Drop the big box stores and support your local Virginia businesses this holiday shopping season
The holiday season is here, and with it comes the rush to buy presents for loved ones. Instead of going the traditional route of buying a generic gift from a big box store on Black Friday, opt for a unique gift that will likely be cherished for years to come from a Richmond retailer on Small Business Saturday.
We’ve included nine stores and an artisan market where you should consider shopping on Nov. 25. You’ll surely find something for everyone on your list.
Location: 3310-C Rosedale Ave.
Black Swan Books is the place to shop for the bibliophile in your life. It’s not your average bookstore, as it focuses almost entirely on rare and antique books as well as letters, manuscripts, photographs, and ephemera. That’s why the space is called “where old books meet new friends.” Although the store has been open since 1997, when Nicholas Cooke came up with the idea of starting a bookstore that paid tribute to Richmond founder William Byrd II (nicknamed “the Black Swan”), it moved to its current location in the Scott’s Addition neighborhood in 2019.
Location: 3005 W Cary St.
Little ones will surely love a gift from World of Mirth. The woman-owned toy store is described as a place where Pee Wee’s Playhouse meets pop culture. “Our products appeal to kids as well as kids at heart with an emphasis on items that you just cannot find at any old toy store,” the store’s website reads. “We strive to create a sense of joy and wonder—nothing makes us happier than seeing the look on someone’s face when they walk through our doors.” The inventory includes games, books, baby toys, soft plush toys, arts and crafts, Richmond-themed gifts, collectible vinyl toys, and Mexican folk art.
Location: 5726B Patterson Ave.
Thoughtful pieces of home décor can be found at Beckon Home. “The items are carefully curated and remarkable, providing an inspirational, high-design environment,” the store’s website states. It’s owned by Taylor Mundy Raquet, a Richmond resident for the past 20 years. When shopping for the perfect gift, you’ll have your choice of an eclectic mix of both statement pieces and staples. Gifts for sale include coffee table books, stationery, home fragrance items, travel bags, one-of-a-kind ceramics, and jewelry from local artisans. Furniture and rugs are also for sale.
Location: 3417 W Cary St.
For the art lover in your life, pick them out a gift at Cool Colors Gallery. The gallery, which was started by local artist and master furniture craftsman Mehmet Sahin Altug, sells fine art and handmade gifts. “The artist-owner’s eye for color and whimsy creates a unique gallery experience,” the gallery’s site reads. “You will find stunning paintings, artist prints, cards, furniture, and delightful baubles.”
Location: 11 S 15th St.
Techies will surely appreciate a gift from the Computer Cave, owned by Shane Lacks and Andrew Kimberlin. It sells devices like Macs, laptops, iPhones, iPads, Androids, watches, and accessories. If your loved one is a gamer, you can also order a custom-built gaming PC.
Location: 5718 Grove Ave.
Piffy Boutique, a locally owned women’s clothing store, is sure to have the perfect gift for your loved one. “We offer off-the-runway looks at an affordable price,” the boutique’s site states. “Let our amazing stylists help you find an outfit for the weekend, pieces for your 9-to-5 work week, or a little number for your special night out.” The shop also sells jewelry, shoes, purses, and home items.
Location: 1006 Lafayette St.
For the men in your life, shop Homme Essentials. The store was opened in 2020 by Alan Long with the goal of giving customers access to high-quality contemporary designers and brands. “The ethos of Homme Essentials is to bring a thoughtful and realistic curation to the modern individual looking for inspiration and quality,” the store’s site reads. “We aim to connect with our customers on a deeper level and provide an educated perspective on the clothes and goods we choose.”
Location: 1716 E Main St.
Stvrs Kicks is the place to shop for the loved one in your life who always has to have a new pair of sneakers. The small family-owned business provides shoppers with a unique array of curated products. “We love our community, culture, and the entrepreneurial spirit that Richmond embodies,” owners Yasmeen and Tariq wrote on their website. “We founded this business to serve our community by providing the freshest kicks, apparel, accessories, and much more.” Importantly for sneakerheads, the store verifies the authenticity of all its products.
Location: 1308 East Cary St.
If you’re looking to treat your loved one to a custom piece of jewelry, turn to Dransfield Jewelers. “Working completely by hand to craft, repair, and design one-of-a-kind pieces, we specialize in engagement jewelry, modern heirlooms, and unique gifts delivered with a personalized and client-centered approach,” the 30-year-old business’s website states. Although Dransfield changed owners in October 2022, it’s still locally owned by Caitie Sellers and Maggie Smith.
Location: 820 Sanctuary Trail Drive
The second annual Small Business Saturday Artisan Market at Hardywood West Creek on Saturday, Nov. 25 from noon-6 p.m. is the perfect event to attend if you’re looking to knock out a significant portion of your holiday shopping all at once. “We bring together amazing local artists and makers selling handmade home décor, art, jewelry, apparel, and more,” organizers wrote on the website. “Shop local this holiday season!” The event is held annually by Artisan Makers, a Richmond-based small-business incubator that was launched in 2019.
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