Shocked and saddened. We hear those words a lot lately. But that’s about the best way to describe how I felt when one of my longtime favorite coffee shops in Birmingham, Urban Standard, announced this past June that they were closing for good.
Urban Standard was an essential downtown stop — a place to see and be seen. Everybody went there from the Mayor all the way down to teenagers skipping school. They’d survived a fire, for Pete’s sake. I never dreamed that a few months of a pandemic would be the end for them.
And I felt guilty. Like I didn’t do enough to prop them up during this pandemic. As if my coffee habit alone could have saved them …
While I might not have single-handedly pulled them back from the brink, driving by their now-empty storefront led me to the nineteenth thing lesson I’ve learned in 2020, and that is to not take your local businesses for granted and shop local whenever you can.
That’s why I plan to do as much of my holiday shopping locally as I safely can. And I encourage you to explore your local shopping options whether you do curbside pick-up, shop by appointment, or have your presents mailed from a block down the street. It may be a little more effort and it may cost more, but in the end, the real present will be knowing that we did what we could to help the businesses — our friends really — in our own hometowns.
Here are a few of my favorite locally-owned places to shop:
- The Alabama Peanut Company for roasted and boiled peanuts (the Wickles flavored boiled peanuts are my favorite) plus they have cute caps and shirts
- Seasick Records for new and used records
- Chocolata because who doesn’t love candy
- Lenell’s Beverage Boutique for fancy wine and liquor
- Stone Hollow Farmstead for craft food items, wellness, skincare, and little gifties
- Yellowhammer Print Shop for hand-printed goods like t-shirts, tea towels, and posters
- Charm on 2nd for vintage jewelry and all sorts of fun things
- Club Duquette for clothing, accessories, and an all around cool vibe
- Thank You Books for … well … books
- Urban Suburban for antiques
- Shoppe for plants, gardening supplies, and cute home goods and what-nots
- BDA Farms because nothing says I love you like a box of assorted grass-fed meats
Check back because I might have left someone out. If I did, I’ll add them in. And share your favorite local spots in the comments below so we can help support them too!
(This year for #BlogLikeCrazy, I’m talking about 30 lessons I’ve learned in 2020. Read the other entries here).