Alabama Makers

By shopping at locally owned and independent businesses in your area, you can enjoy a more personalized visit, as well as directly help your community and the environment.

According to The Huffington Post, local business generates 70 percent more local economic activity per square foot than national chain retail stores. This means that for every $100 spent at an independent business, $68 goes back to the local economy, as compared to $48 in local economy activity if shopping at a national chain. If every family in the U.S. spent an extra $10 a month at a locally owned, independent business instead of a national chain, over $9.3 billion would be directly returned to our economy.

Where you decide to shop can also make an impact on the environment. According to a CustomMade infographic, international shipping and transport results in one billion metric tons of CO2 produced, causes us to lose 15 million acres of land and 11 billion gallons of fuel is used per year. How can you help? Choosing local, independent makers, who cut down on processing, packaging and transportation waste and also give back to the local economy.

Where can you find local makers in Alabama? Here’s a list of local, independent makers in West Alabama for your 2016 holiday shopping needs.

Metal & Lights, located in Brent, Alabama, in Bibb County, is a family-owned, locally crafted business. Specializing in custom projects, Metal & Lights works with copper, stainless steel, aluminum, brass and steel to create beautiful marquee letters and signs. A sign from Metal & Lights is perfect for the decorator in your family or a high school senior about to decorate their dorm room.

In Hale County, HERO works as a catalyst for community development in the Alabama Black Belt to end rural poverty. HERO sells bamboo bikes, bike kits and offers workshops to learn how to build your own bike. While the bikes are a bit on the pricier side, you know that in addition to the benefits of shopping local, you’re also directly contributing to ending poverty in your community.

For the perfect summer barbecue, stop by Eutaw Hardwood Dimension Co. in Greene County. It offers 100 percent Pure Hickory Sawdust, used for smoking meat and flavorful barbecue. Another option is the Hickory Chip Nuggets for a backyard barbeque. Family owned and operated in Eutaw since 1956, Eutaw Hardwood also ships all over.

Golden Eagle Syrup was created in 1928 and has been a favorite of generations of families since then. Still produced in Fayette, Alabama, Golden Eagle Syrup offers enjoyable and affordable syrup unlike any other. Golden Eagle Syrup isn’t just limited to pancakes and waffles; recipes for pecan pie, beans, barbecue sauce, caramel corn and cookies are listed on the website as well.

Moving over to Tuscaloosa County, Tuscaloosa presents a couple options for local shopping. For the craft beer fanatic, Band of Brothers merchandise is the way to go. Band of Brothers is so named because it’s a family affair – brothers Jeremy and Jeremiah Donald, along with close family friend Quintin Brown partnered on the brewery. The brothers’ grandfather, Jimmie Lee James, who taught the brothers how to make muscadine wine on a farm in rural Choctaw Bluff, inspired the men on the journey to the brewery. With a variety of price points, Band of Brothers merchandise includes stickers, T-shirts, polo shirts, Goblet or pint glasses or hats.

From birthday parties to potlucks to a catered event, Edgar’s Bakery is the perfect place at which to stop. From cupcakes and cakes to cookies and squares, there is no wrong decision when choosing between Edgar’s baked goods. Edgar’s Bakery was founded in 1998 in Birmingham, Alabama by a husband and wife team. They established and expanded what is now repeatedly noted as Birmingham’s premier bakery in publications like Birmingham News, Birmingham Weekly, and Parent’s Connect, from one location to six locations across the state. Edgar’s is a special treat to local Alabamians when its reputation for delicious cakes has spread throughout the Southeast and brought in customers from all over the country.

As for children’s gifts, Amos the Dog books are a wonderful option to support the local economy and encourage a love of reading in young minds. Named in the Top Ten Indie Children’s Books in 2015, Amos the Dog was written by Margaret Lower, who was inspired by her own dog. Amos the Dog products include children’s books, board books, Amos the Dog plush toy and a coloring and activity book based off the book Amos Likes To Jump.

With the knowledge of the impact of local shopping, there is no reason to go anywhere else. Support the local economy and help the environment, all while buying gifts for you and your loved ones.

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