On scene: Buy locally – by default | SteamboatToday.com

On scene: Buy locally – by default

Blythe Terrell

Buying locally – by default

I hear a lot of chatter about what this little town lacks.

We don’t have a Target. We don’t have a shopping mall. We don’t have discount shoe stores. At first, I thought the limited retail scene would make my Christmas shopping a challenge.

And then I remembered how much I dislike shopping. I don’t like going to Target, I don’t like going to shopping malls, and I hate buying shoes. So where did that leave me? I could shop online, but the foresight required to check someone’s Amazon.com wish list is too much to ask of a lifelong procrastinator.

I could make gifts for people, but I can’t sew, knit, paint, draw or staple two sheets of paper together straight. And again, there’s the time issue.

So when I started thinking about Christmas gift buying, which, according to my calculations, was at about 6 p.m. Monday, I realized I had approximately one option: Lincoln Avenue.

I headed for the snowy sidewalks, traipsing from store to store on and around the main drag. At many of them, I ran into people I knew. The fabulous gal who rang me up at Off the Beaten Path is on my dodgeball team. The fellow customer with the toothy smile at Epilogue is a frequent source in my newspaper articles. The wine expert at Pioneer Spirits felt like a friend by the time I shook his hand goodbye.

Last year, when I did my holiday shopping in Austin, Texas, I dropped my debit card on counters at Best Buy, Target and funky boutiques around town. Everyone was kind, but I was nameless. I had more money to spend, but I had less invested in the places I spent it.

This year, for the first time in memory, I enjoyed my Christmas shopping. I felt a sense of community, and I felt good about spending my hard-earned cash in Steamboat Springs at places that pay my friends’ wages. I wished a merry Christmas to strangers, knowing that if I stick around for a while, I’ll probably rub elbows with them again.

Not only was the experience a treat, I also got some good stuff out of the deal. I think my family and friends will be happy with the Steamboat flavor of my finds.

I’m already looking forward to next year’s foray.

– Blythe Terrell

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