10 places to shop local for the holidays in Northeast Indiana

The holiday shopping season is in full swing. As retailers across the U.S. experience supply chain shortages and shipping delays this winter due to the pandemic, you might find yourself wondering where you can get local gifts. 

Supporting local businesses helps boost the regional economy, too. American Express estimates that for every dollar spent at a small business in the U.S., about 67 cents stays in the local community (compared to only 45 cents when spending at a big box store).

Finley Wretling, 9, looks for presents for friends and parents at Spoonful of Sugar in Roanoke.

So as a writer for Input Fort Wayne, I took it upon myself to help you find some of the best places to shop local in Northeast Indiana.

Here are 10 places you can find unique gifts for everyone on your list. 
  1. Fancy & Staple at 1111 Broadway in Fort Wayne (and its sister shop Hopscotch House at 1301 Broadway)

A longtime Fort Wayne favorite, Fancy & Staple has funny, sarcastic, and quirky "uncommon goods," as described by its owner, Taber Olinger. It also focuses on local and independent artists when stocking its inventory, so its shelves are full of one-of-a-kind finds that will delight your friends and family, from candles to jewelry to office and kitchen gadgets.

For plant lovers, you can find an amazing selection of live air plants and cute pot stakes with sayings, like, "I wet my plants," that are sure to get a chuckle. If you’re sending holiday cards this year, be sure to check out their stationery selection stocked with the popular Rifle Paper Company brand. 

Hopscotch House will carry items from small-batch makers, handmade pieces, locally made goods, and art.

Right across the street from Fancy & Staple is its sister company, Hopscotch House, which Olinger also owns. Hopscotch House is Fort Wayne's very own magical local toy shop. Adults might catch a whiff of nostalgia while searching for gifts for the kids in their lives. There is a vast selection of toys, apparel, arts and crafts, and games, ranging from magic kits to vintage scooters to adorable onesies that say, "hi, I'm new here." 
  1. Reading Room Books at 264 S. Wabash St. in Wabash
Books for sale at Reading Room Books at 264 S. Wabash St. in Wabash.

If you are looking for a distinctive, unique present for the bookworm in your life, check out Reading Room Books in historic downtown Wabash. This must-see shop is the largest used bookstore in Indiana! It has three rooms filled to the brim with books on topics of all kinds, ranging from classics to newer literature. It even has rare and out-of-print books, as well as vinyl LPs you can listen to before buying. Just be sure you schedule enough time to scour the shelves and stay awhile.

Manager Ray Daniels works the counter at Reading Room Books at 264 S. Wabash St. in Wabash.
  1. A Spoonful of Sugar at 138 1st St. in Huntington County
Finley Wretling, 9, looks for presents for friends and parents at Spoonful of Sugar in Roanoke.

For the person on your list who’s difficult to buy for, A Spoonful of Sugar might do the trick. That’s the name of a whimsical, real-life Candy Land shop in Roanoke that has unique, sweet treats for people of many ages and tastes. Chocolate, sweet, sour, fruity, and salty flavors line the shelves of this colorful, old-fashioned candy shop. The store mixes older candies with newer varieties, so you can always find something different to try. Plus, they have lots of tiny, individually wrapped treats that make great stocking stuffers.

The taffy display at Spoonful of Sugar at 138 1st St. in Roanoke.
  1. Olive Branch at 1003 E. Canal St. in Warsaw
The Olive Branch at 1003 E. Canal St. in the Village at Winona Lake.

For the chef in your life, gift them something that tastes good—and is good for you. The Olive Branch carries a wide variety of olive oils and balsamic vinegar that are the freshest and finest quality available. Their many unique flavors, like apricot balsamic vinegar or bacon extra virgin oil, are a sure-fire way to upgrade any dish on your menu. Along with their famous oils and vinegar, which you can taste test in the shop, the Olive Branch also offers specialty seasonings and pasta sauces. Check them out, and make a day of it at the scenic shops at the Village at Winona Lake.
  1. Heartstrings Lather Up at 164 N. Main St. in Huntington County
Heartstrings Lather-Up is located at 164 N. Main St. Roanoke.

