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Our Stories

2019 Shop Local Guide

November 18, 2019

We’re nearing the peak of the holiday shopping season! It’s always exciting to start making your list and planning fun, thoughtful gifts for others, and the greater Champaign County area is full of local shops and makers ready to help you make the holiday season smooth and successful!

shop local guide for the greater champaign county area

Give the Gift of Local Flavor!

Between food, drink, and desserts, you have a wide variety of options when gifting local flavor; we are Midwest Living’s Greatest Midwest Food Town after all! Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery a leader in the local food movement, sells their award-winning goat cheeses as well as their gelato. They’ll also have other food options like their homemade jam, and local options from other area farmers. There’s a lot to love about our local makers, including the Center for Honeybee Research’s international choice for the World’s Best Honey at Curtis Orchard & Pumpkin Patch! It’s easy to make a coffee-lover happy this time of year with a single origin roast from Page Roasting Company, served at Flying Machine Avionics.

Feel confident gifting adults who enjoy a good drink with the best beer and wine our area has to offer! Between our local breweries, there is a porter, stout, or ale for everyone, and each location offers packaged beer to gift and give this holiday season! For the wine drinkers, Wyldewood Cellars is now making their Kansas-based wine right here in St. Joseph across from their storefront, so make sure to try their popular spiced Elderberry wine! You can also try flavors in the Champaign tasting room at Alto Vineyards before gifting a bottle to a loved one! Lastly, if you’re looking for a host or hostess gift, how about offering to bring a beautiful dessert that looks as good as it tastes! Hopscotch Bakery+Market always has amazing pastries behind the glass and gorgeous cakes and pies in the cooler! If you’d rather go the route of buying someone a gift card, many of our locally owned restaurants offer certificates for a meal they won’t soon forget!

Read All About It!

It’s tough to beat a great read during the winter months, so why not take advantage of some of the great book sellers we have in Champaign County? Three stories of adventures and timeless classics exist at the Jane Addams Book Store. in downtown Champaign. Every day starting on Small Business Saturday, a different section of the store will be discounted, with $25 gift cards coming with an addition $5 gift card included! In Monticello, Hartfield Book Company is specially curated to carry new books, unique, high-quality, book-related products and gifts, and a sure-fire way to please the bookworm in your life this holiday season. For vintage lovers and the philanthropic, Orphans Treasure Box doesn’t just stock some amazing secondhand finds, but also provides all proceeds to vulnerable kids and families in our area. If you have a friend who can’t stop watching Marvel movies in anticipation for the next wave of superhero epics, be sure to gift them something from G-Mart Comic Books to hold them over! Don’t worry DC and Image Comic fans – they’ve got you covered too, plus lots of indies and one-offs worth checking out!

Give the Gift of a Cozy, Comfy Home!

Is there any better feeling than adding a new, perfect-for-you decoration to your home? If you have someone who loves their home as much as you do, be sure to consider one of the greater Champaign County’s home stores. At Ms. Becky’s Country Primitive Gifts and Décor, you can find just about anything country-inspired you could think of! If you love gifting ornaments to anyone, this is definitely the place to come! St. Joseph’s Country Chics is also a wonderful place to find that cozy home décor you’re looking for, with favorites from Mudpie and more! For homemade bath and body products, make a trip to the Arthur General Store for bath bombs, lotions, and more from local makers. There are also plenty of other things sprinkled in that might make a great home-warming gift for recent college grads or newly moved friends and family. Speaking of, fans of mid-century décor and other retro home furnishings, Furniture Lounge is a great place to find a new chair, table, or piece from their collection of art and decorative items for the home. Heading to a party? Bring your host a gift from Flora Design Studio to show your gratitude and wow them with something they’ll want to use for their next party! Lastly, Yellow & Co. has a mix of fun and unique pieces to help people feel happy at home, Sale Street Boutique in Tuscola is full of fantastic collections of home décor and jewelry, and Monticello Mercantile, located off the historic square in Monticello, is a unique place to find the statement pieces you need to complete your living room, bedroom, and entire home.

Holiday Must-Haves for Active Friends and Family!

No matter if someone is looking to get fit or has been active for years, fresh gear from a local Champaign County retailer or specialty shop is a guaranteed winner. Neutral Cycle on campus is perfect for those who love to bike or might want to start riding into the new year. If they’re looking to stay on foot, Body N’ Sole is a favorite of Christie Clinic Illinois Marathon runners for a reason - the shop sells clothing, socks, shoes, and more to get them ready for their next race. Let’s face it; running or biking in this weather is a bit rough between snow and cold temperatures, so make sure to give the gift of protection from the elements with a purchase from Champaign Outdoors. The store features a customizable winter jacket kiosk where you can choose the color, style, and everything in between you’re your own unique jacket. Plus, they are a great place to pick up gear for hiking, climbing, kayaking, and more. How about the gift of staying active indoors? A great option is a gift card to Urbana Boulders, the only climbing facility in Champaign County, no matter if they’re new to climbing or not. Plus, you can always grab a gift card or punch pass to facilities offered through the Champaign Park District and Urbana Park District!

