As we enter the holiday season amid forecasts of supply-chain disruptions resulting in bare store shelves, this may be the ideal year for shopping small and supporting locally owned businesses.

Unlike last year, spent by many mainly clad in pajamas and in front of computer screens, we can actually visit stores in person this year thanks to COVID-19 vaccinations and face masks. And, we can talk with the owners and see the products we’re buying in person.

Sure, you could take the easy route and order Amazon gifts again, but getting out in downtown Waunakee has plenty of appeal, with places for lunch or dinner and maybe a locally brewed beer or a glass of wine. But you will have to put on pants.

Fortunately, Waunakee has plenty of locally owned gift shops. My holiday shopping usually starts at the Friends of the Waunakee Public Library’s craft fair, where each gift I buy supports the smallest of the small-business owners, along with the library.

Then it’s Small Business Saturday, right after Black Friday. That’s an opportune time to check out gift options for sale right in your hometown.

I’ve found gift certificates, say for steaks or frozen custard, are excellent stocking stuffers from Waunakee-owned businesses. Along Main Street now are plenty of boutiques where some of the goods are produced by locally owned artisans, so dollars spent at those shops do more for the local economy. Those shops themselves add vibrancy to the downtown and so deserve support. They also employ local people who also then spend dollars in the Waunakee community.

The whole supply-chain conundrum may have an upside. We may return to a time when holiday gifts are a surprise rather than a fulfilled wish-list. And it may be the ideal time to connect with our community’s business owners again.

Recommended for you