By Faye Andris
It’s that time of the year. When the temperature drops and the holiday lights go up, we start to think of hot chocolate, candy canes, and holiday shopping. The three Saturdays in December are some of the busiest shopping days of the year. It is a great opportunity for small businesses to capture some of these shopping dollars and reach out to new customers.
Shoppers in the U.S. spend on average $900 per person on Christmas gifts, with the largest part of the holiday spending used for gifts for the family. This was up from $885 per person last year with total spending at over one trillion dollars.
This year our small businesses have really done a great job at offering special deals and unique items to shoppers for all those special people on their list. The shopping experiences just keep getting better and better each year. Come visit some of our small businesses like The Olive Bin which features the largest and freshest selection of single varietal extra virgin olive oil and aged balsamic vinegars on tap in Bloomington–Normal. Every guest receives a personal tasting experience that includes bread, ice Cream (for the balsamic) and a blood orange brownie. Stop in to the Olive Bin and discover the varieties of products they have to offer. You will not be disappointed.
For another small business shopping experience head over to Ohm Fit Active Wear. A mobile boutique specializing in quality women’s fitness and leisure wear. Check out all the new, fresh and fun fitness apparel at the shop in uptown Normal. For extra personalized service, Ohm Fit is happy to provide private in-home or office appointments.
Bloomington Normal has many small businesses that offer unique products. This is one of my favorites. Touchstone Storytelling began in 2015 to help others to express themselves through their memoirs. Writing a memoir is not only a wonderful time of reflection, but a lasting gift for your family and future generations. What a wonderful gift for that person on your list that has everything.
Lasting memories have always been made with toys and games. This holiday season will be no different. Stop by The School Shop—they provide toys, games and educational resources to parents and educators in our community. They will also provide you with a fun shopping experience.
Games are one of my favorite gifts to receive. One of my all-time favorites is Sorry, which my family enjoys playing year around. If you are looking for a game for your family this holiday season, head on over to Red Raccoons Games. It is one of Illinois’ largest board game stores. It has over 1,500 games in stock ranging from board games, card games, children’s games, miniature games, and many more. You are sure to find gifts for everyone on your list.
This is just a few of many small businesses that Bloomington–Normal has to offer. You will find your favorites that not only provide a service for you at holiday time but all year around. Some of those for me would include Sole Savers Shoe Store. They specialize in top of the line foot wear. So if you are looking for comfy house slippers or some shoes for someone on your list, then I would suggest this might be a small business to check out. It is a shop where style meets comfort and you are always greeted with a smile.
Another small business for me would be Penn Landscaping and Sunburst Nursery. They have been a part of our community for over 30 years serving the area with all types of landscaping needs. This year they have added an engraving studio at their corporate office for your gifting needs. A great place to shop and personalize your item for anniversaries, showers, weddings, and holidays. They are great to work with and the prices are so affordable. Stop out and see all the great items they have to offer.
Escape from your daily routine and treat yourself to a relaxing nail care service over the holidays from Normal’s Mani Pedi & More. This small business offers gift certificates for those on your shopping list. They have great parking, always affordable pricing and a friendly welcoming atmosphere.
Last but certainly not least is The Garlic Press, in uptown Normal. They have been providing unique and distinctive products to central Illinois since they opened their doors over 40 years ago. It is definitely a small business you will want to visit over the holiday season.
There are so many wonderful small businesses in Bloomington–Normal and the surrounding communities. I have just given you a few examples.
Let’s support our small businesses this holiday season and remember how these businesses help impact our communities. Let us show them our appreciation by shopping their businesses all year long.