Archive by Author

Valentine’s Day in Downtown Blacksburg

6 Feb The_350_Project_LocalsLoveYouMore_VALENTINE_Email

With just a week to go until Valentine’s Day we thought you might enjoy a round-up of some of the great deals downtown to make the day extra sweet for your special someone! And don’t forget to Love your Community by shopping small for Valentine’s Day this year!

The_350_Project_LocalsLoveYouMore_VALENTINE_Email

Gifts Galore

Valentines-Day-background_mainAureus Jewelry
Stop by Aureus Jewelry and register to win a heart shaped garnet pendant necklace to be given away on Valentine’s Day! We are offering 60% off all in stock jewelry from now until Valentine’s Day

Fringe Benefit
Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. Come in to see our beautiful jewelry just in from Brighton! There is a wonderful selection to choose from!

Heirloom Originals
First 10 customers on February 14th receive free gift
Vintage Valentine displays and beautiful costume jewelry
Free Valentines day gift wrap
20% off any red or pink item in store…

Mad Dog
Serving Hershey’s kisses and a 14% discount on selected items. Beautiful heart necklaces and earrings in stock for that special day

Matrix Gallery
American made pottery, glass, jewelry, wood, leather goods, and more. Offering you the very best in Valentine’s Day treats!

P Buckley Moss Gallery
The gallery has released a new print especially for Valentine’s Day. They also have a collection of many other subjects suitable for valentine gifts.

Polished by Claire v.
Send your heart this Valentine’s day with a polished gift basket. Call us at 904-6868 to order your baskets by February 12th!

Uncommonly Gifted
Valentine’s Day is nearly here so stop in to browse the very best selection of cards and unique & unusual gifts for your sweetie! Blacksburg is for Lovers t’s, hoodies and totes make the perfect Valentine Gift!

Special Experiences

Clay Corner Inn
Great Valentine’s special and any weekend stay at the Clay Corner Inn.dsa
Weekend Healing Retreat Package- 2 nights, 2 people plus a Reiki Session each- $447 plus tax

Eucalyptus Massage Therapy
Free Olive Oil & Aloe Vera foot massage with any service purchased in February!

Isn’t it Romantic? A Dinner Concert
Saturday, February 14
Dinner Buffet & Musical Revue with Catherine Breske & Quartet
The Village Center, Warm Hearth Drive
Reservations- contact mbaker@warmhearth.org

Lyric Theatre
February 14- The Virginia Center for Civil War Studies invites you to a free screening of Young Mr. Lincoln 1:00–4:30 p.m. The afternoon will include a post-screening Q & A with VT Department of History professors Kimberly Kutz and Paul Quigley.

 Regular Movie for Saturday Night- showing- The Imitation Game at 7pm & 9:15pm 

Main Street Inn
Make A Night Of It- 10% discount on room rate for Valentine’s Day
Enjoy a complimentary bottle of Wine!
Call 540-552-6246 to reserve your room today

NRV Pilates, Personal Training & Massage
Valentines special – buy 1 hot stone massage for $55 and get a free Pilates Personal Training session.

Say it with Food

Beliveau Estate Winery
February 14- Chocolate inspired “Wine and Dinner Pairing”, 6:30pm. $65 per person, reservations required: 540-315-5674

Ceritano’s
Valentines Day dinner special
Appetizer or salad
Grupper al limone or
Assagini di pasta
Dessert
Bottle Motepulciano or Trebbiano
$65 plus tax and gratuity

Café de Bangkok
February 14 features a Thai style Valentine special menu.

Gobble Cakes
Cupcakes with flowers for Valentine’s Day! $4 each

Gourmet Pantry
Saturday Feb. 14: A special Valentine’s Wine tasting from 12 – 4pm.
Celebrate Valentine’s Day at Gourmet Pantry with an evening of romance in the kitchen, featuring a menu of decadent recipes you’re both sure to enjoy! We select the highest quality meats available and the freshest ingredients, with a different wine specially paired to perfectly compliment each dish. Join us for this exquisite evening of sumptuous food, fine wine, and romance! $110 per person. Limited space, so book your reservation early! Saturday February 14, 6:00pm.

