|Dress (Enza's Boutique in downtown Indianapolis); Cloche (Marigold Clothing in Broadripple); Necklace (local jewelry designer Yaprak Gut); Watch (Fossil); Bag (Brahmin); Shoes (Irregular Choice)|
I'm also a big fan of "shopping local." I can't deny I enjoy department store and on-line shopping, but locally-owned, independent businesses are far more likely to carry unique pieces that suit my desire to dress as an individual regardless of what society says is the "must have" style of the season. (That's why you'll never see me in skinny jeans, Uggs, or sweat pants with the name of a pastel color emblazoned across my derriere, no matter how pervasive they are in popular culture.)
|For colder weather and slicker sidewalks, I'll switch out the shoes for teal suede boots|
I also like to shop local when I'm away from home, whether I'm in Bedford for beans and cornbread with family (I can't resist a stop at local boutique, Pretty Woman), or traveling to some more exotic locale. On vacation, in particular, seeking out independent shops provides an opportunity to find special souvenirs indigenous to the local community. Likewise, if you're visiting friends in a distant city, gifts from your hometown that can't be found anywhere else will always delight.
Unique selection aside, shopping local provides myriad other benefits to the community. For example, did you know that every dollar you spend at an independently owned store returns three times more money to the local economy than one spent at a chain? According to research compiled by the American Independent Business Alliance, local businesses also invest more in their immediate communities and are proportionately more generous in their support of local charities, schools and community events. If you're environmentally conscious, it's also worth noting that local shops often stock a higher percentage of locally sourced goods, which means cross-country (and world) transportation needs are reduced, resulting in a smaller, greener global footprint.
On a selfish note, frequenting small businesses also results in a more personal shopping experience. When I visit Marigold in Broadripple, where I found this great cloche, the long-time staff know me on sight and stopping by feels like a visit with old friends. In a similar vein, every time I set foot in Enza's Boutique downtown, I feel like I'm visiting family, and I look forward to catching up with Enza herself, as well as daughter Lisa and son Tony. They also go out of their way to recognize items that reflect my personal style and it's not uncommon to stop in on a whim only to discover Tony has held a garment in reserve just for me. As a matter of fact, he ordered this plaid dress specifically with me in mind. The fact that he'd done so was a great surprise, but I wasn't a bit surprised that he was right on target with both my taste and my size! This is the sort of customer service you're just not as likely to find at a chain store.
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