Thursday, December 13, 2007

Shopping locally in Chelsea - my favorite holiday topic!

In today's Chelsea Standard, I was very pleased to see a note from the editor encouraging people to shop locally for the holidays.
This is a concept I have been promoting since 2005 on the Things To Do In Chelsea website. I think we can do a lot better than buying 'one present from a local merchant', but point taken, it is a good place to start.

Local Toy Stores
Much as I'd love to buy handmade and locally produced items for all my gift giving, you just can't get around the fact that kids are going want toys from Nintendo, Hasbro, Disney and Mattel. But here are some helpful tidbits.
  • Our local Pamida has a pretty good selection of toys. They also participate in local events like Hometown Holidays, and support Chelsea organizations through donations and sponsorships.
  • If you can't find what you need here in town, Meijer is a Michigan based company who gives back the local communities in many ways, including the Rewards Program in which most Chelsea schools participate.
  • Of course, at risk of repeating myself, if you don't have to buy the kids in your life an electronic toy or action figure, make your first stop at Cranesbill Books. I can't say enough good things about the high quality and creative selection of toys and games to be found there. As I've said before, their brilliant decision to start carrying toys last year has saved me countless trips to Ann Arbor or Jackson for toy shopping.
Shopping Local From Out of Town
I was pondering the concept of shopping locally as I shopped online this morning. "Huh?" you may say. Well, I was searching for a gift basket to be delivered out of the country. Rather than paying extra shipping charges, dealing with international customs, etc., I searched for a local company in *their* town who can deliver something good. I thought it would be a nice gesture to help support my loved one's own community. But the key to this being a successful transaction is the local small businesses must have an internet presence. As a website designer in my own small town, I feel strongly that *every* business needs to be on the web, whether it is a comprehensive directory listing, a small website, or a full fledged e-commerce experience. I'd venture to guess that anyone who is reading my blog probably uses Google a whole lot more often than they look in the phone book.

I'll spare you the plug for my own website design business, but I will take the opportunity to mention that the new Chelsea e-Directory will be launched in a few days. It will include every business in Chelsea who wishes to be included (for free!) and provide users comprehensive listings by category and searchable by key word. This directory will make it even easier for people to plan their shopping trip in Chelsea, or find a place to eat while they are in town. Oh, and also help you find an accountant, plumber, bank or local park... but that is a topic for another day. (Let me if you want to learn more, otherwise watch for the announcement on the front page of

Chelsea shoppers are also very lucky to have the option to purchase Chelsea Cash gift certificates. I'm always surprised to hear that people don't know about these. You can buy them in any amount and use them at tons of places around town. They can be bought online or at the Chamber of Commerce office, which is in the Clocktower.

More Information and Holiday Links
If you don't hear from me as much as usual on The Chelsea Blog, be assured that I'm still around... just busy shopping and celebrating, too. Happy shopping and happy holidays!


Sgt. Wolverine said...

Oooh! And I heartily suggest that you all go out and get a hard copy of this week's Standard because that local shopping article is accompanied by some really beautiful pictures! Also, I'm a shameless self-promoter. But that's another topic altogether.

Leslie said...

You're right, Burrill, and you have every right to shamelessly self-promote :). Great photos! I heard you have some of Hometown Holidays, too. Care to share?