Independent Merchants Touted as Ideal Venues for Unique Gifts

For consumers looking for the ideal Christmas gift, they might be better off bypassing malls and seeking out smaller, more intimate shops. That’s the conclusion of a study by The Wall Street Journal, which found such stores promise “an array of unique gift items and knowledgeable customer service.” The Journal’s conclusion? “The artists, designers and creative folks that run independent boutiques are masters at delivering one-of-kind gifts. And the prices – while in some cases significantly higher than mass-produced items – were still manageable, especially for once-a-year splurges.”

The Journal quotes Cinda Baxter, who runs the 3/50 Project, a national campaign to support local businesses, about why it’s so tough for small merchants to compete against the big guys. She blames “commuter consumerism” – that is, the fact that most people are so busy racing from work to home that super-stores (or online shopping sites) just seem more convenient. “The big challenge for an independent merchant is to stay front of mind,” says Baxter, who also served as spokeswoman for American Express’s recent “Small Business Saturday” promotion. “The national chains and big boxes have very deep pockets and massive marketing campaigns.”

The full story begins HERE.