Agents Answer: Where are the Best Places to #ShopLocal this Holiday Season?

We asked our agents: Where are your favorite places to #ShopLocal this holiday season?
Affairs of the Heart storefront in Waynesville | Photo by Heili Chadwick

If there’s any region that loves to support its local small businesses every day of the year, it’s Western North Carolina! From local art to foodstuffs to that necklace that you noticed caught her eye, area artisans have many fine items for sale. In addition, local stores carry many of the big brands you recognize, while retaining more of those profits within the community. Residents around the region feel great supporting local businesses while crossing unique gift items off their holiday shopping lists.

In preparation for this holiday shopping season, our agents have offered up their suggestions for great locally made or locally sold holiday gifts. We asked them: Where are your favorite places to #ShopLocal this holiday season?

I love to visit the artists’ studios in the River Arts District! Many of them are open every day of the year, and there’s a huge variety of price ranges and styles available. You can find blown glass, pottery and ceramics, all kinds of paintings, fiber arts—the list is endless! It’s a great place to find unique and special gifts while having a fun experience in the process!

Heidi DuBose Fore

I recommend Carolina Mountain Artists at 444 N Main Street in Hendersonville. There, you’ll find local artisans’ craft work for sale, including woodwork, jewelry, pottery, fabric art, and more. Prices range from several dollars to several hundred. You will find something special for the hard to please.

Rick Merrill

New Morning Gallery in Biltmore Village offers great unique housewarming gifts that are often handmade and locally made.

Ann Skoglund

OWL Bakery on Haywood Road in West Asheville makes the most insane pastries—truly artisan. I have not tasted such a glorious and worthy bite of carbs since I was in Paris 10 years ago!

Glenn Haden

My wife and I love shopping at the Mast General Store. I’m actually good friends with the Mast family, so we go there a lot for outdoor gear, clothes, kitchen stuff, pottery, toys, and candy. It’s one of those stores that has something for everyone, and we find it really easy to find affordable holiday gifts there. Also, there’s a really cool spice store downtown, The Spice & Tea Exchange. We love to cook and always give our “foodie” friend interesting spices. They’re a great gift idea for moms who cook often or dads who like grilling and using dry rubs. They make excellent stocking stuffers.

Wes Hight

Stroll down Main Street Saluda, and you will be delighted with the tastes and wonders of local artisans and farms! The walls of the Purple Onion showcase paintings by local artists, their stage brings local music, and their menu supports local farms. Wildflour Bakery grinds local wheat for many of their delicious confections and breads. They also seek to support farms in the area when buying eggs and tomatoes, while offering mugs made by local potters. Step outside either restaurant to find yourself “downtown,” where you can find local jams, pickles, and more from Thompson’s Grocery and Pace’s General Store or enjoy tea and cake from Mewdlic’s. Heartwood Gallery hosts the most local art in town and always delivers. Shop Saluda this Holiday Season and enjoy!

Dori Ray

If you love decorating on a budget with quality home furnishings and accessories, you will love Frugal Decor & More off Sweeten Creek Road! Meander through the treasure trove of unique decor and you will find the perfect gift for friends and yourself! Also, they offer General Finishes Paints and Stains as well as Fusion Mineral Paint. Bonus—if you need extra cash for the holidays, you can consign with them, too!

Christina Gallegos Merrill

I’m always looking for unique gifting options. That’s why I like to shop locally for gifts at Fifth Season Gardening Co. This unique market concentrates on organic gardening supplies, but they also offer beautiful “living” gifts like rare and unusual potted and hanging plants. I also love their large selection of home brew supplies to make beer, wine, kombucha, and saki. You can also grab a cold one at the in-store bar!

Theresa Turchin

When I am really stuck trying to find something different or meaningful for someone, or sometimes just to walk around and see lovely things for fun, I always go to B. B. Barnes, the garden company! The staff there is very helpful. I can find gifts in multiple price ranges. And while I am not a gardener, I see ideas for sprucing up my own home. B. B. Barnes also has lots of non-gardening gifts, too.

Karen King-Smith

Among my favorite local shops for holiday gifts is Provisions Mercantile on Haywood Street in West Asheville—they have everything. Whist is a charming little gift store just up the road. And a few doors down from there is Flora, the most beautiful floral shop where you can pick your plant and have it potted in the store. They also do some amazing holiday floral arrangements. Happy holiday shopping! 

Bre Powers

One of my favorite places to #ShopLocal is Mora Designer Jewelry in Downtown Asheville. They feature a large selection of unique jewelry, much of it handcrafted by local and regional artists. The staff is very knowledgeable and friendly and can make great suggestions for those hard-to-shop-for people on your list.

Caleb Coaplen

True, the holidays are a time to test your kitchen skills, but don’t leave the basics to chance. I love OWL for their flawless pastries, breads, and pies during the year and especially around the holidays. Show your friends and loved ones that you care by choosing the gift of nourishment rather than just more stuff.

Patrick O’Cain

For wonderful and unique gifts, visit The Gardeners Cottage in Saluda. Next door, you will find The Brass Latch and Mewdlic’s, all at the Nostalgia courtyard on S Main Street. I also recommend the Heartwood Gallery at 21 E Main Street.

Ana Lilburn

When at a loss on what to get someone, Affairs of the Heart in Downtown Waynesville is my go to. From sentimental to hilariously witty, their range of unique gifts applies to every age and gender. Even my kids enjoy shopping there!

Heili Chadwick

Affairs of the Heart in Waynesville | Photo by Heili Chadwick

Live Where You Love to #ShopLocal!

Among the ways we Live Abundantly in WNC is through access to some of the best clothes, crafts, art, gardening centers, and eateries—dare we say it?—in the world. Find a home near one of the great local businesses mentioned in this post!

Where is your favorite place to #ShopLocal in WNC? Share it with us in the comments!

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