It is a topic about which I have written previously. And that is to shop and buy local, not only during the holidays, but year round. Now, we come to that time of the year where that idea becomes more prominent.
Many of you I know already have taken advantage of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but for the rest of this season, think about shifting more of your spending to the diverse array of local shops and makers right in our neighborhoods and cities.
Shopping local is one of the most direct ways we can strengthen our communities and lift up neighbors who have invested in our state. Just look at the types of fun craft stores, specialty shops and anyplace that carries Made-in-Oklahoma products, along with locally owned restaurants, boutiques and special attractions speckled across Oklahoma, from the Bricktown area in OKC to the Tulsa Arts District. Beyond the economic benefits, you are sure to find creative gifts and ambiance you won’t get from sitting at home and only ordering from massive e-commerce sites.
Research shows dollars you spend at independent local merchants generate over three times the income and jobs in Oklahoma compared to national chains. This extra recirculating cash in the community also leads to more reinvestment in neighborhood improvement programs that better our state.
I have had the privilege of doing stories on numerous locally owned shops and stores across the state for about 15 years. They carry, and many times create, their own wonderful, unique and creative products. I wish I could name everyone single one of those places right here. You can find quite a few of them on Travelok.com, and at www.madeinoklahoma.net you also can find producers, retailers and gift baskets, and you can shop online there. If you click on “shop,” you can look at Home Goods, Food and Drink and much more.
Recently, I was stopped and asked where is a fast and easy place to shop, especially when it comes to last-minute gifts. The first places that came to mind are the various Travel Information Centers across the state. We’ve done stories on the ones inside the state Capitol, and two others at NE 122 and Interstate 35 and in Midwest City. You can find a fun assortment of gifts from which to choose.
Oklahoma is filled with talented entrepreneurs, chefs, designers, crafters, artists and performers worthy of patronage. Before visiting the mall or clicking “buy” on autopilot, cruise main streets to uncover special boutiques, stores and shops and consider attending more local markets, fairs and entertainment offering quality goods and memorable nights out.
The time is now to display community loyalty that nourishes the eclectic small ventures that help Oklahoma thrive! This holiday season and throughout every single year, going local first means a better 2023 and 2024 for localism statewide.
Dino Lalli is the host and one of the feature reporters for the weekly television travel show “Discover Oklahoma.”