buy tickets to treat someone on your list Spoke & Art’s Thursday afternoon tea.
11. Virginia Gourmet
Category: Specialty Foods
Address: 5699-24 Richmond Rd. in Williamsburg
This locally-owned shop offers a selection of gourmet and specialty foods, including salsas, pasta sauces, chocolate, all-natural and organic spices, savory dips and more. You can also pick up gift cards here.
Find more locally-owned businesses to support this season - and year-round - at Local LoveVA Hampton Roads.