10 Ways to Support Local During Winter

Gifting from Local Stores

Got a few gifts to send this winter and spring? Please don’t hit that ‘buy now’ button from Amazon, don’t they have enough of our money? Consider buying your 2021 gifts from a local store where every dollar received could be keeping the lights on. Some places for the vintage lover or a fan for one of a kind items: District Chicago, RR#1, and Art Effect

Need to find something to keep the kids occupied during quarantine? Cat and Mouse offers the option to order ahead, too! As well as an extremely helpful website to navigate the age group for exactly what you’re looking for. 

If you need to shop for a newborn, Monica and Andy sell super soft and uniquely curated clothing for babies and toddlers. They also offer online classes for new and expecting parents as well as classes promoting women’s health. 

Go to Asrai Garden and prepare to find your new favorite place to spend money. Asrai Garden offers a wide range of curated confections, bouquets, and more. Their floral arrangements have literally won awards! Their fine jewelry collection is one of the very few shops in Chicago that carry brands outside of New York and LA. Whether you decide to throw some money down on a loved one or yourself, AG is a good investment for tasteful quality that lasts.


Buy Groceries from a Neighborhood Favorite

If you have the option to buy delicious, local food why not? Gene’s Sausage Shop offers over a variety of 40 different smoked sausage options. As well as handcrafted gift baskets for the holiday season. Join a local co-op, or shop one of your smaller bodega-like shops or bakeries to gather your groceries.


Order Takeout or Delivery

With the meal-heavy holidays behind us, dinner prepping and cooking fatigue is a very real thing. Consider ordering your dinner from a local spot you enjoy. Places such as Handlebar in Wicker Park offer catering that you can place ahead of time. There are also a few apps, like DoorDash that have small fees (or have temporarily frozen their fees) for restaurants, so when you order delivery, you can be sure your funds go directly to the business, not the app. So, order in and relax!  



Now that we’re spending so much time in our homes, you might want to redecorate, setting a fresh new tone for 2021. But think twice before going to a popular furniture website. Dial M for Modern has many hard to find pieces for such a great price,  you’ll feel like you’ve robbed the store. It’s typical to find furniture designs from such greats as Milo Baughman. Or walk down the street to Velvet Goldmine and pursue vintage glassware and other home furnishings.


Find Your Next Zoom Outfit 

In need of a little pick me up with your WFH wardrobe but don’t want to spend with big-box retailers? Milk Handmade has a plethora of items that you won’t feel like you’re suffering from a small selection or a carbon copy of your neighbor. Penelope’s also has a curated selection of pieces perfect to brighten your Zoom screen and your day!



If you have want to do some good for your community, consider giving your time by volunteering with My Block My Hood. There are many events to choose from and it’s free to do a good deed!



Love your local bar’s staff? Worried about how they’re getting through Covid-19 restrictions? They probably have a page dedicated to collecting funds to help keep their business and staff afloat. Do some investigative research and help out those friendly faces you enjoy so much. Not sure where exactly to donate? No problem! Illinois Restaurant Employee Relief Fund has a donation page where funds will be allocated to restaurant staff that are in dire need right now. 

Kimski in Bridgeport has a ‘pay it forward’ meal program. Where when you pay for a meal you have the option to pay for someone else as well who isn’t able to buy a full meal. Kimski’s is fighting food insecurity in a way that offers dignity to those experiencing misfortune.  


Buy Gift Cards

Now might be the best time to buy your loved ones, yourself, or your co-workers a gift card. Consider the shops you know you frequent in-person, but have put off perusing due to being stuck at home. Consider your gift card purchase a future dedicated fund for the stuff you know you’ll buy, while you also supporting a small business right now.



It’s a fact: we all miss going out to live shows! These times are toughest for our country’s music and event venues. It’s imperative that we support the houses and theaters that have so often been our resort from the mundane, the stage where your favorite artist performed for a small crowd, the location where one of the best memories of your life was made. The Metro (love for this venue is only rivaled by that of its owner, Joe Shanahan) has a relief fund set up for their staff as well as an online store to buy posters and other merchandise. Support these venues and artists by buying merchandise directly from their websites and offer them some relief, the way they’ve offered you some in the past.



You might be missing your favorite Chi-town cultural event this year. So it might be the time to consider investing in a membership to places such as The Art Institute of Chicago or the Symphony Center. There are virtual tours still happening at the Art Institute and streaming concerts available on-demand through the Symphony Center’s website. Investing in a member at your local gym, studio, or museum offers a source of reliable income for small businesses when they need it most.


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