Shop Local in 2021: Store Directory & Shopping Tips

By Barbara Evangelista, Publisher November 9, 2021


Valley Wild Books, Littleton

Silver Unicorn Bookstore, Acton

Pet Supplies

Pets Plus, Tewksbury

The Barkery, Tewksbury

Pets Pets Pets, Westford

Great Road Farm and Garden, Littleton

Maxwell’s of Chelmsford

Kitchen Items

Kitchen Outfitters, Acton


Sew Together Quilt Shop, Tewksbury

Aunt Margaret’s, North Chelmsford

Art Galleries & Studios

The Loading Dock Gallery, Lowell

Brush Art Gallery & Studios, Lowell

Western Ave Studios, Lowell


Rogers Pool Patio & Toy Co, Lowell (during the Fall and Winter)

Learning Express, Acton

Learning Express Toys & Play, Bedford


Jo Karen Fine Lingerie, Acton

Gift Items

Handworks Gallery, Acton

The Paper Store, all locations (locally owned and based in Acton)

Cardsmart, 1140 Lakeview Ave, Dracut

Chelmsford Card & Gift Shop, 15 Central Sq, Chelmsford

Old Mill House Coffee, Chelmsford

Whiffle Tree Candles & Covered Bridge Home Interiors, Billerica

The Cricket on the Hearth, Tyngsboro

Country Store at Kimball Farm, Westford

Cataldo’s Gift & Garden, Littleton

British Delights, Westford


O’Connor Hardware, Billerica

A.G. Hardware, Lowell

Kenwood True Value, Dracut

Dracut Hardware

Westford Ace Hardware

Garden Center

Mahoney’s, Tewksbury and North Chelmsford

Tewksbury Greenery

Weston Nurseries, Chelmsford

Almo’s Flower and Garden Center, Dracut

Cataldo’s Gift & Garden, Littleton

Salt Box Nursery, Billerica


Tewksbury Music Center

University Music, Lowell

The Minor Chord, Littleton

Johnson Music, Dracut


Dracut Appliance Center


Batter-Up Gaming & Sportscards, 1830 Main St, Tewksbury

Boom Boom Games, Billerica

Bazaar Game Trading, Tyngsboro

Legends Comix and Games, Littleton

Gaming Etc., Acton

3 Trolls Games & Puzzles, Chelmsford

Command D, Dracut


Bernard Jewelers, Tewksbury

P. Church Jewelers, Chelmsford

Charles Frederick Jewelers, Chelmsford

Schiller Jewelers, Lowell

Design Jewelers, Lowell

Facets Inc., Groton


Soccer Stuff, Acton

Center Sports, Chelmsford

Sports Madness, Dracut


Paintball Wizard, Tewksbury

Wicked Cornhole, Tewksbury 

Hobby Emporium, Tyngsboro

Gourmet Items

Mrs. Nelson's Candy House, Chelmsford

Chowder Factory, Lowell

Sweet Lydia's, Lowell

Recreation (think gift cards)

Merrimack Valley Pavilion, Tewksbury

Wamesit Lanes, Tewksbury

Tyngsboro Sports Center, Tyngsboro

One Stop Fun, Westford

North Chelmsford Lanes

Altitude Trampoline Park, Billerica

Kimball Farm, Westford 

Max’s Country Golf, Tyngsboro

Magic Brush Pottery & Fused Glass, Tewksbury

Some thoughts on shopping local:

Don’t Default to Amazon

Yes, Amazon is incredibly convenient.  You can hop online at midnight, order what you need, and hopefully it shows up pretty soon.  Here are the problems though:

  • Jeff Bezos (the founder, CEO and president of Amazon) is the richest person in the world. Seriously. I don’t want to fill his pockets anymore.  I'd prefer to pay a little more and know that the businesses in my communities will survive and thrive.
  • The more we buy from Amazon, the more our local resources will disappear.
  • The more we buy from Amazon, the more quality manufacturers will disappear. We’ve all purchased products on Amazon that ended up being laughably bad.  Why do those manufacturers exist?  Amazon.  They'd never survive at a real retailer.
  • All of the carbon emissions transporting everything to your home really add up
  • It’s not always the cheapest option.  Have you noticed that Amazon raises prices on seasonal items when they know the need will be greatest?  I did some school shopping there, for binders and index cards and such, a few years ago and probably paid 3 times as much as I would have paid at a local store.
  • Amazon's working conditions, both in the US and especially in manufacturing facilities abroad, have been strongly criticized.

First Step -- Is There a Local Independent Shop That Carries the Item You Need?

Items may cost a bit more at local retailers but your purchases are what keep them alive.  Plus they give amazing service, and the owners really care about you and their products. Here are the benefits to shopping local:

  • For every $100 you spend at locally owned businesses, $68 stays in the community.  If you spend $100 at a national chain, only $43 stays in the community. 
  • Shopping locally encourages businesses to stay and thrive, creating diversity, choice, local jobs, interesting destinations, and a strong community.  Who wants to visit an area that has all the same chain stores?  People like to visit towns with unique, dynamic local businesses.

If you don’t have time to browse or are worried about the safety of shopping in the store, make a list of what you need and call them.  Many will gladly put together an order for you and provide curbside pickup.  If they don't have what you need in stock, many will be able to order the items for you.

Second Step -- If No Local Independent Store Carries Your Item, How About a Larger National Store?

I’d really like to keep those larger chains in business.  I LIKE going in and looking at laptops, cameras, gaming systems, XBOX games, music, etc.  The salespeople are usually pretty helpful, I can generally get what I need the same day, and those stores provide tons of jobs for so many local people, including my teens.

If you can’t find what you need at an independent local store, try chains like:

  • Bed Bath & Beyond
  • Best Buy
  • Petco
  • Petsmart
  • Michaels
  • Joann Fabrics & Crafts
  • Dick’s Sporting Goods
  • GameStop
  • Aubuchon Hardware

They all have excellent websites with pickup and shipping options.

Lastly, try Walmart, Target and other global retailers.  Then, if you must, head to Amazon.

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