Next Door Bake Shop
Make your Valentine’s Day Gifts count twice! Order from us on February 9th and 10% of sales will be donated to the Price’s Fork Elementary School!
What’s that? You’ve got it covered?! Don’t need help making your valentine feel special? That’s okay!
Come in and join us for lunch, dinner, coffee, or your choice of treat and we’ll donate 10% of our daily sales!

Social House
Busy on Valentine’s Day? Join us at Social House, on February 10th, for lunch or an early Valentine’s Day Dinner and 10% of sales will go to Price’s Fork Elementary School.

Travel in Style  

Take the Hooptie Ride!

To schedule a pick-up, call:
(540) 449-DRIV(3748)
Our drivers are on-call daily morning to late night. Other times are available by appointment.
Call ahead for best service!

Happy-Valentines-Day-Photos

A student’s eye view…

20 Jan

By: Abigail Rausch

Being a Virginia Tech student, I’m not as creative as I tend to think when it comes to some things. When I want to shop, I look online; when I want a cup of coffee, I go to Starbucks; and when I’m hungry, I eat Chipotle or Panera Bread. I’m sure a lot of students can agree with me, we get caught up in the rush of life and stick with what we know, what we’re used to. So what’s wrong with shopping on the same websites and eating the same foods if we know that 9 times out of 10, we’ll like our results? I never used to think there was anything “wrong” with that, and I think most students feel the same as I did. Truthfully, this is only because most people don’t know the many possibilities and options Downtown Blacksburg has to offer, and I am just now recognizing them.

In the Downtown Blacksburg area, there are tons of options for shopping and dining that a lot of students seem to overlook, at least, I know I did. We all know that Blacksburg isn’t the most “eventful” place, so in our leisure time we might stay in, order a pizza, and surf the web. We do all this while a lively and exciting downtown sits less than a mile away, perfectly stocked with the means to fulfill all of our wants and needs.

One day last semester I was put in a situation where I had to enter each and every business in the downtown area, and it was then that I realized I was missing out on so many wonderful aspects of downtown Blacksburg. Since that eye opening experience, whenever I want to hang out with friends or family, I love to spend the evening downtown. Throughout my many recent adventures downtown, I was surprised by the diverse food options a lot of restaurants offered, as well as the fun, interactive environments.

The restaurants aren’t the only great things about the downtown area, and with one walk down Main Street, anyone would agree. The local shops downtown carry unique items that you couldn’t find just anywhere else. Remarkably, they carry practically anything a college student or any other customer could want for all occasions. Exploring each and every store in the downtown area was a great experience and left me stunned with what I found, and happy I took the time to do it.

My new go to place for shopping and dining is downtown Blacksburg. Why don’t you join me? I think you’ll be surprised and excited at what you find.

 

Abigail Rausch is a Sophomore at Virginia Tech. She is double majoring in Marketing and Fashion Merchandising & Design. Abigail is currently working as a part time work study Intern for Downtown Blacksburg, Inc.

 

Here comes the sun…here comes the FUN!!!

7 Apr 19

April showers bring May flowers, spring has truly arrived!! And with spring our thoughts turn to sunshine, to social time to FUN!! Summer is a fun-filled busy time in downtown Blacksburg so we think you need to mark your calendars now and SAVE THE DATES!

Saturday, May 3, 5-10pm- 2nd annual Horseshoes & Hats: A Kentucky Derby Casino Night
In Kent Square
Tickets available NOW online only at: http://www.downtownblacksburg.com/casino_night.aspx
The event will include viewing the Kentucky Derby, heavy hors d’oeuvres, a Fancy Hat contest and Casino games- Craps, Roulette, Blackjack, Texas Hold ‘em, and River City Horse Racing. Must be 21 or older to attend.

 
Tuesday May 27, 6:02pm- CASH MOB for Mental Health America
Meeting place To Be Announced

We meet, the secret locally owned businesses to target are announced and off we go!
Rules:
1) Spend up to $20
2) Meet 3 new people
3) HAVE FUN!

Tuesday June 17, 5:48pm Cash Mob
Meeting place to be announced

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Saturday, June 21, 1pm-11:30pm- Summer Solstice Fest
Main Street and Lee Street
Featuring Burnt Creative Craft & Vintage Market, Downtown Sundown 5k® Race, carnival, sand beach, live music, dog parade, petting zoo, and so much more.

