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“Shop local.” It’s an expression we hear a lot. Perhaps so much that it has lost its meaning.

But as co-owner of a locally owned business, I can tell you that it makes a huge difference. Not only will you be purchasing a cool or really unique gift for a friend, co-worker, or loved one, but you will also be supporting one of your own neighbors at the same time.

What makes our locally owned retailers so special is they are owned by people who live in our communities and fight every day to make sure the place where we live stays unique.

Additionally, while you can find a Target or Best Buy in pretty much every medium to large sized city or town, you can’t find a Ssalefish Comics, Revision Vintage, or Lost Ark Video Games. These stores belong to our city, and they will always be part of our community as long as our community supports them.

So rather than simply list a bunch of locally owned stores, I also want to share the names of these businesses’ owners so you can see that they are more than just shops — they’re our neighbors.

Greensboro natives Stephen Mayer and Jay Ewing are co-owners of Ssalefish Greensboro (1622 Stanley Rd Suite 118, Greensboro, NC 27407), a fantastic, owner operated comics retailer where both Stephen and Jay work tirelessly to ensure that their customers can go in and purchase best and newest comics each and every week. Speaking of comic book stores, we’ve also got John Hancock who owns Parts Unknown (906 Spring Garden St, Greensboro, NC 27403) and Chris Gordon who owns The Comic Dimension (2823 Spring Garden St E, Greensboro, NC 27403). With three great options from three great neighbors, if you are buying superhero related gifts for anyone on your shopping lists, there’s no excuse not to hit one of these stores up.

Of course, for video games, you cannot do better than Daniel McMillan’s Lost Ark Vide Games (1701 Spring Garden St A, Greensboro, NC 27403) — a store where customers can find great new and used video games, including retro systems and games from years past as well as collectibles, anime and even Japanese candy.

Greensboro is also home to artist Cassandra Liuzzio, who channeled her passion into creating an arts supply store called Shelf Life Art + Supply Company (2178 Lawndale Dr, Greensboro, NC 27408).

For style or fashion, you can hit up Pam Cooper’s Revision Vintage (313 E Market St, Greensboro, NC 27401), a vintage clothing store where you can find lightly used clothing curated by some of the most stylish people in our city. And of course, there is Kit Rodenbough’s Design Archives (342 S Elm St, Greensboro, NC 27401), a consignment store full of kiosks presenting some of the coolest fashions, accessories, soaps, perfumes, and other assorted sundries.

If you feel like you should purchase restaurant gift cards for your friends or relatives who might be a little more difficult to shop for, we’ve got options there as well.

Kris Fuller’s Crafted: The Art of the Taco (219-A S Elm St, Greensboro, NC 27401) is always a solid place to catch some food. She is also owner and part owner of Crafted: The Art of Street Food (600 C Battleground Ave, Greensboro, NC 27401) and Bites & Pints Gastro Pub (2503 Spring Garden St, Greensboro, NC 27403). I will always be a lifelong fan of the Kickin’ Chicken Wrap (with Manwings Sauce) made by Simmone McClinton and her team at M’Coul’s Public House (110 W McGee St, Greensboro, NC 27401) Kim and Jeff Brewers’ Melt Kitchen and Bar (1941 New Garden Rd #116, Greensboro, NC 27410) is always a great spot, and while it might sound crazy to say this, anyone who goes there should definitely try the Brussels Sprouts.

Beyond food and other consumables, I have been a long time fan of Jay Bullock’s Local Honey Salon (233 Commerce Pl, Greensboro, NC 27401), which aside from gift cards, also has great selections of shampoos, styling gels, beard oil and yes, even locally owned honey.

So many options from so many neighbors, and honestly, I have barely even scratched the surface. And yes, I understand that there are simply some things we need to buy from the big guys.

But remember this — if you do any shopping at these or any other local retailers on Friday or Saturday as part of your holiday shopping, we will gladly hook you up with a free soda, coffee or PBR. It’s simply our way of saying thank you for making our community unique.

Happy Holidays,
Joe Scott

P.S. And since we are recommending local businesses for your holiday shopping needs, I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad idea to point out that Geeksboro also sells gift cards in any increment or amount that you might need.