Businesses big and small have fortified their online presence to adapt to the 2020 pandemic, opening up new opportunities to keep holiday dollars local.
Cyber Monday follows Thanksgiving and Black Friday, clamoring to the top as the biggest online shopping day of the year on an international scale. But big industry names like Amazon are not the only retailers that observe digital deals on this day, which falls on Nov. 30 this year.
“The pandemic this year wreaked havoc on our hospitality and retail industry. While we’re always encouraging folks to shop local, this year, more than ever, the power of your dollar is really going to be able to be seen here in our local community,” said Brittany Quick-Warner, the president and CEO of the Eugene Chamber of Commerce.
The Eugene Chamber of Commerce recently published an article on Small Business Saturday, citing that each dollar spent at a small business returns three times more money to the local economy than one spent at a national chain store and almost 50 times more than buying from an online “mega-retailer”.
The chamber also pointed out that small businesses donate more than twice as much per sales dollar to local nonprofits when compared to national chain stores.
On Nov. 18, Gov. Kate Brown announced the launch of the “Give the Gift of Oregon” campaign as part of an effort to support local businesses statewide through the hardships caused by COVID-19.
“Oregon’s businesses are the backbone of our communities and our economy, and I am encouraging all Oregonians to shop locally this holiday season,” Brown said.
“Strengthening our economy starts here at home. Many local retailers are offering online, curbside pickup and ‘takeout’ shopping options, making it easy for Oregonians to shop safely.”
So, staying local doesn’t mean staying offline. Following are some Oregon businesses you can support from the comfort of your own home.
Amazon or Barnes & Noble might be the reflex for books, but take a minute to support some of these literature strongholds: Powell’s Books, Tsunami Books, Books With Pictures and the Book Bin all are locally owned operations by Oregonians.
Powell’s Books is a Portland icon — and online retailer. Find it online at powells.com.
Tsunami Books has been a staple of Eugene for 22 years and boasts “new, used, rare and out-of-print titles at affordable prices”. Visit it at tsunamibooks.org.
The Book Bin is a locally owned and operated business that runs in Corvallis and Salem. The same family has taken care of The Book Bin since 1984. Find its virtual browsing here: bookbin.com.
Trying to make a “uniquely Oregon” fashion statement? Try supporting an up-and-coming designer.
Samonberry Studios is vendor of Eugene’s Holiday Market and longtime Etsy retailer. Check out the hand-drawn and silkscreened apparel for men and women on Etsy here: etsy.com/samonberry
Lost Luck Co. is a home studio set up and run by one woman, Alayna Sibille, bringing a southwest twist on, well, bad luck. Lost Luck Co. was a popular vendor at the 2019 Eugene Holiday Market. Find Sibille online here: lostluck.co.
Pirates and Peonies offers carefully crafted custom orders for babies and kids in sizes premie to five years. Creator Angela Nickerson’s shop features a range of cotton clothing sets including swaddle and headband sets. Find her shop on Etsy here: etsy.com/PiratesandPeonies.
Sonder Pets is offering cute bandanas, doggy waste bags and scrunchies in hip, modern fabric patterns at affordable prices made here at home. Find a treat for your pooch here: etsy.com/SonderPets.
Candles, soaps and cosmetics
Bath and Body Works, Lush Retail, The Body Shop, Yankee Candle and many other retailers offer an overwhelming selection of candles, soaps and other smell-goods, but they’re not the only ones. Consider something handmade this year.
LivingByVO offers customizable eco-friendly soy and cotton wick candles with the option to create your own text label, scent, size and add stones and flowers right out of Eugene. Find LivingByVO on Etsy here: etsy.com/LivingByVO.
Billow Cloud Soaps are handcrafted, small-batch seawater soaps with seasonally foraged botanicals and plastic-free packaging from Yachats. Soapmaker Elizabeth Markham welcomes custom soap inquiries. Request a little piece of the sea on Instagram at @Billow.cloud.soaps.
Topsy Blends is a Eugene-based holistic cosmetics producer — you might have seen owner (and certified aromatherapist) Rachel London at the Holiday Market before, but she’s online, too. Find her and all of her creative blends on Etsy here: etsy.com/TopsyBlends.
With the mix of markets, arts scene and metal-smithing resources around Lane County, there’s always a unique selection. Consider finding a local artist to fill a dreamy commission or explore already made pieces in your favorite style.
Epilith Jewelry uses metal smithing to preserve natural elements such as fern and even a shed of snakeskin to wearable talismans “of our connection to the Earth.” Find creator Katie Boyles online at epilithjewelry.com.
Belle Star Trading Company offers hand beaded jewelry, leather and metal works. Creator Jimmy Gross has been at the Eugene Saturday Market for more than 25 years. Find him online at facebook.com/bellestarrtradingco.
Willamette Artisans is a local collective offering design, repair and appraisal. If you’re thinking about a Christmas proposal, the Willamette Artisans can help. Find them online at willametteartisans.com.
Small gifts and stocking stuffers
A lot of small businesses start and stay at home but have no trouble playing up the passion for arts and crafts. Let your imagination run wild on what to fill stockings with this winter, then find a local business to fill your order.
Liz Creates offers an array of affordable and customizable gifts with shirts, baby accessories and different décor out of Salem. Whether it’s a family portrait or name decal for your fave Starbucks cup, Liz creates it. Find her at facebook.com/lc.lizcreates.
The Altered Artistry brings a satisfying steampunk twist to goods, from jewelry to Christmas decorations, from Beaverton. The maker offers hand-sewn “junk journals,” steampunk nutcrackers, advent calendars and loves custom orders. Find the shop on Etsy at etsy.com/thealteredartistry.
Therapy, a feel-good boutique: Instead of mom-and-pop shop, it’s mom-and-daughter. The two craft and collect home goods with unique tea towels and dog toys, providing a little something for everyone. Find them on Facebook at facebook.com/TherapyAFeelGoodBoutique.
Maybe crafted kitsch is not your style or perhaps it’s difficult to decide what’s best. Gift an experience instead. Consider offering a gift card to the Broadway Metro movie theater, House of Records music store or The Artist’s Palette Studio.
Didn’t see what you’re looking for?
The Give the Gift of Oregon campaign is collaborating with Travel Oregon, the Oregon Wine Board and Built Oregon. TravelOregon is offering gift ideas online at traveloregon.com/giftoforegon. Access special discounts and donation opportunities through the wine board’s Giving Season. Also consider checking out the Built Oregon Marketplace, an online platform to find Oregon Makers.
With more local efforts on small business still, the Eugene Chamber of Commerce is offering a shop local gift guide for Eugene and Springfield.
To find your own Oregon Etsy creators, make a search for the item you’re looking for, then click the magnifying glass icon. Once the search page has yielded results, select “All filters” to search for shops operating in a specific locations.
“We would encourage folks to stay within our county when they’re (trying to) shop local, but we have small, local businesses all over the state that really create one statewide economy that is impacting local Oregonians,” Quick-Warner said.
Contact reporter Dana Sparks at [email protected] or 541-338-2243, and follow her on Twitter @danamsparks and Instagram @danasparksphoto. Want more stories like this? Subscribe to get unlimited access and support local journalism.