Tuesday July 15, 6:12pm Cash Mob
Meeting place to be announced

Saturday July 19, 8am-2pm Art at the Market with Breakfast at the Farmers Market
Juried Art show and sidewalk sale featuring at least 30 local artists.
Take in a little breakfast with your art, as well as enjoying a bustling day at the Farmers Market. Live music included!

Friday-Saturday August 1-2, 10am-10pm STEPPIN’ OUT!
Crafters, art, sidewalk sales, live music and entertainment, family, food FUN!!!

Monday, August 18, 6:06pm Cash Mob
Meeting place to be announced

We have a few more activities and events up our sleeves so keep watching our website: http://www.downtownblacksburg.com/events.aspxor our facebook https://www.facebook.com/DowntownBlacksburg

Top 5 reasons for attending Horseshoes & Hats

14 Mar HH-logo-w-tag

With the 2nd Annual Horseshoes & Hats, Kentucky Derby Casino Night fast approaching we thought it would be fun to give you our Top Five reasons why you should attend. So in true David Letterman style here we go…..

#5- Fabulous Prizes
We have a fantastic variety of prizes ready for you to win including hotel packages, beautiful jewelry, massages, wine baskets and so much more.Holly

 

#4- Fancy Hat Contest
Dust off your best hat, buy a new one or create your own. Entry in the Fancy Hat Contest is included in the incredible reasonable ticket price ($35 single or $60 couple). For the men there is also a Best Dressed Gent contest. You will have your work cut out to beat last year’s winners who intend to make it a double!hh1

 

#3- Casino Games
Casino Games provided by Massino’s Casinos including Black Jack, Texas Hold ‘em, Roulette, and the ever popular Craps. A fun favorite of the evening is the River City Horse Racing.

 

#2- Watching the Kentucky Derby on the big screen
While dhh2rinking a Mint Julip with 200 of the most fun people in Blacksburg…..what more do we need to say?!!!

 

 

And the #1 reason to attend the event….An AWESOME great time!!!
HH

Did we miss anything? Tell us your Top Reason for coming to Horseshoes & Hats. We’ll even give away a FREE ticket to the event for the best answer!

For more information about the event please visit

http://www.downtownblacksburg.com/casino_night.aspx

Student gallery showcased in monthly Art Walk

17 Oct

Though Blacksburg has a multitude of art galleries downtown, only one is soley managed by students.

 

 XYZ Art Gallery is the student-run gallery located on Main Street. It was founded by Studio Art students 20 years ago as a way to showcase their talent.

 

 “It’s kind of like a safe haven for studio artists to show their work in a public setting,” said Carson Bendel, president of XYZ Art Gallery.

 

 Students control every aspect of the gallery. Faculty advisors give some guidance, but students decide the shows, contact artists and organize events.

 

 “It’s a lot of fun because anything that anyone wants to do, we make it happen,” Bendel said.

 
Students who wish to submit work do not need to be art majors, and they are also encouraged to participate in running the gallery.
 
All artists, students or community members, are welcome to submit their work to the gallery for display at any time. The only requirements for a piece of work are for them to be finished and either matted or framed for display.
 
XYZ displays a variety of art mediums from paintings, drawings, sculptures, ceramics to new media. Animations have been shown using projectors, and performance art has been showcased occasionally as well.
 
In addition to displaying visual art, XYZ hosts musical performances, open mic nights, poetry readings and movie nights. The space is transformative, however, and is open to for other types of events as well.
 
“We had a meditation last semester,” Bendel said. “We’re gonna start doing yoga in the gallery.”
 
Intermediate yoga classes will be held at the gallery every Wednesday at 6:00 p.m. for anyone to participate.
 
The current show in the gallery is Capital Vices Collection by Meggalif. It was the first show this semester and will be on display during today’s First Friday Art Walk.
 
“XYZ hadn’t been involved in this event a whole lot in the past,” Bendel said. “But it’s definitely something we’re looking forward to being involved in.”
 
The first Friday of each month, art galleries in Blacksburg hold an opening for a new artist or exhibit. Laureen Blakemore, director of Events in Downtown Blacksburg, helped organize it into a larger event known as the First Friday Art Walk.
 
The Art Walk starts at 5:00 p.m. and ends at 8:00 pm.
 
