When people around here think about holiday shopping, they think King of Prussia and Plymouth Meeting, or Chemical Road, or even just over the border, at the Walmart in East Norriton. No one thinks about doing their shopping here in Norristown. Shop at any of those other places and you're not only NOT bringing money into Norristown, you're likely sending it out of state altogether.
Give a gift to Norristown this year and do at least some of your shopping in town at our small businesses. Here are some suggestions:
1. Take a walk up and down West Marshall Street's business district. Most Norristonians still hold onto the old memory of West Marshall as a depressed place. Not so anymore. You'll find a variety of great little shops on these blocks, plus for instance, a terrific bakery with cakes for those holiday parties. Go stroll and browse, at least. Find out what shopping was like before the birth of the "mall."
2. We've got little produce stores all over town. In my neighborhood, I go to Plymouth Produce. I know I can get specialty produce there, like all kinds of dried fruits and chestnuts. They've got the spices and herbs I use in holiday cooking at better prices than supermarkets. Baked goods and fruit baskets are great gifts for co-workers, neighbors or party hosts.
3. Don't forget our flower shops. Anna Catanese, Blooming Affairs, Joseph Genuardi and others.
3. Go to your favorite Norristown businesses--from restaurants to hair salons to auto repair shops--and see if they'll sell you a gift certificate. With the economy the way it has been, lots of people would appreciate 10 or 20 dollars towards a meal or hair cut or oil change.
4. If you can't get a gift certificate, make up a certificate yourself, something like "This entitles my mother to lunch at the Norristown restaurant of her choice." I used to give coupons like this to my mom--a nice way to set aside time together, without my dad and brothers around.
5. Theater tickets make good gifts. Both Centre Theater/Iron Age and Theatre Horizon are in the middle of their seasons and would love to have you and a friend come to a play.
6. Don't forget our in-town charities this season. Our food banks and shelters need support. So do our non-profits, like ACPPA, The Norristown Project, The Norristown Preservation Society, etc. If you know someone who doesn't want a gift but you want to give something anyway, consider making a donation to their favorite Norristown charity in their name.
Shopping in Norristown isn't as hard as you think. It might take a bit more creativity, that's all. Every dollar spent here instead of at a big box store will help built our economy.
No Diary tomorrow. I'll be up early to sing at St. Pat's, then dinner with my family.
Happy and safe Thanksgiving and/or Hanukkah to all.