The holiday season is full of joy, spirit, and dry skin in Indiana. So treat yo'self and your family to Heartstrings Lather Up’s all-natural skincare products. Jeannie, the owner, created this skincare line after discovering the harsh chemicals in her daughter's soap and shampoo. As a result, Lather Up manufactures its products with organic and American-made ingredients, the most delicate fragrances, and vegetable oils instead of animal fats or second-rate oils. Lather Up's skincare line includes body lotions, body butters, hydrating mists, lip balms, sheet sprays, and soaps. In addition, their products come in a variety of cozy winter smells, like cashmere, lavender, black raspberry vanilla, orange vanilla, and more. If you want to give your friends and family the full treatment, try one of their four gift box options.
  1. Poptique at 4202 W. Jefferson Blvd. in Fort Wayne, 127 W. Wayne St., or 120 W. Walker Way in Columbia City
In addition to its usual flavors, Poptique offers special seasonal flavors, too.

Ever wanted to send someone a lump of coal or a bag of snowman poo for Christmas? Now you can! Poptique Gourmet Popcorn, which has three locations in Northeast Indiana, is home to some of the funniest, most unique (and delicious) flavors of popcorn you’ll find. This year, they’re offering "naughty" and "nice" gourmet popcorn gift boxes. The "naughty" box includes flavors like the aforementioned "Lump O' Coal" Black Cherry, "Snowman Poo" Vanilla, and "Reindeer Droppings" Cocoa. The "nice" box includes flavors, like Christmas Cookie, Apple Cinnamon, and Peppermint Bark. Maybe you need one of each? Whatever you choose, these beautifully wrapped bags and gift boxes make great treats for your teachers, bosses, coworkers, friends, and frenemies. 

Gary Hively is the owner of Poptique Gourmet Popcorn.
  1. House to Home at 110 W. Columbia St. #101 in Fort Wayne

Deck the halls with wall art, shelf decor, vases, candles, greenery, blankets, and more this holiday season at House to Home. During the pandemic, many people are buying houses or moving, so help them warm their new place with a gift from this cozy shop on The Landing downtown. House to Home offers homewares in rustic, modern, boho, and contemporary styles. They also sell local art, like prints of the Fort Wayne skyline, for your local aficionados. 

House to Home sells a variety of furniture and home decor.

8. Tiny Threads at 47 W. Market St. in Wabash

A clothing display at Tiny Threads at 47 W. Market St. in Wabash.

Keep the kids in your life in style with both name and local brands at the Tiny Threads children's boutique in downtown Wabash. This shop is located in the cool revived Market Walk Alley, and it carries sizes ranging from newborn to tween. They have a wide variety of looks to style little ones from head to toe with tees, jeans, dresses, bows, hats, shoes, teethers, and more. The threads at this shop are top-quality, too, so even the most bustling babies can keep on chugging without their clothes tearing or snagging.  

Bows on display at Tiny Threads at 47 W. Market St. in Wabash.
  1. Elysian Co. at 110 E. Center St. in Warsaw
Sales Manager Rileigh Zickafoose helps a customer check out at Elysian Co. at 110 E. Center St. in Warsaw.

If you are shopping for a fashionista, stop at the Elysian Co. boutique in downtown Warsaw, where you’ll find beautiful, trendy clothing, accessories, and home décor, carefully curated to fit many styles (with a few options for the fellas, too). For those who love fitness, there are stylish cycling shorts and matching henley bra tops. Elysian has everything from faux patent leather leggings to cozy knits, edgy graphic tees, and distressed jeans. Their dress collection will please women of many sizes, shapes, and styles, too. If you don't know her style, grab a gift card so she can experience this boutique herself. Trust us: She’ll want to!

Elysian Co. at 110 E. Center St. in Warsaw features a wide variety of gift options.

10. David Talbott Collection at 532 W. Berry St. in Fort Wayne

Owner David Rabideau helps guests Vienne and Tony Didier while shopping at David Talbott Collection at 532 West Berry St.

This haberdashery men's boutique offers an array of men's apparel and grooming products. The David Talbott Collection is the go-to men's store to make him look, feel, and smell good. If he is all business, pick him up a vintage sports jacket. For those who like to accessorize, a cashmere scarf will make for an excellent stocking stuffer. If he wants a little flair to his style, pick him up a funky pair of Happy Socks to rock with his favorite outfit. In addition to apparel, David's also offers quirky grooming products, such as its "Big Ass Brick of Soap," or those with beards may be enticed to try its beard oil. And if you have any questions, the shop’s owner and namesake, David Rabideau, is the most knowledgeable and helpful salesman you’ll find!

Men's grooming products at David Talbott Collection.

Well, that’s all for now. Just remember, when you shop locally, your money goes directly into the hands of Fort Wayne area families and pours growth back into our regional economy. Many local shops have been hit hard by the pandemic, and they depend on us locals to help them thrive. So this year, help your neighbor and your community by shopping small. 

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