“The idea was to make it more public, let people know what was going on, and to bring people down into the galleries and stores so they could find out about these great art galleries,” Blakemore said.
 
Recently the Art Walk changed its format to a self-guided tour. The idea was modeled after a gallery in Ashville, N.C. that Blakemore visited as a part of the Downtown Revitalization Committee.
 
Brochures for the tour include information about each gallery participating, as well as a map of where each gallery can be found.
 
“We came back and worked with the Blacksburg Partnership and modeled our brochure on that idea. People can pick that up at any time and know where the galleries are,” Blakemore said.
 
Brochures are available in downtown stores, the Virginia Tech Visitor’s Center and participating galleries.
 
Not every participating location is a traditional gallery. Other venues include the Blacksburg Public Library, Bollo’s Café & Bakery, Eucalyptus Massage Center, Mish Mish, Inc., Gillie’s Vegetarian Restaurant, Mill Mountain Coffee & Tea and Pita Vera.
 
Groups of attendees range from families with young children to students to senior citizens.
 
“It fosters being local and enjoying your downtown,” Blakemore said.
 
Gallery owners and managers want more people to see and experience the downtown art culture.
 
“It’s definitely our goal to promote art in the community,” Bendel said. “I just want people to know that XYZ exists and that we’re doing really cool things.”
 
On Oct. 10, XYZ will open their Sci-Fi and Fantasy show with a reception running from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m.
 

A version of this article appeared in the Oct 4 issue of the Collegiate Times.

First Friday Art Walks
Take a self-guided Tour of all of the Gallery Spaces in Blacksburg anytime you like but on the following First Fridays participating Galleries will remain open until 8pm.
Friday October 4
Friday December 6
Gallery Guide & Art Walk brochures available in downtown stores, the Virginia Tech Visitor’s Center and participating galleries. Get details here: http://www.downtownblacksburg.com/art_at_market.aspx

Cash Mob Incorporates Buy, Eat Live Local Campaign

7 Oct

Post Written by Megan Campbell

Blacksburg, Va.— Locals of all ages gathered at Henderson Lawn on Wednesday evening, Sept. 26 for the monthly Cash Mob and incorporated Blackburg’s Buy, Eat, Live Local Campaign.

The participants, who included a variety of age groups, consisting of young children to seniors, waited patiently until 6:08 p.m. when the Cash Mob details were announced.

At the right time, Laureen Blakemore, Director of Downtown Blacksburg, Inc. announced that the group would be “mobbing” Mish Mish, a local art supply store, and Cafe de Bangkok, a modern Thai cuisine restaurant. After, the group would join in on the fun at the Crooked Road Presentation at Market Square Jam.

Drumroll Please: Laureen Blakemore, Director of Downtown Blacksburg, Inc. shares to the crowd where they will be venturing to that evening. The Cash Mob visited Mish Mish and later ate at Cafe de Bangkok. Photo by Megan Campbell

Drumroll Please: Laureen Blakemore, Director of Downtown Blacksburg, Inc. shares to the crowd where they will be venturing to that evening. The Cash Mob visited Mish Mish and later ate at Cafe de Bangkok. Photo by Megan Campbell

 Drumroll Please: Laureen Blakemore, Director of Downtown Blacksburg, Inc. shares to the crowd where they will be venturing to that evening. The Cash Mob visited Mish Mish and later ate at Cafe de Bangkok.

Each month, locals meet at a specific location in Downtown Blacksburg, not knowing where they will venture to that evening.

There are only three rules to the Cash Mob. Participants are asked to bring a minimum of $20, meet three new people and have fun.

A unique aspect of Blacksburg’s Cash Mob is that local non-profits are sometimes involved.

This time, the cash mob donated canned food and granola bars to Micah’s Backpack, a non-profit that address children’s hunger issues.

“Micah’s Backpack is Blacksburg’s weekend feeding program for low income kids at the five elementary schools, middle school, high school and two income-based pre-schools,” said Jennie Hodge, Director of Micah’s Backpack. “This is the second time that the Cash Mob has donated to Micah’s Backpack.”

