Staying local in a global market

By Melanie Yingst

Ah, good ol’ Thanksgiving weekend, when stores go all out to attract shoppers. About 69 percent of Americans — or 164 million people — intend to shop at some point during the five-day period from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday, according to a survey released by the National Retail Federation.

I won’t be there in body, but I’ll be there in spirit.

This year, I’m opting to stay home and far, far away from the Wednesday through Friday “Black Friday” Deal madness. I did it once. That was enough for me.

But I do admit, I love a good deal. I subscribe to all the online deal subscription services like Brad’s Deals. I don’t know who Brad is personally, but he has saved me a lot of money over the years. My heart does palpitate a bit when I know I can score a huge discount.

Yet, my 13-year-old is becoming hard to shop for and so now I’m headed to the era of funding “experiences” instead.

The other day I asked Evan who’d he liked to see in concert someday and he answered with country music star Blake Shelton. He’s one of my favorites, too, and “The Voice” star happened to be on tour next spring in Columbus.

Except I hate going to Columbus and parking and paying a fortune for not great seats to a show. I felt bad, but there was no way I was dropping $300 on nosebleeds.

Thankfully, my favorite local venue saved the day.

Last week, I scored tickets to see the new country music singer Luke Combs at Hobart Arena in February. Thankfully, I was able to grab seats for this close-to-sold-out show on its very first couple days on sale. Every time his latest hit “When It Rains, It Pours” comes on the radio, Evan has me turn it up.

I think it’s more fun to see smaller acts in a smaller arena anyway. I’m looking forward to it already.

So in keeping with the shop small, shop local theme, I hope you’ll join me and avoid the big box stores this weekend.

In honor of Small Town Saturday and to help support all the local boutiques and stores around Miami County, I thought I’d share a few of my favorites here in Miami County with y’all:

• Kid’s Stuff: Check out Tipp City’s famous Cairn’s Toys. My son is way too old for most of this store’s selection, but there’s something about a classic toy store that screams Christmas! They have a wide variety of games along with stuffed animals and play sets. Every time I go in there, my mother retells the story of buying my oldest sister her Breyer horses (the store is a dealer). Those horses would have been worth a small fortune today had my sister and I not abused them to play “veterinarian” in our youth. Ah, memories.

• Troy’s Samozrejme. I haven’t met anyone who can properly pronounce the store name, but everyone I talk to knows which store I’m talking about. It’s a really unique store and perfect for those who have young toddlers or infants. There are some really unique items and they have eco-friendly options if you are into that vibe.

• Clothes and such: My faves include Merchant 31 and That Place on Main in Tipp City. In Troy, I’m a fan of Ark and Echo, Blue Bow Boutique and Troy Sports Center for my Viking hoodies. Also, check out Wright on High in Covington for sportswear and custom T-shirts and just fun stuff from the all over the community.

• Gifts, trinkets and doo-dads: OK, what I mean is really those unique finds that you can’t find anywhere else. David Fair on the Square has a few pieces I’ve been eyeing forever in the windows (wait, this isn’t about what I want), and 3 Weird Sisters has treasures you never knew you were looking for in downtown Troy. Apple Tree Gallery and Readmore’s Hallmark store in Piqua has all those classic favorites. Hapinstance Designs and Living Simply Soap are my picks for Tipp City shopping excursions.

And for that really hard-to-buy-for person, pick your favorite local restaurant to grab a gift certificate or stop by any of the Winan’s locations and grab chocolate or coffee. If none of the above options will work, I’d take a good hard look at your friendship over a steaming cup of espresso.

The thrill is in the hunt! Let me know where your favorite smalltown shop is located by emailing me at Let the holiday (madness) festivities begin!

By Melanie Yingst

“Twin” Melanie Yingst appears weekly in the Troy Daily News.

“Twin” Melanie Yingst appears weekly in the Troy Daily News.