Local businesses offer holiday gift boxes

Wednesday, November 28, 2007 | 8:45 p.m. CST; updated 1:05 a.m. CDT, Friday, July 18, 2008

COLUMBIA — Columbia Locally Owned Retail and Services is selling gift boxes to help promote local gift-giving options this holiday season.

“The gift boxes contain an array of Columbia items and are representative of our city,” COLORS operational manager Ginny Chadwick said. “It is exciting to not have the same strip mall that you see across the country.”

The boxes, which cost $30 or $50, are available for purchase at five locations — Arsenic Leopard, Grill One 5, Root Cellar, Bluestem Missouri Crafts and Walt’s Bicycle, Fitness and Wilderness Co. Only 150 gift boxes are available.

The $50 boxes include a $10 COLORS gift certificate that can be used at any COLORS member business, “Explore Columbia” playing cards from Bluestem Missouri Crafts, socks from Walt’s Bicycle, Fitness and Wilderness Co., spices from Root Cellar, coffee from Uprise Bakery, biscotti from Cherry Street Artisan, honey from Walk-About Acres and body lotion from Kilgore’s Pharmacy.

The $30 boxes include a $10 COLORS gift certificate, a chocolate bar from Patric Chocolate, a treasure box from Arsenic Leopard, a spice blend from Hoss’s Market& Rotisserie and customized perfume oil from Makes Scents.

Lisa Suits, owner of Arsenic Leopard, said her store received the boxes, which she helped to assemble, Nov. 23 and has sold two so far. In her mind, there are two major benefits to buying locally.

“It is enormously better for our local economy because the money stays local,” Suits said. “Also, supporting local independent businesses makes the city more fun and keeps the neighborhood worth strolling through.”

The boxes are also very attractive and a great value, Suits said. She expects to sell more as the holiday season gets closer.

Kimberly Griffin, owner of Root Cellar, said she received her 40 boxes on Monday and has since sold four. She has the gift boxes on display and said she thinks the bright purple-and-red-colored packaging attracts attention.

It’s local businesses that keep Columbia unique, said Columbia resident Marsha Sergent, who shops at Bluestem Missouri Crafts.

“We should always support local businesses because it is good for our economy,” she said.

Mary Foutz, former schoolteacher and Sergent’s friend added, “I just love the atmosphere of downtown.”

COLORS produces an annual buying guide with a list of its member businesses organized by category. It’s available at the COLORS office, Suite 205, 5 S. Ninth St. Residents can also receive discounts by joining the local business alliance for $15 per year.

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