Off They Go: The Cash Mob makes its way to the first stop, Mish Mish, a local art supply store. People of all ages were able to find several things to buy. Photo By Megan Campbell

Off They Go: The Cash Mob makes its way to the first stop, Mish Mish, a local art supply store. People of all ages were able to find several things to buy. Photo By Megan Campbell

For many locals, the Buy, Eat, Live Campaign is an important aspect to daily life in Blacksburg.

The monthly cash mob incorporates all three parts of the campaign, simply within a few hours of being downtown.

Cash mobbers are given the opportunity to buy at local stores, eat at local restaurants and are able to enjoy and participate in activities where they live, while giving back to the community.

For more information on Micah’s Backpack or the Blacksburg Cash Mob, visit www.micahsbackpack.org or www.facebook.com/DowntownBlacksburgCashMobs.

Please join us on Wednesday, October 23 at 6:12pm for the next Cash Mob
Meeting Place : Benches in front of Mike’s Grill
Partnering with the YMCA. Family Friendly event so bring the kids!

Heavener Hardware offers True Value!

26 Apr ??????????

Post written by Cyndy Graham

Heavener Hardware has a long history of serving the town of Blacksburg. Blacksburg Lumber Company started out in the Blacksburg library building on Draper Road before moving to 813 Kabrich Street in 1980. The company became Heavener Hardware and Lumber when David Heavener bought the business in 1983.  Current co-owner Charles Woerner starting working there four days later. Current store manager Ed brought Charles to work with him at Heavener. Previously, they were both employed by Basic Hardware (formerly Western Auto). Basic Hardware is no longer around, but used to be located on Main Street in downtown Blacksburg. Obviously, there is a wealth of knowledge and experience to be found at Heavener Hardware that you will not find at the “big box” stores. The prices are also comparable, and the great service adds to the value.

Charles, a 1982 Virginia Tech business management graduate, thinks that in addition to being a great place to have a business, Blacksburg’s overall quality of life can’t be beat!   Charles and his wife, a Blacksburg native, decided to stay in Blacksburg because of the great school system, temperate climate, and small town atmosphere; the same attributes that still attract people to the area. Despite the dearth of department store shopping, which has been helped in some respect by the addition of First and Main, Charles believes that the town does a good job helping businesses get noticed and keeping businesses informed of recent developments. New additions to Virginia Tech, such as the new arts center, and downtown improvements such as the College Avenue Promenade project, all contribute to making Blacksburg a progressive community, while still preserving the small town atmosphere that people love so much.

Heavener Hardware’s major affiliation is the True Value brand. True Value is one of the major co-ops in the hardware industry providing buying power while allowing local ownership and autonomy. The store employs 24 people with an average of 16 years of service. Some employees have been in the industry for over 40 years, guaranteeing that if you need expert advice on a project you are sure to get just what you need! The Rental Store offers equipment from hand tools all the way up to Bobcats. Rentals are available from 1 hr to as long as you need the equipment.

Charles Woerner is currently serving as the Board President for Downtown Blacksburg, Inc. He is in his second term on the DBI Board and is an extremely active member of the organization which Heavener joined about 4 years ago. Heavener Hardware has a cardboard compactor available for public use to recycle cardboard as part of the Downtown Blacksburg, Inc. GREEN Initiative.

Heavener Hardware was host to a Cash Mob on Saturday March 9, 2013. For more about our monthly downtown Cash Mobs please visit our facebook page.

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Take the Easy Way!

8 Mar

Easy Way Packaging Center

Post written by Cyndy Graham

Easy Way Packaging Center has been at 610 North Main Street since 1985, when Charlotte Joyce and her husband built the multi-space building and started their business. A fixture on Main Street, Cathy Taylor bought the business in 2005. ??????????
Today, Cathy, Charlotte, and long-time employee Daryl, operate the business, which offers mailbox rentals and notary services in addition to packaging and shipping. In fact, Easy Way is the only FedEx shipping location in Blacksburg. However, Cathy would like everyone to know that FedEx is not always the best option in terms of price and delivery time. UPS can offer comparable service and price depending on the destination, and UPS also offers overnight delivery. FedEx pick-up times are 4pm, 5pm, and 5:30pm during the week. An insider tip that might help you is that you do not need to rush to get your package to the store early! No matter how early in the day a package is dropped off at the store, the pick-up times stay the same.

