Shop Small this Holiday Season

 “You get to know the people you’re giving your money to, and also the money stays in the community. We pay our local workers, and they in turn will spend their money at your restaurant, or your shop. It cycles around and stays local, compared to going on and sending your money to who-knows-where,” says Bill Bixby, owner of Ganesh Imports.

  Shopping at local businesses has a large amount of benefits. When shopping local, you’re supporting small companies, which in turn helps real everyday families. When you shop at worldwide franchises, your money is going towards bosses, CEOs, and managers you have never met before. Wouldn’t you rather give your money to that loving family down the street than the company you know nothing about? Shopping small gives you as a shopper a real, genuine relationship with the people you’re giving your money to. To help you find the perfect holiday gift, MOR has put together this guide to local shopping featuring some of the greatest local shops on the seacoast.

Good Juju by Ceci  

Photo By Ceci Crosbie Villaseca

  Good Juju By Ceci located in Newmarket sells many different types of handcrafted gifts. They sell jewelry, paints, soaps, and more! “[Good Juju] was started as a place for local artists to sell their goods,” says Ceci Villaseca Crosbie, owner of Good Juju. The store holds art from over 55 local artists.

  “Since Good Juju is a smaller business, I can add my own little spice to it,” adds Villaseca. When running a smaller business, an owner doesn’t have to worry as much about keeping everything the same and “cookie cutter” like a big franchise would.

  “There’s so many advantages to shopping local but I think one of the biggest is when you buy something from a small store, that’s the backbone of that town, community, and even the economy. You’re supporting and keeping businesses running for the long term,” says Villaseca. When a customer chooses to spend their money in a small store, the money is put to good use. The customer can see exactly where their money is going.

  This season, Good Juju has been scheduling many workshops where they do project based activities in store. “Come make some gifts yourself that you can even give away!” Good Juju is known for having very unique gifts that you won’t find everywhere. “[Good Juju] is a place where even if you come two days in a row you’ll find something new. Things are constantly shifting and expanding. It’s one of a kind, compared to ten of the same,” says Villaseca. “I open the doors here and I smile. I love this place.”

The Candy Bar

  The Candy Bar is a local candy store located in downtown Durham that has delicious candies from all over the world. “Both me and my employees are very knowledgable about our products, so if someone has a specific question, we are able to provide the answer,” says Chris Guerrette, owner of The Candy Bar. “One time someone had a very specific question about my truffles. I texted the owner of the company, who’s a friend of mine, and I got a response back within two minutes. At a big store, you’re


not going to get that level of service.”

  The Candy Bar has an enormous amount of both American and European candies and chocolates for this holiday season. The shop will also be having baked goods this season which will be a new addition for them. “For Thanksgiving, one of our most popular things is our Turkey Caramel Apple. People can place pre-orders for these,” adds Guerrette. The store will also be offering Christmas Tins that are filled with chocolates, pretzels, and more.

  Guerette loves getting to interact with all his customers. “My favorite part is how I get to share stuff with people that come in. I always have many different things to sample and give out. I love sharing my love of candy with new people,” says Guerette. “Kids come in and I feel like Willy Wonka.”

                                  Photo by Chris Gurette.

Ganesh Imports

Photo by Ganesh Imports

  Ganesh Imports is a small, local franchise that started in Newburyport. They have three  stores located in Portsmouth, Exeter, and Newburyport. Ganesh sells clothing, jewelry, and accesories from all over the world. The store was started almost 30 years ago by Bixby. “I started Ganesh because when I got out of college I took a trip around the world, trying to figure out what to do with my life. I didn’t really figure it out, so I justified that by starting a business!” says Bixby. For him, the idea of Ganesh started out more as an excuse to travel, which then turned into a real business.

  “Being a small business gives us the ability to react to what our customers really want. We get a personal reaction, where a big business is trying to cater to everybody. We’re small enough that we can adapt a little more quickly,” adds Bixby. Ganesh is very unique because they travel around the world collecting clothes, jewelry, and other items from countries all over.

  Ganesh is working hard this season to “ramp up” their products. “[We have] a lot of the things customers have always come to expect, but we’ve tried to ramp it up a little more. It should be a fun season,” says Bixby. Ganesh is constantly changing and evolving the products they keep in store, which keeps their inventory fresh and trendy all the time.

  “My customers are great. We have such a cool mix of people that come in. I’ve been so fortunate. I’ve created such a fun business where I can meet new people and also travel,” adds Bixby.

The Main Street Makery

Photo by Main Street Makery

  The Main Street Makery is a local craft shop located in downtown Durham, very close to The Candy Bar! The Makery was started by two women, Wendy Brooks and Sarah Grandy. These two women have a shared passion for making things and wanted to create a place to bring the community together where local artists can sell their work.

  “With a small business, you get people that actually care about what they’re doing. We have four employees that I think all really care about the store. They care about the merchandise and they’re all crafters themselves. In a big franchise, really no one cares. A lot of the time, even the managers don’t care when there’s a complaint,” says Brooks. “When you shop at our store, you get very interesting, unique items. About half of our items aren’t locally made, they are wholesale, but we choose every product carefully. We care a lot about what’s in this store.”

  On November 26, many local seacoast towns will be holding a “shop small” event just in time for holiday shopping. At Small Business Saturday, many local businesses will be having sales and coupons going on in their stores. Go out and support your small businesses and stack up on all your holiday gifts!

  As this holiday season approaches and your list of “gifts to buy” grows, consider shopping local. Whether you need clothes, candy, or jewelry, your local shops have it all. The best part is, you never know what you’ll find. Smaller businesses are great in that they always have new and exciting things, some of them even homemade. So when you’re trying to decide where to buy your gifts this year, don’t forget about all the amazing shops right in your hometown.

Written by Skylar Hamilton