Wow Your Kids for the Holidays!

If there’s one thing kids love about the holidays, it’s getting that new toy or game everyone’s talking about! Whether the latest and greatest is on a little one’s list in your life, or you want to surprise them with something Outside of Ordinary, there are a lot of local shops ready to help make this holiday successful! If your kids are up for a challenge, a puzzle or brainteaser from Dr. G’s Brainworks inside Market Place Mall is a great place to find something as fun as it is mind-melting! Have a gamer in the family? Live Action Games is at a new location in Downtown Champaign, and fully stocked with new hits for the Xbox One, PS4, and Nintendo Switch, as well as retro favorites. A sure-fire gift-giving favorite is Art Mart, ready to bring a smile to you kids’ faces with toys, puzzles, games, and fun activities for all ages. There’s nothing quite like a child’s imagination, so be sure to stop by Dallas & Co. to see if there’s a costume or prop that might help them live out their make-believe dreams! If you want an activity for older kids, grab a gift card to an area escape room like Brainstorm Escapes or CU Adventures in Time & Space to give them a real challenge! They can bring friends or take on the room with parents!

looks your friends and family will love!

If your list is calling for clothes and accessories, local shops are ready to help turn heads and style even the most fashion-challenged people on your list! From top names in style to finds you won’t believe, head to Bluebird Boutique in Urbana to find the latest and greatest gifts for women of all ages. For the classic looks and bold accessories everyone loves, Circles Boutique is a staple of Downtown Champaign and many wardrobes! Be sure to also stop by Checkered Moon for great pieces for the wardrobe, and don’t forget the guys in your life – they’ll be happy with something from Joseph Kuhn and Company no matter their style! Have a hat-lover on your list? Happy Jack Hat Co. features favorite brands and amazing products from local makers at their shop! Lastly, go big for that special someone with fine jewelry from Christopher & Co., freshly decorated with festive window displays to make shopping fun and fit for anyone you might need a gift for

“All is Pretty” with Local Art!

The local art scene is something we’re extremely proud of in the greater Champaign County area, and it also happens to make for a great array of sources of gifts! To start, if you have an artist at home, head to Art Coop for supplies to keep them creating into the new year. If you want to help someone add a feature piece to their home, Cinema Gallery, in the historic Princess Theatre in downtown Urbana, is the area’s largest fine art gallery. Over 70 professional artists around the Midwest showcase their work here, which gives you a lot to choose from to find that perfect gift, maybe even for yourself! How about art that’s a bit smaller – okay, A LOT smaller? Cammie Meerdink at Piper Pottery creates tiny houses that seem to create a magical village that were meant to be in the woods, a fitting visual for this time of year and the colder months. Local favorite Larry Kanfer and his art gallery make for a one-stop shop for home prints, books, calendars and more that display the beauty of the prairieland. Last but not least, consider something a bit more delicate from some glassmakers in our area! Cracked Glass offers classes, which you can gift for a memorable night out with friends or family, and Prairie Fire Glass does the same! Plus, Prairie Fire offers a number of pieces for sale in-house that can help complete any room of the house in style!

Loyal to Orange and Blue!

With a number of diehard Illini fans likely on your list, don’t overlook the easy win waiting for you with a U of I-centric gift! You can’t go wrong with the Illini Union Bookstore, stocked full of everything orange and blue. Same goes for two locations of GameDay Spirit, featuring official Illini wear for every season, occasion, and day of the week! T.I.S. The Illini Shop is also a campus favorite for cold-weather gear and fun Illini-themed gifts for coworkers and alumni in your life. Plus, don’t forget to give the gift of a live Illini sports experience with tickets to a game!

Thank You for the Music!

It’s only fair to say we have a number of ways to make the music lovers in your life happy this holiday season. For the rock stars in your life, Skins-N-Tins Drum Shop in downtown Champaign is a long-beloved haven for drummers, and guitarists can pick up new amps, music, and vintage guitars at The Upper Bout to help them go from the practice room to the big stage! Exile on Main St. has a massive selection of LPs and turntables for seasoned vinyl fans and See You CD & Vinyl offers great options for new and old ways of listening! If you’re looking for a new speaker set-up, ARS Harmonia is a saving grace for audiophiles, featuring handmade, custom speakers that are sure to blow friends and family away! Champaign-Urbana is home to a killer music scene, which means the best gift might be tickets to an upcoming show! Pick up a gift card to Krannert Center for the Performing Arts to be used for any of their upcoming performances and check out shows heading to The Virginia Theater to scope out an Outside of Ordinary live experience!

 

Shop Chambana Proud

We all have community pride, so for that Chambana native on your gift list, check out our new line of t-shirts designed by local artists that celebrate all things Chambana. From the inventions of the modern web browser, whipped cream in a can, and super sweet corn, to general love of Chambana, we've got a t-shirt for everyone. Shop now!

Shopping Made Easy in the Greater Champaign County Area

The options are endless for shopping in Champaign County! Start shopping now without the hassle of big box stores and generic gifts by choosing local this holiday season!

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