??????????One of the many advantages of shipping with Easy Way, is the safety and security they provide. Each shipment is automatically insured. Although there are rarely problems, if a problem does arise, the team at Easy Way does the work for you to arrive at a solution. Cathy describes herself as a “people person,” and this fact is quite evident. She is warm and friendly, and this comes across in the way she does business. In fact, over the holidays a customer was so impressed when she informed him that he could ship his item at the post office for lower cost, he took to the blogosphere to commend her for her honesty.

Another advantage of shipping with Easy Way is parking. A hard-to-come-by luxury in downtown! There is ample parking available, and they can pull up to the curb to unload.  You can bring your package ready to ship, or the team at Easy Way can prepare it for you. They also have all of the supplies available if you choose to do-it-yourself. Operating hours are convenient (10-6 Monday-Friday and 10-2 on Saturdays). What can you ship? Almost anything! From tires to furniture to food, Cathy and her crew have seen it all. There are restrictions of course, and the knowledgeable staff is always there to assist you.??????????
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Easy Way Packaging Center is located at:

610 N.Main St

Blacksburg, VA 24060

Tel: 951-4351

Lia’s Hairstyling

8 Feb ??????????

Post written by Cyndy Graham
Lia’s Hairstyling has been at 107 North Main St. for 15 years. Lia and her daughter Luanda always keep their customer’s convenience in mind by scheduling walk-ins as well as appointments. Lia came to the US because she had family here. ??????????
First to upstate New York, and then, when Luanda was 5 years old, they moved to Blacksburg where her uncle was a student at Virginia Tech. Lured here by the small town atmosphere and good schools where Lia could raise her family, she started the business in 2003. Lia has been doing hair for many years, first in her native Brazil, and now in Blacksburg. After Luanda graduated from Blacksburg High School she joined her Mom. The salon also employs two other stylists.
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They believe that what sets Lia’s apart from other salons is the décor, the quality of their work, and their inclusive mentality. I was struck by the large space that was decorated in a modern, but homey style. There are beautiful wood floors, and brightly colored oil paintings by Luanda’s brother line the walls. They told me they always strive to make sure the customer is happy with the salon experience. They are so warm and likeable, I’m sure this is the case. They told me they don’t cater to one specific kind of hair, and are very adept at doing all kinds, which adds an international element to the business. I felt very comfortable walking in and sitting down and talking, very much as I would in someone’s home.??????????

Most of their clientele find Lia’s from referrals from other satisfied customers. I first heard of Lia’s when a friend had a pink streak put in her hair for breast cancer awareness. This is the third year that Lia’s has participated in the event, sponsored by the Virginia Tech Relay for Life. Luanda was approached by a member of the Relay for Life team with the hair streaking idea, which also happened to occur at time where she was dealing with the recent death of her fiancé to cancer. Of course, Luanda and Lia were onboard and they tell me the response has been overwhelming. People who were not interested in getting their hair done have also used the event as an opportunity to donate. In order to raise awareness for autism, one client requested a blue streak! Lia and Luanda plan to participate twice a year, once in March and once in October.
Lia’s is more than just a hair salon. It is a home away from home, a way to contribute to a cause you believe in, and a place to meet new friends!?????????? ??????????

Christmas shopping on a budget

19 Dec Stocking stuffers, toys, hats and more under $20 available at The Clothes Rack
Post written by Laureen Blakemore

Anybody who knows me well knows this fact about me: I DO NOT LIKE SHOPPING! And yes I will admit it- I am also VERY IMPATIENT!  I used to find Christmas  shopping to be a pain in the……. well you know what. Standing in line in crowded shops combined with the pressure to find exactly the right gift for each person on my list was not only frustrating to me, but was actually rather annoying.  Over the years Christmas shopping became an  exercise in frantically grabbing whatever I could find, as fast as I could find it and getting out of the door and back home as quickly as was humanly possible. Not much thought went into anyone’s gift. Friends or family members, who were unfortunate enough to come shopping with me, were usually left re-evaluating our relationship as they watched me turn into an impatient, obnoxious lunatic as I desperately tried to navigate my way through crowds and badly laid out aisles to find my way to the nearest cashier or doorway.

