Holiday shopping could look quite different this year. Supply chain issues coupled with shipping delays, curbing online shopping a bit, may mean more people will look to local stores to fill their needs.
Some area businesses are anticipating those expectations.
“I put a lot of work into categorizing our online store with gifts by interest,” said Dana Massin, owner of Manic Snail in St. Joseph.
There’s everything from “Sophisticated Tastes” like journals and pens to Sci-Fi, Geek, Activist, Feminist, Artist and Creative. And just about anything in between for organizers and pet lovers. Literally, there’s a book, or product, in our store for just about everybody,” Massin said.
Massin amped up her local store’s online presence during COVID-19 last year and keeps the momentum going into the holidays. She also added a local delivery option last year.
“Local delivery is an option, so it can be delivered to your door, just like Amazon,” Massin said. “Oftentimes, it can be same-day but guaranteed in two days.”
Manic Snail is a reference to snail mail, Massin said.
“We’re a local quirky card shop but offering more than that, gifts for all ages,” she said. “We carry fun stationery and children’s books, humorous socks and towels. It really is a wide variety of options.”
Shoppers can go onto the store’s website and shop with ease. It’s divided by gender or interest.
“It’ll make people’s lives a lot easier when they’re shopping for people,” Massin said. “I’m excited about that and to add another level of helpfulness to the site. We can also give those (shopping) recommendations in-store and provide that same service.”
Excellent customer service and a great atmosphere are experiences a majority of shoppers are ready to get back to.
Terri Modlin with Felix Street Gourmet, like Massin, looks forward to those opportunities.
Felix Street Gourmet, which offers wine, cheese and specialty foods, is a great option for knocking several gifts off your list. Modlin, co-owner of the business, said people can shop in-store or online and have a customized basket of goodies for a gift.
“Men and women are a little different,” she said.
Modlin said there are two ways to gift from Felix Street Gourmet: products or experience.
“People love an experience,” she said. “You can design an intimate wine or whiskey tasting and plan an event for that. Both intimate and a group. A place to ‘party’ as part of your gift.”
The shop offers a variety of options. For a newly 21-year-old, there are cocktail baskets, bottles of bourbon, recipes and all the ingredients for a gift that keeps giving. For a new homeowner, Modlin said there are fun kitchen gifts, including spirits, wins and cooking accessories.
Cocktail books pair well with all the ingredients and accessories to embellish the experience – in one basket.
“The most common (option) is people coming in, shopping, customizing to the person,” Modlin said. “They select items and package them up.”
Felix Street Gourmet can customize any gift and asks 24 hours to have it ready. Modlin adds that the earliest as possible is preferred to ensure the best merchandise is available. Customers can also pay for their gifts in advance and have them prepared closer to Christmas time.
“We have such a variety of cheese and adding in a meat and cracker and then adding a jam, olives and grape vinegars,” Modlin said. “(Grape vinegars) can get pricey, but they last forever.”
Another great option is the ever-popular charcuterie boards, which can be kept as part of the purchase.
Gift baskets range in cost, from $15 and up, the sky’s the limit, Modlin said.
“The more common basket is $30,” she said. “Old-fashioned baskets average about $40. There’s some flexibility in pricing. Customers can come to the store or go through the online store.”
Massin also enjoys customized gift boxes. With just a little information about the recipient, she can put one together. From gift packs for housewarming gifts that include a tea towel, sticky notes and other great pieces to puzzles, glitter pens and coloring books for the artist.
And like the big box stores, many local businesses are open on Black Friday with fun sales.
Small Business Saturday, the Saturday after Thanksgiving Day, is huge for stores like Massin’s.
“We always do flash sales,” she said. “Have fun just like the box boxes are. We do the sales every hour and it’s always kind of fun for customers to participate in that.”