Support your neighbors by shopping local
The holidays are here, and there is no better way to celebrate than by supporting local businesses, which provide a gift that keeps on giving. Although online retailers provide convenience and, often, value-driven gifts, those dollars spent leave the state and provide no benefits to Alaskans.
Alaskan-owned businesses keep our dollars in our state and also provide jobs to Alaskans. Additionally, these businesses are likely to support the neighborhood softball league or youth soccer or local nonprofit organizations.
Locally owned businesses come in all shapes and sizes, whether they are longtime Anchorage institutions that have been a part of our community for decades or recent entrepreneurs who just opened their businesses with help from the Anchorage Community Land Trust’s Set Up Shop Program or Alaska Small Business Development Center.
Local businesses make Anchorage unique and give us a certain vibe and flavor. Shopping locally builds and creates community and allows you to connect with the business owners.
Need gear to keep you warm or help you stay active? Downtown has 6th Avenue Outfitters Co-Op and Big Rays have everything from socks, mittens and hats to keep you cozy from your feet to your head.
For your loved one who is active yearround, make sure they are seen during these dark days with reflective and lightup gear from Skinny Raven. For the indoor winter exercise enthusiast, you might purchase yoga classes at Burn & Bloom or Namaste North.
For that special someone who loves a unique piece, check out Sevigny Art Gallery, Stephen’s Fine Arts, Tiny Gallery or Romney Designs. These shops provide the opportunity to support a locally owned business and a local artist. They feature everything, such as jewelry, coffee mugs and original paintings.
Long hours of darkness require lots of coffee. Nothing says I love you like a boost of caffeine. Our local coffee shops provide great gift opportunities, such as coffee cards, freshly roasted beans, travel mugs or other great swag. These gifts keep our loved ones alert and support the great businesses that get up early to make our mornings more special.
Do you have a loved one with a sweet tooth? Mountain View’s Sweet Creations Lollipop Boutique provides delightful and tasty treats. Do you want to provide a unique and delicious gift? Eva’s Cupcakery does custom orders to create that special treat.
For the trendsetter, fashion-forward woman in your world, look no further than downtown. In just a few short blocks, there are five great businesses tailored to women. Weather Boutique provides a collection of curated pieces from ethical and conscious designers, with high quality and slow(er) fashion as the goal. Blush Boutique has a perfect selection of denim, high-quality bags, accessories and delightful candles — if you need assistance, they have a stellar sales team ready to assist. Second Run provides designer fashion for the value-driven consumer with new inventory daily. Circular offers a carefully curated selection of clothing, jewelry, home décor and gift products. Bottoms Boutique specializes in affordable fashion, denim, shoes, accessories and select home goods.
If your special someone is a hipster with a green thumb, you can find all the millennial house plants they could ever desire at That Feeling Co., located inside the K Street Market, alongside Fire Island Bakery, La Bodega and Johnny’s Produce.
Feeling overwhelmed with all the “stuff” in your life? Might we recommend an “experience” gift? For the art lover in your life, a membership to the Anchorage Museum or the International Gallery of Contemporary Art. For that special someone who loves music, passes to the Anchorage Opera, Anchorage Symphony, or upcoming shows from Anchorage Concert Association. Need inspiration? Check out the schedule for the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts.
Another great “experience” opportunity is a gift certificate to a favorite restaurant. Downtown Anchorage has two new culinary hot spots: Whiskey & Ramen on Fourth Avenue and Palmiera on Barrow Street. However, from West Berlin to Snow City Cafe, 49th State Brewing Company to Humpy’s Great Alaska Alehouse and Ginger, Hula Hands, Crush, Waffles and Whatnot, Spinz and Uncle Joe’s Pizza, there are endless opportunities to provide someone with a “night off” from cooking.
When you shop local and spend your money at Anchorage businesses, 40 to 60 cents of each dollar stays in our community and recirculates. It supports our friends, family, and neighbors. But most importantly, it keeps these businesses in the fabric of our community, and they make our community beloved and unique. Shop local this holiday season and throughout the year. Our community and local businesses are worth it.
Daniel Volland is a licensed optometric physician, small-business owner, vice president of the South Addition Community Council, and member of the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce Legislative Committee. Christopher Constant is the vice-chair of the Anchorage Assembly.