And now…….well I shop downtown, right here in Blacksburg.While I would certainly not pretend  that I suddenly find shopping to be my most favorite activity in the whole wide world ever, I have found that I can tolerate it a lot better and sometimes I actually even enjoy myself!
I hear a lot of people saying that it is too expensive to shop locally so today I set myself a challenge- to find out if it was possible to shop downtown for Christmas gifts that cost less than $20 each. Turned out to be a bigger challenge than I expected because there was just so much available to choose from. In many instances I found delightful gifts which cost less than $10 so now I am spoiled for choice!

So what brought about this change of heart in my shopping attitude I hear you asking?  Well really it’s probably down to 5 simple reasons and I  want to share those with you.

1) I now know our downtown store owners, and they know me. They are used to my “shopping phobia” and are quick to offer shopping advice if needed and equally quick to know when I just want to be left alone! I have never had to waste my time searching for a sales assistant to tell me the price of an item, or to find out if they have the size I need in stock. Downtown the sales assistants, or in many cases, the owners, are on hand almost immediately if a customer has a question. And there is certainly something to be said for shopping in the places where “everybody knows your name” (to quote from one of my favorite old shows “Cheers”)!

2)  Every time I go and shop downtown I can absolutely guarantee that I will bump into somebody I know in at least one store. So now in addition to purchasing items I can catch up with friends and acquaintances, swap ideas about gifts for you know who, whom they just happen to know too! Suddenly shopping is a much less daunting task, it’s a social experience and I truly do love to be sociable! Often the shopping trip becomes much more than that- how fun it is to catch up with others and maybe move on from the store to one of the great restaurants or to The Lyric to catch a movie, or on a sunny day to hang out together at Market Square Park.

3) Our downtown stores have more one-of-a-kind gifts, unique and unusual pieces as opposed to the mass-produced items that are found elsewhere. Our stores offer a more low-pressure shopping experience and so many different options, so I am able to spend more time finding gifts that really suit members of  my family and my friends.

4) In our downtown stores the staff  are more familiar with their merchandise, and offer personalized assistance  in a low stress environment. And if they do not carry something I am looking for they let me know where I can find it elsewhere!

5) Smaller stores = shorter lines= less waiting time. Enough said!

We all know by now, I hope, that supporting local business is beneficial to the local economy as well. According to a Nov. 22, 2011, Forbes article by Deborah Sweeney, for every $100 spent at a local business, $68 gets returned to the community, either in employee paychecks, or through taxes. An Oct. 21, 2011, U.S. News article by Rachel Koning Beals corroborates this claim, adding that, in comparison, one Chicago-based study found that only $43 of every $100 spent at chain stores remains in the local economy. Sweeney describes local businesses as “the backbone of the community”. When you spend your money locally, you are supporting the people who live next door, the people who know your name!

And so with all of this in mind back to my challenge- Christmas shopping on a budget downtown. I found so very many items for $20 or less that I finally stopped looking. I have provided some pictures and ideas here for you as well as a list of most of  our downtown stores. I encourage you to take this challenge and come down and see how much is available- from $3 stocking stuffers in The Clothes Rack to $10 gloves in Fringe Benefit: from a selection of books and coloring books in Mish Mish to all of your Hokie needs in High Peak Sportswear, Tech Bookstore, Campus Emporium or Bookholders: from beautiful works of arts and crafts in Matrix Gallery or Burnt Creative to cell phone accessories in Wireless Zone: from cool Kitchen accessories in Gourmet Pantry to all your gardening needs in Heavener Hardware. So many great gifts under $20 each, and in many cases, under $10 available in downtown Blacksburg! And if you are still not sure what would be the absolute best gift for your teacher/ boss/wife/friend/co-worker you can always get Downtown Gift Certificates  sold in $5 or $20 denominations at the National Bank of Blacksburg on Roanoke Street. They can be redeemed in more than 60 downtown businesses allowing the recipient to choose exactly where they want to spend their $$’s!

So come on downtown and take the challenge- get your Christmas gifts for $20 or less, you’ll be surprised how much fun you’ll have during your shopping local experience!
Happy Shopping!

