Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Local Opportunities

You may remember that last year my family went extreme on the Shop Local thing. For three months we shopped from only locally owned stores. The experience may have convinced my children that their mother truly is crazy, but they were relieved to discover that shopping locally didn’t put a huge dent in their lives. They could still purchase their beloved Cheezits from the family owned grocery store and many times the locally owned gifts, food, and entertainment was much better than expected. My husband and I learned that not only is it possible to buy pretty much everything we need locally, we were also delighted to discover that we saved money in the process. Cutting out visits to Target, Walmart, and the Home Depot eliminated impulse buys and streamlined our spending. But the best part was that we were able to support our neighbors, friends, and local economy with our shopping. If you missed last winter's blog posts, take a few minutes and read about my adventures during those three months.

We continue to shop mostly locally. I will confess to the use of Amazon and Drugstore.com more often than necessary, but at least I feel guilty when I shop those sites. We still buy our paper products and get them delivered free from Greenline Paper Company in York. I still travel to the Central Market in York for much of our groceries, and purchase the rest at local family owned Saubels and Sonnewalds. Most of my Christmas shopping was done in the Central Market District of York. We love our excursions to The York Emporium for books (and a plethora of other “finds”). My husband still buys his beer from the brewery half a mile away. And Goodwill is our go-to store for nearly everything.

I’m hopeful that our experience inspired others to look for locally owned businesses first before being suckered in to buying at the bigbox stores. I know it seems contradictory, but you do save money paying a little more at a local store because you buy things you truly want and less of what you don’t need.

This lengthy intro is leading somewhere – promise. I’ve got two upcoming local events to share with my local peeps.

If you’ve never tried the local wine in your area – there’s never been a better time. There is a huge boon right Tour de Tanks. For a one-time $25 fee ($15 for designated drivers), you can taste wine at 23 wineries (plus a couple distilleries). Many of the vineyards have light food and entertainment. Your Tour de Tanks pass is good all month long and in March this year that’s five weekends!! I’m heading out this Sunday to join the tour and hope to see you out there! Don’t miss two of my favorites – Seven Valleys Winery (in Shrewsbury) and Royal Rabbit Winery(in Maryland Line). You can get your tickets at any participating winery.
now in locally made wine, beer, and spirits. Here in York County during the month of March the Mason-Dixon Wine Trail is celebrating the

If you’re not close enough to join the Mason-Dixon Wine Trail’s Tour de Tanks, check out localwineevents.com to find wineries near you.

Last week I learned about another event coming up in April for families. It’s an opportunity to not only buy from local people, but to sell your own stuff too. The event is called WeeUsables and will be held at the York Expo Center April 10-12. There will be over 200 local consignors selling kid/family stuff – clothes, toys, books, baby gear, video games, and more.

If you have stuff to sell you still have time to join the party and register as a consignor. It’s a pretty sweet deal because, while you do have to hand over a percentage in sales (30% or less if you work as a WeeHelper a few shifts), you don’t have to stay with your stuff or haggle or handle the sales. Having suffered through a Yard Sale before, I would be all for that option.

If you’d just like to take advantage of this huge shopping extravaganza, mark your calendar now. There is also a WeeUsables Sale in Lancaster March 27-29.

Finding local events, stores, and farms is a matter of opening your eyes and signing up for a few key mailing lists. Yes, it takes a tiny extra effort but your wallet and you heart will be glad for it. If you need a little assistance (and a free app for you phone to help you find locally owned stores) click here.

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