shop local this holiday season (and maybe shop for free, too)

Inspired by the lovely Amelia, I’ve been trying to buy as many of my Christmas gifts within the 216 as I can this season. Now, I won’t be able to buy every last one locally, but a decent amount. It’s a good challenge. Not just now – but always. I go out of my way to eat local (dining out and dining in) and will always support the mom and pop shop over a chain any day. I get a better product for my money and am keeping my dollars in our community. It’s a beautiful thing.

If you’re free this weekend, check out Bazaar Bizarre. I’ve never been, but have heard a lot of good things about past events. It’s an indie craft fair (think Etsy) with all sorts of goodies – for the people on your list, as well as yourself.

There are so many wonderful shops throughout Cleveland, many of which I still need to get to. Here are some of those shops that I like to frequent and always come home with fun finds.

Offspring. Amy has the cutest collection of baby and toddler finds. Natalie is the envy of all her friends with her seriously cute bibs, socks, tees and her first pair of Mary Jane’s (best diaper bags, too),

After visiting with Amy, head up the street to Stash Style. A fun boutique with lots of trendy finds, vintage items and Parisan-inspired goods. We found  a great mirror for the nursery, birthday gift for my teenage niece and various items for myself.

I have a lot of nieces and nephews. A lot. Toys, crafts, books – you name and I’ve bought it for them, most of which has come from Playmatters. Great staff  – they’ll help you find the perfect gift for the kids in your life.

I heart Tremont for many (obvious) reasons. But also because of Banyan Tree. I first discovered this store 6 or so years ago and have loved it since. I always find something there – always. Purses, jewelry, sunglasses, baby items (awesome baby goods), clothes, housewarming gifts – you name it. Just a great store. Period. Speaking of purses (my personal obsession), check out Pinky’s Daily Planner, too.

Another one of my favorite stores is Room Service. Danielle is just great – really great. And she’s a friend. I love her taste, her commitment to the city and just about everything in her store. Be sure to check out DueHome next door, as well.

A more recent discover is Powder Room. Make up, bath and body goodies plus facials. Some of the items I do think are more versus comparable places, but it’s a total girly girl shop and they get me every time.

Two areas I always have fun shopping (window or for real) are Coventry and Little Italy. Coventry itself is filled with lots of eclectic shops and quirky finds. I love this street and still miss living there. As for Little Italy, Murray Hill School House is a must-see, plus all the other galleries and specialty shops that line the streets.

Tees on the list? CLE Clothing Co is an easy favorite. Really great Cleveland-pride shirts. And a newer kid on the block is Stove Monkeys  from chef Matt Mytro. He’s offering free shipping and most chef-inspired shirts are just $20.

As you prepare your holiday feast, consider Mr. Brisket – because he’s good and is doing good. They are doing something unique to support troops in Afghanistan: salamis to the troops! Inspired by the son of a customer who is serving, Mr. Brisket is sending salamis plus Stadium Mustard. And for just $20, we can send some, too. Love this idea.

Interested in a shopping spree? I admit, when it comes to my wardrobe I’m pretty partial to J. Crew and Banana Republic. Obviously, not local (I never claimed to be perfect). I had the opportunity tonight to shop at Next at Beachwood Place, a locally owned store with another location on Coventry. It was my first trip and I was surprised that it wasn’t what I perceived it to be (it’s changed from its urban wear days). Contemporary street clothes, yes – but several items I’d wear (a lot actually, and great jewelry, tees and boots, too). And a lot of brands not carried elsewhere in town. I was also surprised by how reasonable most items were – not my perception going in. Want to see for yourself? Next gave me a $200 gift card to giveaway to one lucky reader. And for everyone else, how about 20% off the rest of the month? Just mention Cleveland Foodie. The winner will be randomly chose on Dec 18. You can enter as much as you’d like, and the more you enter, the more chances you have to win. Just leave a comment – any comment – or enter via Twitter, just be sure to include a link to this post and #shoplocalinCLE to be counted.

And finally, don’t forget your local restaurants. When in doubt, a gift certificate for dinner out always makes a great gift (in lieu of gifts, my siblings and I are planning a dinner out for us all to The Greenhouse Tavern in January).

I hope everyone is enjoying the holiday season, whatever you celebrate. There’s nothing like it. And if you still haven’t put up your tree, consider Whispering Pines Tree Farm in Middlefield. We’ve been going there for the past 4 yrs and this Griswold-esque tradition gets better each year.


  1. Posted December 10, 2009 at 10:51 pm | Permalink

    Here’s a great local shopping idea, based in North Royalton:

    They have a kiosk set up through the Holidays at Great Northern Mall, near Macy’s.

  2. Posted December 10, 2009 at 11:08 pm | Permalink

    I’d love a shopping spree! I went to some of the stores mentioned in Tremont and Gordon Square last weekend but I wasn’t feeling Christmas-y yet. I’m going to try Bazaar Bizarre this weekend and maybe it will click.

