Take Back Black Friday By Shopping Local

Even the most eco-friendly consumer can get swept up by the prospect of scoring a great deal. Major retailers all over the country are falling all over each other to attract customers with attention-grabbing doorbuster deals in the hopes of getting the biggest possible slice of the economic pie – in fact, some stores like K-Mart are garnering criticism by deciding opening on Thanksgiving Day instead of waiting until the traditional Black Friday to launch their sales. But what can, on the surface, seem like a good deal can have a deeper cost. You may save a few dollars if you brave the crowds in search of a good deal when the sales start on Friday, but your search for a deal could take its toll on the planet. When companies manufacture items in anticipation of sales and ship them en masse around the globe, it costs a lot of resources. Plus, the emissions from millions of shoppers driving all over the city bargain-hunting isn’t exactly great for the planet either. So what should you do if you still want to partake in the shopping festivities and get a jump on your holiday shopping? Easy! You can still pick out thoughtful gifts and create a minimal carbon footprint by shopping local. There are dozens of great shops located right on our fair Island, including several unique shops right down the street on Anna Maria’s Historic Pine Avenue. Here are some of our favorites: Image Source: Tripadvisor.com AMI Outfitters Shopping for an outdoorsman? AMI Outfitters has everything you need from clothing (in fact, they’re the only store on the Island selling exclusively men’s apparel) to gear. Even better? They carry tons of eco-friendly brands. Image Source: Islander.org Bob Brown Art Internationally-known abstract artist Bob Brown often draws inspiration from nature when it comes to creating his audacious, brightly-colored contemporary paintings. Available in a wide variety of sizes and prices, these paintings are perfect for a novice art collector or a seasoned aficionado. Image Source: Pinterest.com Pink & Navy Shopping for a chic fashionistas? You’re in luck: one of the most stylish, well-curated boutiques is located right in Anna Maria. Janae Rudacille and Jessica Foraker have an impeccable eye for fashion, and they stock this unique, innovative shop with the latest in fashion-forward trends that are still beachy and accessible. They even carry some great ethical brands, including supercute TOMS shoes. Image Source: Yelp.com Relish Marketplace What’s even better than recycling? Upcycling. In addition to vintage wares, Relish Marketplace is a premiere destination for jewelry and apparel that has been repurposed from items that would otherwise have been discarded. This cool little shop also serves as a collective: when you shop there you aren’t just supporting one small business, you are supporting dozens of local, independent artisans.