By Joseph Pratt
We recently celebrated my wife’s birthday earlier this month. It was the first one I spent with her and I wanted it to be perfect. With it being no secret that my heart belongs to downtown Portsmouth, and the many brick and mortar shops of small businesses, it isn’t hard to guess where I shopped for a gift. I only had a moment of wonder before the clarity of what I needed to get her set in.
I love buying gifts. It is an opportunity to show someone how well you know them by getting them something truly unique. I guess I’m lucky when it comes to gift buying opportunities, because you can’t get much more unique than Boneyfiddle.
I shop in Boneyfiddle as often as I can, but it wasn’t until I finished buying for my wife that I realized just how much small shopping I actually do.
The highlight of my wife’s birthday shopping was a commissioned painting by local artist Charlie Haskins. The piece was my initial gift idea and it turned out being the most perfect thing I’ve ever seen. I couldn’t have done better than trusting Charlie in making my wife’s birthday perfect.
Over the weeks of planning for her party, and getting things ready, I picked up a few other gifts— a sketch book made of recycled materials from Journey Within, a bottle of our favorite wine from the Party Connections, a bag of ethically sourced coffee from Coffee @ the Lofts, and a box of professional chocolates made by Karen Davis at Kakao Konfections.
As I was planning her party, preparing gifts and all that jazz, I realized everything I bought was from local shops and artisans.
Not only that, but the gifts were unique and made with much better quality than if I were to get them elsewhere.
We hear the term shop small all of the time —in advertising, through a national shopping holiday, on stickers in the windows of shops, and more— but what exactly is shopping small and can it be done in Portsmouth?
In my job, I am lucky to meet with many of these small business owners and discuss what they offer.
To me, shopping small is all about supporting the dreams of locals. Small businesses don’t have contracts with large vendors and they don’t have chains to rely on. They are local dreamers with an idea and a hope to grow on that idea. Most importantly, they need local business to stay alive.
Not only does shopping small benefit these local entrepreneurs, but it also opens an entirely new door for products to use in your home. You might pay a little more for some items, but you do get what you pay for.
Sure, I could have grabbed Dove chocolates and my wife would have been happy, but I got Kakao Konfections, which would have caused her to threaten my life if I even considered touching them. They are that good.
The coffee was a great addition to her gift basket, because it has given her a very flavorful and artisan touch to her morning routines before work.
So can you shop small? Yeah, I’d argue you can shop small for many of your household needs, or gifts, and be very satisfied.
Some ideas for shopping small can include soaps, candles, incense, and other like items at Journey Within; chocolates, fudges, and other unique deserts in the Sweet Boutique; most fresh produce can be bought during the right months at various farmers markets; spirits can be purchased from the Portsmouth Brewery or at Party Connection; art can be purchased, or commissioned, by artists such as Charlie Haskins or Julie Buckler.
The opportunities for unique, quality items are endless, just by walking through some of the shops of downtown Portsmouth and the surrounding areas.
Reach Joseph Pratt at 740-353-3101, ext. 1932, or by Twitter @JosephPratt03