Fresh ideas: Local shop tour unearths many treasures
For the Nevada Appeal
Nov. 26 to Dec. 6 is the eighth annual Buy Local Week.
I decided to invent my own buy-local event so I spent Saturday checking out locally owned retailers.
Why should we care about buying from local businesses? To use a well-worn phrase, it’s the economy, stupid. Studies have shown that dollars spent at local, independent businesses re-circulate in the local community up to three times more, making local holiday shopping an important investment for all towns and cities. In Carson City, many new businesses have been opened by people who have lost their jobs in the lingering recession. Shouldn’t we support our neighbors’ efforts to make a living?
Local business owners are more likely to get involved in community efforts than corporations that own big box stores. This is certainly true of the Greenhouse Garden Center, the first stop on my buy-local tour.
Owner David Ruf is a stalwart supporter of many community efforts. Wouldn’t you rather support a businessperson who gives so much back to the community, rather than a big chain where the chief executive probably couldn’t pick out Carson City on a map?
Another reason to buy local is local flavor. Experiences at local establishments are unique. This was clear at my next stop – Great Basin Gallery. I always enjoy stopping in the gallery to check out artist Jeff Nicholson’s work. On Saturday I spent a long time looking at “Wind, Sand, and Sheet Metal” one of his many canvases depicting the stunning landscape of our Great Basin. They’ve also got a beautiful – and affordable – collection of giclee prints of the Brewery Arts Center-owned works of Lorenzo Latimer. Latimer’s watercolors of the Sierra Nevada are much loved and much collected. Jeff says as far as he knows this is the only giclee collection of Latimer’s works.
My buy-local expedition uncovered three hot spots for local retailers. The Carson Mall holds several, including Home Treasures (check out the firepots) Bellisimo (check out the switchflops) and It’s All About Me (beautiful shawls). On Curry Street, besides Greenhouse and Great Basin Gallery, there’s Comstock Books, where I always find something for my book-collector son, Due Sorella (check out the tablecloths), Purple Avocado and more.
North Carson Street is an evolving local shopping area. I stopped by Up Your Alley and discovered a clothing store any 18-year-old is sure to like.
Next door is Just Brew It, for all your beer making supplies. Further north is A to Zen which holds a little of everything, and Evergreen Gene’s, with a collection of Christmas ornaments from around the world.
I’m sure I missed many local retailers – I urge you to do your own buy-local day and discover them yourselves.
• Anne Macquarie, a private sector urban planner, is a long time resident of Carson City.