Want to support local business for the holidays? Eight Eastern CT places to get your gifts
It’s the holiday season now, and that means shopping for the loved ones.
While big box shopping is easier, checking out small businesses can reward you with something truly unique. Conversely, you might be someone who wants to see what little shops are available in the community. We’ve got a list of locally-owned shops in Griswold, Killingly, Norwich and Plainfield to consider, from used books to street fashion, from home décor to gift stores.
Here are eight local stores and shopping fairs to help you find something nearby. Making sure you get all your shopping done in time is still your responsibility.
Located at 131 Norwich Road in Plainfield, Enchanted Jewelry is a jewelry store in an old home, which owner Jill Keith says is meant to give the customer a more relaxed atmosphere. The store sells bracelets, earrings, and other standard jewelry items, an in-house brand of engagement rings, and also services watches. Prices range from $10 for toe rings and silver bracelets, to items around $2,000. This includes hundreds of items in the $100 range.
As well, the store will give a bonus gift for purchases of $300 or more until Dec. 3.
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Two years out from the pandemic, more people are still shopping local, Keith said, and despite the challenge of the pandemic, Enchanted Jewelry was able to stay open.
“With every purchase, they are truly helping businesses stay in business," she said, of customers. “So many businesses did not survive the challenges of being closed.”
The jewelry shop hadn’t been open on a Saturday for the past two years due to staffing issues, so Keith said she is excited to be open for Small Business Saturday.
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Whether you’re looking for records and Pop Vinyl figures, to trading cards and sports memorabilia, CH2 Collectibles in the Slater Mall in Griswold has the variety you’re looking for. Price points include over a thousand comics for a dollar. Some of the trading cards are as cheap as a nickel and go up from there. On the higher end, there’s a Star Wars Mandalorian helmet for $150, and an original Pokemon TCG Fossil pack for $250.
Co-owner Chris Hebert said there are plenty of sales for Black Friday and Small Business Saturday, including discounts on comics and records.
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“It’s our make it or break it time of year for us,” he said.
Hebert said the importance of shopping local means you’re not buying from a corporation, but supporting a family operation.
“With the economy looking a little stranger than the past, it's an important time to look at a small business to purchase some things,” he said. “It’s going to get harder for businesses like myself where it's disposable income stuff.”
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This gallery and gift store on 38 Wescott Road in Danielson features consignments from other artists and artisans. This can range from paintings and pottery to wood and metal sculpture. There are also small items like soap, candles, books, textiles and more. The art features varieties of landscapes, animals and local scenery. Prices range a few dollars for an ornament, or up to $1,500 for one of the paintings.
Local business relies on local customers, owner Lynn Herklots said, adding that she has a loyal customer community.
“I’ve been here nine years now, and they come every year, Christmas especially,” she said. “You got to shop local, you got to support local artists.”
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To mark Small Business Saturday, the Greater Norwich Area Chamber of Commerce is holding its annual Holiday Bazaar Saturday, Nov. 26 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Norwich Holiday Inn at 10 Laura Boulevard. The free admission event features more than 70 local crafters and artisans. Alongside the shopping, there will be complimentary hot chocolate and photos with Santa Claus.
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For this year, there’s already been a lot of holiday shopping activity, as the business changed to its holiday line-up two weeks ago, Brunet said.
Also located on Main Street in Danielson, where the Trink-et Shoppe once was, Pourings and Passages is a non-profit used bookstore that benefits the St. James School, a pre-k through eighth grade Catholic school. The shop features many books, movies and a variety of music and handmade jewelry and gifts. The books, screened for their condition, generally cost between $0.50 and $5.00. New books from local authors will cost the list price. CDs are $1 and DVDs are $2.
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Owner Jim Weigel said he wants to make the place a friendly environment, being bright and colorful instead of dark and dingy.
For small business Saturday, there will be a book signing by Patricia Langer, reading her book “The Ordinary Miracle of a Purple Balloon." While it’s a picture book, Weigel says it’s a story for all ages.
In the heart of Norwich is a small store called Main Plug. It’s hard to miss, being square in the middle of the roundabout, featuring emojis on the outside. The store itself features streetwear from brands including the Anti-Social Social Club, the Billionaire Boys Club, and A Bathing Ape, along with a selection of Nike sneakers, and other unique items. The store is open on Black Friday, but is otherwise open by appointment only, contacting the store through Instagram.
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A sister business to owner Amy Brunet’s realty office, Brunet Home Design, Décor and Gifts is located at 181 Main St. in Danielson. The store features home décor, bedding, rugs, candles and handmade items. Prices vary, from $15 candles hand-poured in Canterbury, to custom decorative signs ranging from $20 to $40, and holiday decorations like wreaths under $40.
Located on Pleasant Street in Norwich, Small Potatoes has a variety of crafty gifts for everyone on your list, from toys and signs, to jewelry, local syrups and honey, and more. It emphasizes selling the works of local crafters and artisans.
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