Gift From Here
How to shop Raleigh this holiday season
By Corbie Hill, Photos by Joe Reale
Jennifer Martin, executive director of Shop Local Raleigh, has a suggestion. She doesn’t want shoppers to abandon all national chains and exclusively patronize little local mom-and-pops, nothing that extreme. She simply wants them to challenge themselves to spend 10 percent of their annual budgets at local stores. That’s it.
“If your entire household shifted 10 percent a year each year, we’re talking millions of dollars annually in extra tax revenue,” Martin explains. “What that does is it helps keep our community unique.”
One of Shop Local Raleigh’s primary missions is to connect businesses with the local community. In the holiday season, this is especially essential. Many of the locally-owned and independent shops that give Raleigh its distinctive character rely heavily on holiday sales. Martin is clear: she’s not anti-big box store. She knows there are household items and such that it simply makes more sense to buy in bulk at these shops. When shoppers have a choice, though, she’d rather they put some money back into Raleigh. The independent shops here, she feels, give the City of Oaks its character and may be one of the reasons it tends to rank so high on many livability lists.
Online retailers are local shops’ other major competitor. “Especially with the specialty stores, the struggle is showrooming,” Martin says. This buzzword emerged a year or two ago, she says, but the phenomenon is still very much a problem. People will go into a store, try on the clothes or check out the merchandise, and then go online to buy it. “That happens more often than we’d like it to,” Martin continues. “That store won’t be there one day for you to try things on and then go buy them online.”
Without sales, stores close, so Martin and Shop Local Raleigh work to get people to think local first. For landscaping, for eating out, for new clothes or professional services – you can get that all locally, she says.
Midtown caught up with Martin to get holiday shopping advice, and she presented us with several options for shopping locally. Obviously we couldn’t cover every local independent store – there are simply so many in Raleigh – so if your favorite boutique isn’t mentioned below, the best thing you can do is tell a friend about it and encourage them to shop there.
Midtown: North Hills
“That’s the kind of place where someone could just walk around and do that local shopping with one parking space,” Martin says. There’s boutique Scout and Molly’s (4120-120 Main at North Hills St; 919.754.8430; scoutandmollys.com) and BeyondBlue Interiors (4350 Lassiter at North Hills Ave #102; 919.896.6630; beyondblueinteriors.com). “Both of these shops are locally owned and independent, but they’re part of North Hills,” Martin says. There’s also luxury eyewear shop The Spectacle (4209 Lassiter at North Hills Ave #110; 919.783.5863; specsnh.com) and local bookworm haven Quail Ridge Books (4209-100 Lassiter Mill Rd; 919.828.1588; quailridgebooks.com) moved into its North Hills space this summer. “It’s a nice place even to go hang out sometimes, to go and create that sense of community,” says Martin.
On Peace Street between Capital Boulevard and Halifax Street
“Right there you have a wine store that also sells craft beer, you have a hardware store, you have a clothes boutique. You have a home decorating store, you have a coffee shop, you have a bottle shop, you have several restaurants,” Martin says. “That is one place you can go and park and go door to door and probably cross everyone off your list.” Galatea Boutique (10 W. Franklin St; 919.833.8565; GalateaBoutique.com) is a women’s boutique that has been in business for two decades. One of the reasons for its longevity and success is Galatea owner Cheryl Fraser’s ability to adapt to customers’ changing needs, Martin says.
Seaboard Wine and Tasting Bar (802 Semart Dr, Ste 118; 919.831.0850; SeaboardWine.com) is another long-lived local business that sells wine and craft beer and boasts a wine bar. There’s more to Logan’s One Stop Garden Shop (707 Semart Dr; 919.828.5337; logantrd.com) than pavers, seeds and tomato cages. “What I love about Logan’s is they have a whole gift shop inside,” Martin says. “They have all kinds of things for the home. During the holidays they change and have this huge holiday section.” There’s a cafe inside as well.
