Holiday Gifting GiveBack ShopLocal ShopNapa Safely in Person and Online
By Lisa Adams Walter
The holiday season is well upon us, which means that this is also the season to give and receive. Of course, like most everything else, holiday shopping has changed.
Many businesses have suffered economically, with mandatory closures, reduced tourism, and the impact of income losses to so many locals who typically spend money year round. Naturally, businesses need our support more now than ever. Therefore, it is even more important to spend as many of our hard-earned dollars as possible, right here within our local economy.
This year, one of my personal goals is to give back by shopping local, and supporting the many businesses and restaurants that are critical to our community and economy. We are fortunate here in Napa. Up and down the valley there are plenty of local merchants open and ready to meet holiday giving needs. There is no need to possibly expose yourself to other regions, or travel out of town.
Gift seekers can find gifts everywhere in Napa. In addition to Downtown Napa, do not forget the shopping centers that include merchants and restaurants including Bel Aire in North Napa and Napa Crossing, The Grapeyard on Jefferson Street, River Park, South Napa Marketplace, First Street Napa, the entire length of Main Street from Napa Street to the Hatt Building, and the Oxbow Marketplace and Oxbox District.
Browsing through local shops and holiday shopping events always sparks holiday gift ideas, and for me, sets the tone of the season. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in-person shopping and dining experiences are a tad different. Dressing rooms are not always open, and a limited number of shoppers and diners are allowed inside establishments. This means that shopping this year will take advance planning, as well as an extra dose of patience, from sellers and buyers alike.
While most of us have opted to do some of our shopping online for years, this year at least a portion of shopping should likely be conducted on the phone or online for safe, socially-distanced reasons. Thankfully small business has moved online in a big way, and many local businesses now offer online shopping experiences and options to meet this important need.
If you have a favorite local shop or merchant, just do a quick online search. If they are not set up to service you online, give them a call to see if you can order over the phone. From floral arrangements to tasty treats, to personal gifts to restaurant gift cards, there is a perfect gift for everyone, and many can be delivered for a nominal fee or you can arrange for convenient, safe, touchless, curbside pick-up.
Some of my favorite gifts that are suitable for friends, family and colleagues are floral arrangements and wreaths, gifts baskets that include gourmet goods and wine, one-of-a-kind discoveries at antique shops, restaurant gift certificates for a future take-out order or date night, club memberships (ranging from wine clubs, to soothing meditation classes) and well as gift cards so that recipients may shop for themselves at clothing boutiques, book stores, shoe shops (one can never have enough shoes!) all from local businesses that can be visited or shopped via telephone or online.
Also located in Napa, and one of the coolest destinations to hit the downtown scene is Be Bubbly! on Second Street, the only wine lounge of the region dedicated to sparkling wine and champagne. Owner and Chief Bubblehead Erin Riley stated that locally-owned small businesses have been impacted heavily by COVID-19 health orders, which dramatically delayed the development and grand opening of her new business. “We started our build-out of Be Bubbly! on March 13 and opened the first week of September, so every purchase made right now ensures that we will be able to open another day!”
Be Bubbly!, a perfect site for celebrating at any time of the year, offers bubbles from around the globe by the glass, half-bottle or bottle, local bites to go with the wines, as well as bottles to go and super fun, bubble-inspired merchandise and jewelry (think Swarovski Crystal cuffs, dramatic drop earrings!). Limited online ordering is at BeBubblyNapa.com and curbside pick-up is always available, while the full list of wines and gifts as well as gift cards are all available by calling the lounge at 707-637-4532.
What’s hot this season for gifting? Riley, who curates wines from all over the globe, notes that gift sets of wines from around the world, as well as large-format magnums and vintage collections are very popular. For me, I cannot think of a better way to safely and locally shop, whether on the phone line, or online, than while sipping a glass of bubbly. Once done shopping, I would love to continue sipping while devouring a great read. A book that is!