    P.S. Love The Greenhouse.

  3. Posted December 10, 2009 at 11:42 pm | Permalink

    I think the best gift you can get someone is a gift card to a restaurant they have never tried, its something that you can really enjoy.

  4. Posted December 11, 2009 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    Love Next! Walked in with my daughter last weekend while they had a “Buy one jacket, get the second for a penny” promo going on. The service was excellent and both Mom and daughter walked out looking stylish and happy.

    YES to Banyan Tree and Room Service.

  5. kakaty
    Posted December 11, 2009 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    Mmmmm…I always thought I was way too old (at 32) and not urban enough for Next. Now, I’ll have to check out out! We did our shopping at Bazaar Bizarre, CLE Clothing Co, Playmatters and Joseph Beth (I know, not really “local” but regional and independent).

  6. Posted December 11, 2009 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    I’ve always liked Next as well.

    There was another local-owned store in Beachwood place (upstairs), that I wish I remembered the name of, and was owned by a really sweet Asian woman. Anyway, I wonder if she’s still there — always had cute, trendy, different things, and I shopped there a lot when I lived on the east side.

  7. Maureen
    Posted December 11, 2009 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    I went to high school with Amy from Offspring! I’m glad to see things are going so well for her! And I’d LOVE a shopping spree!

  8. Rosemarie
    Posted December 11, 2009 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    I’m going to the Holiday Bazarre this weekend, I’m trying to do as much local shopping as I can! A shopping spree would make that much easier!!

  9. Kristy
    Posted December 11, 2009 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

    Would LOVE to shop for free, almost as much as I love Banyan Tree, The Greenhouse Tavern, and all other things Cleveland.

    Thanks for the great suggestions!

  10. Posted December 11, 2009 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

    Love the Powder Room. Remember Lush Boutique? Also a local fav – I wonder what those girls are up to now?

  11. Posted December 11, 2009 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

    i approve of this post michelle.

    i’m also looking forward to dinner on monday!

  12. Dani
    Posted December 11, 2009 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

    Great blog. I want the $200 shopping spree! #shoplocalinCLE thanks for the info! I’ll be reading more.

  13. Jen23
    Posted December 11, 2009 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

    Next is still very Urban and they mark everything up so much that is why they are always having sales. Most brands in there can be found in other local boutiques, they are known for scouting stores and stealing brands. Also for the reader above, Lush closed because they owed like 30K in backed taxes. I guess they never paid there sales or employee taxes. I hear the one works at Boneyard and the the other at a bar on the west side.

  14. Posted December 12, 2009 at 12:16 am | Permalink

    I’d love to win this as a gift for my wife!

  15. Hallee
    Posted December 12, 2009 at 8:33 am | Permalink

    As a mother of 3 I could desperately use a shopping spree!! And I am headed to Once Upon A Time in Rocky River to do my local shopping today.

  16. Keri
    Posted December 12, 2009 at 10:10 pm | Permalink

    Great post. I never thought of Next as a shop for me. I’ll definitely have to give it a chance.

  17. Debra
    Posted December 13, 2009 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

    I used to live right between Coventry and Little Italy! I haven’t had a chance to go back shopping out that far in a while, and I’d love a gift card… it’d be the perfect excuse to go back there! :D

  18. Posted December 14, 2009 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    No limit on entries? Come on random number selector – mama’s got a teenager to clothe!

  19. Allison S.
    Posted December 14, 2009 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    I heart shopping locally! My favs this weekend were Bazaar Bizarre, Room Service and Heritage Farms in Peninsula for our tree!

  20. Rob F
    Posted December 14, 2009 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    Count me in for a chance at a shopping spree!

  21. AM
    Posted December 14, 2009 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

    shopping spree? Awesome!

  22. Eran W.
    Posted December 15, 2009 at 12:11 am | Permalink

    I’m heading to Stash for a jewelry party on Thursday night! First time and I’m looking forward to it! Thanks for the recos.

  23. Ted
    Posted December 17, 2009 at 12:34 am | Permalink

    Great post! I just recently discovered Room Service and the Gordon Square area on the west side. I love finding new places to go in Cleveland!

  24. Aaron M
    Posted December 18, 2009 at 8:37 am | Permalink

    NEXT is a great store for sneakers and graphic tees. Best boutique in the city!

  25. Michelle V
    Posted December 18, 2009 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    Congratulations, Stacy! Via, you’re the winner. E-mail me your address for the $200 gift certificate. Enjoy!

  26. Posted January 2, 2010 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

    Great post! I don’t know how I didn’t catch it before, as I read your blog frequently.

    Bazaar Bizarre was a blast. Also don’t forget to check out Cleveland Handmade to connect up with lots of local Cleveland Artists and Craftspeople in one place!

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