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Monday, March 25 , 2019, 11:54 am | A Few Clouds 59º


Judy Foreman: Why Shopping Small Is a Big Deal for Locals Like Me

I love a deal as much as the next shopper, and this time of year is the time to buy. With Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday and nonstop email solicitations, pre-holiday sales and purchase opportunities are hard to pass up.

Of course, Amazon is the biggest player of all, and I’m not above going online to shop. With just a few clicks, I can have vitamins, pet food, nespresso pods, cleaning supplies and pants that don’t fit headed to my door.

But — and it’s a big “but” for me — the online price advantages don’t make up for the lack of personal experience. That’s why I prefer to support and shop in our own local small stores all year long. Let me tell you why.

In addition to the convenience of parking and logistics of getting around, I love and appreciate the business owners and their employees who have the personal touch and service that makes the buying experience fun. And supporting our local economy is important, too.

There are two kinds of shoppers: Those who want to be left alone, and those who enjoy the interaction with the merchants, most of whom live in this community and are the faces of their businesses.

In case you couldn’t guess, I’m in the second category.

Store owners and their staff know what I like, they know how old my kids and their kids are, they share their condolences about my late mom. They know my personal life and often even know whom I’m buying a gift for. I feel cared for and connected.

Admittedly, I love to schmooze it up. So in between browsing, I’m catching up on their lives, too. I like how it feels to know the people in my neighborhood; it was one of the reasons I moved to Santa Barbara almost 30 years ago.

I can buy orchids and ornaments at Botanik; a pair of glasses at Occhiali; a wedding gift at Legacy; an “on-trend” outfit at Blanka, Whistle Club, Whiskey + Leather, Chasens, Bonita or Malia Mills; more formal attire for a trip or black-tie party at Allora, Julianne or Antoinette; a lipstick or fragrance at Cos Bar; an artsy ensemble at Imagine; travel wear at Clare Swan; cozy PJs and lingerie at the Glamour House; cutting-edge sweaters, jeans or blazers at Juniper, Jenni Kayne, Diani or K Frank; nautical memorabilia at Mate Gallery; and stationery at Letter Perfect or the Stationery Collection.

The author is a buyer and a shopper, but she’s happiest when she’s browsing in local stores and not online. Click to view larger
The author is a buyer and a shopper, but she’s happiest when she’s browsing in local stores and not online. (Foreman family photo)

Upstairs at Pierre Lafond offers just about anything your heart desires, from handbags, books, dishes, linens, children’s clothing and toys, while Wendy Foster is loaded with jewelry and fine sportswear.

Cashmere and luxury abound at Maison K, vintage jewelry at Peregrine Galleries, crystals and candles at Lily and even the San Ysidro Pharmacy has a gift section that will let you shop for yourself and the hostess gift you forgot after the best fresh turkey sandwich at the adjoining coffee shop.

If you’re splurging for someone special, Bryant & Sons, Daniel Gibbings, Oliver and Espig, and Silverhorn put the “g” in glam jewels.

Yes, I know it’s easy to sit at my computer and save some time and money online, but in the season of friendship, sharing and caring, I like to get out of the house, shop, and grab a coffee or a bite to eat at our many local eateries, all staffed with other familiar faces I enjoy touching base with while I’m supporting our town’s merchants.

It’s a lot more fun and rewarding for me. That is my idea of holiday thanks and giving.

— Judy Foreman is a Noozhawk columnist and longtime local writer and lifestyles observer. She can be contacted at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.

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