Wilmington Street, downtown
“I park in a deck and I kind of take a tour, take a walk,” Martin says. “I love Wilmington, that you have a couple [of shops] in a row.” Gypsy Jule (207 W. Davie St; 919.753.7444; gypsyjule.com) is a women’s clothing boutique that Martin describes as the local equivalent of national chains like Free People or Anthropologie. “It’s clothes you can wear to work,” she says. “It’s clothes you can dress up or dress down.” On the same block, find designer flip-flops at Feelgoodz Treehouse (206 S. Wilmington St; 888.246.5305; feelgoodz.com), monogrammed and personalized items at Moon and Lola (208 S. Wilmington St; 919.322.4227; moonandlola.com), and Holly Aiken bags and wallets at Stitch (20 E. Hargett St; 919.833.8770; hollyaiken.com).
The five-way intersection of Glenwood, W. Whitaker Mill, Fairview and Glenn
This is another great place to park and walk, Martin says, where you can find high-end children’s consignment store Babiology (2012 Fairview Rd; 919.834.0014; facebook.com/babiology) and women’s boutique Monroe.26 (2012 Fairview Rd; 919.650.3326; instagram.com/monroe.26). Martin mentions the Crafty Beer Shop (2005 Fairview Rd; 919.615.3008; craftybeershop.com), Nofo at the Pig restaurant (2014 Fairview Rd; 919.821.1240; nofo.com) and Color the World artisanal lipstick shop (1809 Glenwood Ave; 919.888.0052). “With one of their lipsticks, a portion of the sale goes to a certain cause,” Martin says.
Oak Park Shopping Center
On Glenwood Avenue just northwest of Crabtree Valley Mall
“The entire shopping center is completely local, it’s locally owned,” says Martin. “All the shops inside of it are independent.” Maus Piano and Organ Co (6015 Glenwood Ave; 919.782.8391; mauspiano.com) sells and rents pianos, while Capitol Comics II (5212 Hollyridge Dr; 919.781.9500; capitolcomicsnc.com) celebrated three decades of comic book sales this year. Martin gushes about Gingham and Posh (5210 B Hollyridge Dr; 919.783.5330; ginghamandposh.com). “That’s a great gift shop,” she says. “It’s got things for gifting, it’s got collegiate items, it’s got a North Carolina section.” Gingham and Posh also sells gift baskets.
Ridgewood Shopping Center
On Wade Avenue just inside the Beltline
“It’s another great place where you can park one place and walk the entire center,” Martin says. Dress (3528 Wade Ave; 919.699.6505; dressraleigh.com) is an upscale retail boutique with new and resale clothes, shoes, jewelry and handbags. The Red and White Shop (3526 Wade Ave; 919.803.3268; gopack.com) is packed with NCSU gear, while Great Yarns (1208 Ridge Rd; 919.832.3599; yarnsetc.com) sells yarn but also offers classes in knitting, crocheting and related skills.
Ridgewood Wine and Beer Company (1214 Ridge Rd; 919.832.5232; ridgewoodwineandbeer.com) stocks a wide array of bottled beverages, while All-Star Bike Shop (1218 Ridge Rd; 919.833.5070; allstarbikeshop.com) is a good spot to get your bike tuned or find just the right custom bike.
Hillsborough Street near Meredith College
The old Royal Bean building, specifically
“The Lucky Tree (3801 Hillsborough St; 919.342.6688; luckytreeraleigh.com) is a gift shop – it’s got shopping, it’s got coffee,” says Martin. “They’ve got vegan bars and things like that. They have stuff that they carry in there for gifts that are locally made and locally sourced as well.” Nearby Raleigh Brewing Company(3709 Neil St; 919.400.9086; raleighbrewingcompany.com) has its taproom, sure, but also a home brew and commercial shop called Atlantic Brew Supply. For anyone on your list with an interest in making their own beer, this sounds like a no-brainer. The Trading Card Co-Op (3801 Hillsborough St #143; 919.436.3775; tradingcardcoop.com) is a good destination for baseball cards or other sports collectibles and memorabilia.
On Honeycutt Road just off Falls of Neuse Road
This North Raleigh shopping center privileges locals as well. There’s Savory Spice Shop (8470 Honeycutt Rd, Ste 108; 919.900.8291; savoryspiceshop.com/north-carolina/raleigh-lafayette-village.html), another Crafty Beer Shop location (8450 Honeycutt Rd, Ste 108; 919.703.0874; craftybeershop.com) and Lisana Activewear (8480 Honeycutt Rd, Ste 116; 919.307.3933; lisanaactivewear.com). “It’s all high-end, fashionable workout wear, whether you’re looking for yoga pants or a tank top camisole or bike shorts,” Martin says.