Valley Wild Books, Littleton https://www.valleywildbookstore.com/
Silver Unicorn Bookstore, Acton http://www.silverunicornbooks.com/
Pets Plus, Tewksbury http://www.e-petsplus.com/
The Barkery, Tewksbury http://thebarkeryonline.com/
Pets Pets Pets, Westford http://www.petspetspetswestford.com/
Great Road Farm and Garden, Littleton http://www.greatroadfarmandgarden.com/
Maxwell’s of Chelmsford https://www.maxwellsofchelmsford.com/
Kitchen Outfitters, Acton http://www.kitchen-outfitters.com/
Sew Together Quilt Shop, Tewksbury https://www.sew-together.com/
Aunt Margaret’s, North Chelmsford http://www.auntmargarets.com/
Art Galleries & Studios
The Loading Dock Gallery, Lowell http://www.theloadingdockgallery.com/
Brush Art Gallery & Studios, Lowell http://www.thebrush.org/
Western Ave Studios, Lowell http://www.westernavenuestudios.com/
Rogers Pool Patio & Toy Co, Lowell http://rogerspools.com/ (during the Fall and Winter)
Learning Express, Acton http://www.learningexpress.com/store/acton/
Learning Express Toys & Play, Bedford https://learningexpress.com/bedford
Jo Karen Fine Lingerie, Acton http://www.jokaren.com/
Handworks Gallery, Acton http://www.handworksgallery.net/
The Paper Store, all locations (locally owned and based in Acton) https://www.thepaperstore.com
Cardsmart, 1140 Lakeview Ave, Dracut
Chelmsford Card & Gift Shop, 15 Central Sq, Chelmsford
Old Mill House Coffee, Chelmsford https://old-mill-house-coffee.square.site/
Whiffle Tree Candles & Covered Bridge Home Interiors, Billerica http://www.whiffletreecandles.com/
The Cricket on the Hearth, Tyngsboro http://www.cricketonthehearthgiftshoppe.com/
Country Store at Kimball Farm, Westford https://kimballfarm.com/
Cataldo’s Gift & Garden, Littleton http://www.cataldonurseries.com/
British Delights, Westford http://www.britishdelights.com/
O’Connor Hardware, Billerica http://www.oconnorhardware.com/
A.G. Hardware, Lowell http://www.aghardware.com/
Kenwood True Value, Dracut http://truevalue.com/
Dracut Hardware https://dracuthardware.net/
Westford Ace Hardware http://www.acehardware.com/store-details/14057
Mahoney’s, Tewksbury and North Chelmsford http://mahoneysgarden.com/
Tewksbury Greenery http://tewksburygreenery.com/
Weston Nurseries, Chelmsford http://www.westonnurseries.com/
Almo’s Flower and Garden Center, Dracut https://www.facebook.com/Almos-Flower-Garden-Center-617299761937210/
Cataldo’s Gift & Garden, Littleton http://www.cataldonurseries.com/
Salt Box Nursery, Billerica https://saltboxnursery.com/
Tewksbury Music Center http://www.tewksburymusic.com/
University Music, Lowell http://universitymusiclowell.com/
The Minor Chord, Littleton http://www.theminorchord.com/
Johnson Music, Dracut http://www.johnson-music.net/
Dracut Appliance Center http://dracutappliance.com/
Batter-Up Gaming & Sportscards, 1830 Main St, Tewksbury
Boom Boom Games, Billerica https://www.facebook.com/BoomBoomGamesLLC
Bazaar Game Trading, Tyngsboro http://www.bazaargametrading.com/
Legends Comix and Games, Littleton http://www.legendscomix.com/
Gaming Etc., Acton http://www.gamingetc.com/
3 Trolls Games & Puzzles, Chelmsford https://www.facebook.com/3-Trolls-Games-Puzzles-89349038688/
Command D, Dracut http://www.commandd.com/
Bernard Jewelers, Tewksbury http://bernardjewelerstewksbury.com/
P. Church Jewelers, Chelmsford https://www.pchurchjewelers.com/
Charles Frederick Jewelers, Chelmsford http://www.charlesfrederick.com/
Schiller Jewelers, Lowell http://schillerjewelers.com/
Design Jewelers, Lowell http://www.designjewelersonline.com/
Facets Inc., Groton http://www.facetsetc.com/
Soccer Stuff, Acton http://shop.esoccerstuff.com/
Center Sports, Chelmsford https://centersportschelmsford.com/
Sports Madness, Dracut http://sportsmadnessllc.com/
Paintball Wizard, Tewksbury http://www.paintballwizard.com/
Wicked Cornhole, Tewksbury http://www.wickedcornhole.com/
Hobby Emporium, Tyngsboro http://hobbyemporiumtyngsborough.com/
Mrs. Nelson's Candy House, Chelmsford http://www.mrsnelsonscandyhouse.com/
Chowder Factory, Lowell http://www.chowderfactory.com/
Sweet Lydia's, Lowell https://sweetlydias.com/
Recreation (think gift cards)
Merrimack Valley Pavilion, Tewksbury http://www.playatmvp.com/
Wamesit Lanes, Tewksbury http://wamesitlanes.com/
Tyngsboro Sports Center, Tyngsboro http://www.tyngsborosportscenter.com/
One Stop Fun, Westford http://www.onestopfun.com/
North Chelmsford Lanes https://www.facebook.com/gotduckpins/
Altitude Trampoline Park, Billerica http://www.altitudeparkma.com/
Kimball Farm, Westford http://kimballfarm.com/
Max’s Country Golf, Tyngsboro http://www.maxsgolf.com/
Magic Brush Pottery & Fused Glass, Tewksbury http://www.magicbrushpottery.com/
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
- Joann Fabrics & Crafts
- Dick’s Sporting Goods
- 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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