The Napa Valley is home to several terrific bookstores, and I frequent both Copperfield’s and Napa Bookmine upvalley and downtown. I absolutely adore giving and receiving books. Pre-COVID I could get lost in a bookstore for hours, meandering about, checking out the spines. The gift of a book is thoughtful, meaningful, conveys a message, and offers a sensory and lasting experience too.
Naomi Chamblin, Owner of Napa Bookmine said that hottest selling title this year is President Barack Obama’s memoir, A Promised Land. Baking books, such as Baking at the 20th Century Cafe and Dessert Person, are also naturally in demand due to people spending most time at home.
Napa Bookmine offers online ordering, easy curbside pick-up and gift cards. “We have two types of gift cards. In-Store Gift Cards are physical cards that we can mail to anyone or keep on hold for someone to pick up. They can be purchased over the phone at 707-733-3199. Online Only Gift Certificates can be purchased online at NapaBookmine.com and are emailed automatically to the recipient along with a gift message. These certificates can only be used in our online shop.”
While Napa Bookmine has other locations at the Oxbow and in St. Helena, the main downtown location on Pearl Street is a particularly fun destination for a quick shop or order pickup. “Downtown Napa has such a fun mix of retail shops and fabulous restaurants,” Chamblin added, “We love sharing our block with Bui Bistro and Napa Valley Bike Shop.” The shop also delivers within Napa City limits for a nominal fee, and can ship almost anywhere else.
GOODS FOR GENTS
Just around the corner from Napa Bookmine, is gentleman’s clothier Williamson & Company on Main Street. Owner Jay Williamson, said that hot gifts this year include everyday wear. “With people working remotely and staying closer to home it’s all about comfort. Vests are always a hot item, not only due to our lifestyle but also our climate. Casual and comfortable enough to work at home or on a night out.” Williamson & Company offers telephone service, curbside service, delivery and gift cards. “As a clothing store we have a distinct advantage over online shopping. A shopper can feel the fabric, see the color, and get knowledgable input.” Visit WilliamsonAndCompanyNapa.com or call 707-224-5284,” Williams said.
LADIES LIFESTYLE COMES ALIVE
Soon after our lives were forever changed earlier this year, Boho Lifestyle on First Street, one of Napa’s most vibrant and innovative women’s boutiques, began a free video styling series that is available both on their website at ShopBohoLifestyle.com and YouTube channel.
At the Boho Lifestyle website a shopper can place orders that can be shipped or picked up curbside, take a store tour, order gifts, set up a virtual (or in person) styling session, and figure out their body type and which styles will be most flattering. Owner Indra Fortney who has a background in interior design, puts as much effort into the environment of the shop, as she does the merchandise.
What will shoppers find, whether they visit in person or online? “Comfortable, trendy, affordable clothing, a huge variety of jewelry, something we specialize in, ranging in inexpensive costume jewelry to handmade 14K gold. Unique handmade, fair trade products such as crocheted purses, alpaca scarfs, soy candles, and beaded jewelry,” Fortney reports. “Oh, and also hats and SHOES!“
Similar to what’s hot for the gents at Williamson & Company, Fortney mentions that this year ‘Sloungewear’ — stylish-but-comfortable clothing that can be lounged in is very on trend.
Shop local, it is important, “Because more than ever this year we need your support! It’s been a rough year with COVID and the fires. Your business supports the infrastructure of the community,” Fortney emphasized.
“As a small business you have to be adaptable, and as a Napa resident I think we should always look towards our small businesses first. They not only create a vibrancy downtown, but also offer a unique product mix while at the same time giving back to the community by donating in a myriad of ways,” Williamson added.
Chamblin stressed, “In these difficult times, it’s so important that we support each other. Shopping local means more dollars stay in our community, paying for our schools, our roads, keeping our neighbors and loved ones employed. If we want our locally-owned businesses to still be here at the end of the pandemic, we need to support them!”
”Shopping locally will ensure that we can continue to provide these options as well as to expand and build on them. Many local businesses are struggling to keep their staff employed and their bills paid so the support of the local community is needed more now than ever,” emphasized Riley.
Community support is essential this holiday season, likely more than ever. Please get online, on the phone, or safely out to support Napa businesses. Give back, shop local!