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310 Rosemont
208 N. Main St.
540-961-5326
A boutique for men and ladies!
Alligator Alley
401 S. Main St.
540-552-4287
Men’s and women’s clothing and accessories, featuring Lacoste, Barbour, Berle, Vineyard Vines, Sperry, Lilly Pulitzer, and Eliza B. See ya later, Alligator!
Beaux Arts Galleria
105 E. Roanoke St.
540-443-0003
Mid-20th Century home furnishings, vintage lighting products and museum-quality home decorations from around the world.
Bike Barn
424 N. Main St.
540-443-3323
Bike Barn offers bicycle sales and service in the New River Valley. Bike Barn is a drop off point for tubes, tires and metal bike parts for recycling!
Blacksburg Pipe & Tobacco
408 N.Main St
540-951-8457
Our mission is to provide our customers with an enjoyable experience and the finest tobaccos available. We carry some of the finest cigars in the world.
Bookholders.com
125 N. Main St.
540-808-4481
BookHolders.com buys/sells used college/general books & new apparel.
Burnt Creative Boutique
320 N.Main St
540-230-7550
Specializing in regional handcrafts, fair trade goods, and carefully selected vintage finds.
Campus Emporium
207 N. Main St.
540-552-1051
YOUR ONE STOP HOKIE SHOP for gifts, clothing and merchandise
Capone’s Fine Jewelry
101 N. Main St.
540-953-1000
Custom designs which incorporate only the highest quality gems, stones and metals.
Clothes Rack
105 N. Main St.
540-552-8147
A wide selection of college apartment essential tapestries, handicrafts and eco-conscious clothing reminiscent of the 60’s.
Eats Natural Foods
708A N. Main St.
540-552-2279
Blacksburg’s premier natural foods store offering a wide selection of organic, natural and gourmet foods; wine and beer brewing supplies, supplements, and body care products.
Eucalyptus Massage Therapy
201 S. Main St.
540-552- CALM
We look forward to working with you, and encourage you to start getting healthier with massage therapy! Also selling jewelry and artworks
Fringe Benefit
117 N. Main St.
540-951-9777
Women’s Fashion, gifts and jewelry with Ten Thousand Villages located inside!
Gourmet Pantry
401 S. Main St.
540-951-1995
Everything kitchen and more! Sign up now for Cooking Classes- visit the website for details.
Greenhouse Boardshop
203 College Ave.
540-552-3872
Professionally serving the needs of people who ride skateboards and snowboards.
Heavener Hardware & Lumber
801 Kabrich St.
540-552-1221
Lumber, rentals and so much more for those projects around the home and garden.
Heirloom Originals
609 North Main Street
552-9241
Antiques,gifts and originals on North Main. Stop in and see us!
High Peak Sportswear
209 College Ave.
540-953-1293
Your best source for t-shirts, golf shirts, hats, and all types of imprinted apparel and gift items!
John’s Camera Corner & Gentry Studio
213 Draper Rd.
540-552-2319
Views of Historical Blacksburg on display and for sale. Buy Blacksburg postcards and all of your camera needs in the heart of the downtown.
Kent Jewelers
210 S. Main St.
540-552-3241
Your diamond source
LaLac Boutique
208 A North Main St.,
540-552-0070
An accessories boutique that offers a variety of fashion forward jewelry, scarves, hats, purses, sunglasses, stockings, belts and more. It is our mission to bring our customers the the latest trends in a friendly, comfortable environment
Mad Dog
109 N. Main St.
540-961-4038
Mad Dog offers clothing, accessories, and home goods for all styles.
Matrix Gallery
115 N. Main St.
540-951-3566
Quality handmade American crafts….beautiful, functional & fun!
Mish Mish
125 N. Main St.
540-552-1020
Providing the Best in Supplies to Those Who Create Since 1970.
Nice Dreams
115-B North Main St
540-552-4733
Gifts, novelties and tobacco
polished by claire v.
101 South Main St
1540-342-5895
We offer highly indulgent manicures, pedicures, and spa services at a fabulous price, in a memorable setting! Also selling purses and Bare Minerals products.
Tech Bookstore
118 S. Main St.
540-552-6444
Tech Bookstore is your place for Virginia Tech textbooks, gear and supplies. Buy or sell used and new textbooks, find official Virginia Tech gear, and purchase software and gifts.
Wireless Zone
304 N. Main St.
540-961-4200
Your Local Verizon Wireless Premium Retailer in Downtown Blacksburg since 2002. Also selling XM Radio.
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