Cary, NC — Just in time for Small Business Saturday, here’s our 2014 Cary Holiday Gift Guide. Get service with a smile, give back to the local economy and forget those big box stores.
Small Business Saturday
Celebrate the season by shopping with our locally owned retailers in Cary. Here’s why it makes sense to do so:
Civic Economics analyzed data from fifteen independent retailers and seven independent restaurants…and found that the local retailers return a total of 52 percent of their revenue to the local economy, compared to just 14 percent for the national chain retailers.
In this story, we focus on some of our favorite locally owned shops in Cary. If you can’t make it out this coming Saturday, give them a try during the holiday season and beyond. You’ll be glad you did.
It wouldn’t be the holiday season if we didn’t talk about toys. In Cary, we are lucky to have two independently owned toy stores–Science Safari in Saltbox Village and Brilliant Sky in Stone Creek. They have very different vibes.
In Science Safari, you will find toys for the curious scientist and adventurer. At Brilliant Sky, you are welcomed with high quality toys reminiscent of yesteryear. Both provide quality products at reasonable prices.
Make Christmas morning thrilling with Tattoos Alive temporary tattoos (available at Science Safari for $5.95 each). After application, these tattoos jump to 3D and “move.”
Have a budding engineer? Try the Power-Up Plane ($59.95) that adds a bit of real power to those paper airplanes and, better yet, can be controlled with your smart phone. Science Safari also stocks some toys from local makers like Fun Lights, a temporary chalk hair dye.
At Brilliant Sky, there’s a Gyrobot ($53.99) that looks especially cool for hours of holiday fun. And for the more traditional, well-loved gifts, look for Thomas the Tank Engine, Corolle baby dolls ($44.99), and the new Lottie dolls that look more like real girls and are priced at just $21.99.
Man Cave / Dorm Fun
This variation on darts (also available at Science Safari) is the perfect addition to Dad’s man cave or to a college kid’s dorm room for entertainment. The Ring Toss ($10-$30) can be mounted to a stud in the wall inside or outside.
Do you have school spirit? Get a framed monogram of your school’s name ($39.95) from The Perfect Piece In Downtown Cary.
The House Gift
Many Cary residents own second homes at the Beach. Cary Pottery in Downtown has recently developed a new glaze called Sea Spray. The many pieces of this collection, including vases and mugs, would make great gifts for a beach house owner (priced $10-$30 for most).
Cary has several stores with great house gifts, including Elizabeth’s Home and Garden, Garden Supply, Whisk and The Perfect Piece. Know a cat-lover? At Elizabeth’s, we found these adorable stuffed cats that can be used both as pillows and as unique tromp ‘l’oeil door stoppers ($39).
Whisk in Waverly Place has every kitchen tool that a cook could ever want. They carry Nespresso coffee makers–trendy machines that use pods and can be programmed for pressure and volume to make a perfect cup of espresso or a latte.
At $99, the Nespresso pictured above is priced at a great value for a pod-type maker. Prices range up to $349 for the all-in-one machine that includes an electric frother.
For The Chef
You can find beautiful serving pieces for your chef friend at Whisk. The Mason Cash bowls and bread forms range from $16.99-$38.99 and sport a beautiful glaze with interesting patterns.
Is your friend or family member a real cook? How about buying them the time-saving tool of a Fagor 3-in-one electric cooker ($129) pictured below? It is a rice cooker, a pressure cooker and a slow cooker all-in-one.
The Hostess Gift
How many times are you invited to a party and need to pick up a quick gift to take with you? These local retailers have some great ideas that won’t break the bank.
Vom Fass, which opened this summer in Waverly Place, has a wide range of flavored oils and vinegars. The shop is very happy to make gift baskets and also has some pre-packaged (like the one pictured above) for your quick gifts ranging in price from $15 to $50. Any hostess would be happy to receive something this special that she probably would not think to buy for herself.
Have a friend who cooks and has a wacky sense of humor? These tea towels ($13.50) from Made in Stone Creek Village will give them a laugh every time they use them in the kitchen.
The coasters pictured below depict many fun restaurants and shops in the area. They are sold individually at Whisk, so you can make your own sets.
For the Girls
When you don’t know what to get a niece, mother, or friend, jewelry is always a safe bet. Size is never an issue, and many women don’t think to buy jewelry for themselves. It’s a welcome gift.
Several Downtown Cary shops now carry a selection of jewelry, including Paisley, A Perfect Piece, The Purple Polka Dot, and Elizabeth’s. In Stone Creek, look to Made, Scout & Molly’s and Pink Alli.
We love Lilly and Laura bracelets, found locally at Pink Alli. Why buy one for $12 when you can get three for $30? It’s an easy way for young girls to buy their friends an affordable gift, too.
If your daughter or friend is obsessed with monograms, check out the Purple Polka Dot. They have carried “Moon and Lola” for ages and are known for their acrylic monogrammed necklaces, bracelets and earrings.
Most items range from $38 for a key chain on up to $78 for a more elaborate necklace. But beware, you need to allow at least 4 weeks to place an order during the holidays!
No time to wait for an order to ship? Try these gold or silver charm bracelets and necklaces with initials. Most letters are usually in stock and are a steal at less than $30 each.
Rocks and geodes are all the rage this season. Look to Paisley’s necklaces on long chains, made by a local maker in Raleigh, and Purple Polka Dot’s bracelets from Bourbon and Bowles ($28-$32). They can be worn grouped or by themselves.
For the Sporty
Cary is known as a town that likes to bike and run, and there are several independent retailers here that cater to sports enthusiasts. Why go to a big box when you can get personalized attention at Omega Sports, Cycling Spoken Here, The Bicycle Chain, and Inside Out Sports?
If you know a runner, you know that a little cold weather doesn’t stop them from exercising. Why not gift them Northface’s newest lightweight quilted down zipfront jacket (from Omega at $99)? Or a pair of patterned leggings ($45-60)? Know a techie athlete?
How about the Vivo (similar to FitBit), available in colors for men and women at $99?
Inside Out Sports focuses on triathlon trainers, and this time of year there are plenty of tech tools to keep runners safe as our daylight diminishes. Bandelier vests keep runners visible to motorists at $24.99, and Pulsar Strobe lights strap on hats or handle bars for only $9.99.
The store also stocks plenty of lightweight running jackets that stop the wind and actually warm up as you begin to perspire. These tops and jackets run $69-$89.
Stone Creek Village has a store called Love All that specializes in the popular sport of tennis that has gift items and workout gear as well. Their tennis bags are always a great gift, and there’s a price for every budget ranging from $56-$148.
The store says folks come in for “Captain’s gifts” when teammates look to buy gifts for each other. We found a tennis wine stopper for $12 and a tennis racket necklace that fit the bill at $24.
You can find unique gifts right here in Cary for everyone on your holiday shopping list. Save yourself the trip to the mall and keep more of your retail dollar right here in town this season.