It’s always a great idea to buy locally, but depending on where you are and what you’re looking for, your choices may be quite limited. But thankfully, there are online retailers out there that care about maintaining a minimal footprint and have interspersed their humanistic and environmental ethics into the way they run their businesses.
While it’s always better to buy local when you can, some occasions might call for an extra special treat. The One Lucky Duck online store, from the same people who bring you Pure Food and Wine (my favourite vegan restaurant in New York) and the adorable takeaway shoppe around the corner, provides specialty goodies like vegan Halloween, Christmas, and Easter chocolates, which can be hard to find. Nowadays I’m more keen to invest in chocolate moulds and make my own Santas and bunnies, but in my early days of veganism, One Lucky Day was great for holiday fixes. Unfortunately, I just learned in researching this blurb that they’ve stopped offering my other One Lucky Duck favourite, nut cheese. But keep an eye out in case it comes back in stock; it’s magical! For now, peruse their range of yummy raw vegan snacks and environmentally and animal-friendly cosmetics, household items, and clothes.
After seeing major outdoor retailers with strong online presences (REI, Backcountry, etc.) lead to the ultimate demise of my favourite local gear shops (Sangre de Cristo Mountain Works in Santa Fe and Taos Mountain Outfitters in Taos), I wanted to find some way of shopping for gear online since, at the time, I was well over an hour’s drive from a decent grocery store, much less a good gear shop. I found the Grassroots Outdoor Alliance, which not only promotes local gear stores, but enables them to work together to create a strong community of indie retailers. Ever wonder why Backcountry can be so cheap compared to the price at your local store? Venders offer different prices for their goods based on the quantity a retailer orders. A small gear shop has neither the space to keep nor the money to buy 10,000 jackets, which would otherwise allow them to match online prices. The Grassroots Outdoor Alliance has a map displaying their members across the country – many of whom have online stores. So, before you buy the cheapest, see what’s local!
You can almost take Margaret’s above paragraph, switch out ‘small gear shops’ for ‘independent bookstores’ and you’ll have my pick. IndieBound is an online database, run by the American Booksellers Association, comprised completely of independently-owned bookstores all over the United States. Ever since becoming a bookseller, I’ve tried to convince more people to seek out and shop from independent bookstores. A common response would be, ‘But there are no independent bookstores nearby.’ Thanks to IndieBound, you have a myriad of options (including my favourites, DIESEL, A Bookstore, the Northshire Bookstore, and Greenlight Bookstore), and every IndieBound bookstore provides online services and would be happy to ship you some literature.