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Where do you shop?

Christmas decoration on defocused lights background

Happy Holidays

Shopping season is in full swing. As you prepare for Christmas or Hanukkah, I’m interested to know where you shop for friends and family.

In most cities, the really interesting boutiques are the small, independent shops in trendy (or not so trendy) areas. Here you will find unique brands and lines that don’t dominate the mall. You’ll also find knowledgeable help to select merchandise that fits your needs – especially if you’re gift shopping.

Online shopping is a game changer. I find there are really good online offerings at some of the US’s major chains, especially specialty shops for plus size and big & tall. Canada’s selection in these categories is very limited. Check out Macy’s for a great selection of reasonably priced clothing. Saks and Nordstrom are strong contenders in designer fashion. All ship to Canada using Border Free – a service that calculates exchange, duty and taxes which you pay at checkout. It’s hassle free!

While I can’t compile a list of independent shops for every city, here are some thoughts for the Edmonton area:

124 Street

  • Shades of Grey
  • Floc Boutique
  • Pear Tree
  • Vespucci Ladies Consignment

Downtown

  • Who Cares Wear?
  • Workhall Studio

Whyte Ave

  • Gravity Pope
  • Bamboo Ballroom
  • Lola’s
  • C’est Sera
  • Galibelle (for interchangeable shoes)
  • Avenue Clothing Co.

St. Albert

  • Bella Maas Boutique (also in Sherwood Park)
  • Cerulean
  • Modern Eyes

Southgate Centre has a great mix of chain and independent stores.

West Edmonton Mall has a luxury row that includes Tiffany, Kate Spade NY, Marc Cain and others.

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In praise of shopping

vintage shopping

Much is written about shopping centres and how the mall is being replaced with a keyboard. In the US, JC Penny and Macy’s are closing stores – key anchors in many shopping centres. As these and other retailers deal with reduced footfall traffic, many blame the rise of online shopping as the reason.Shopping bag

And, while it may be true, I certainly hope we never get to the point where people don’t ever have to leave their homes. Work online, shop online, read online, practice faith online, talk online…. The future seems bleak. And, quite frankly, lonely.

All of this is quite disturbing to me. For centuries, people have obtained their necessities from local shops. Shopping is not just about buying stuff – it is an integral part of our social lives. When we shop, we engage with new people, see old friends and reconnect with the world around us. We shop for entertainment as much as we shop for necessity. Browsing is a social activity; an opportunity to dream about goods we cannot (yet) afford perhaps, or to stay current with trends.

floor sign edit

Floor Decal at the Opening of Nordstrom Calgary

And, yes, while you can peruse merchandise online, it doesn’t get you out of the house to spend a leisurely afternoon, alone or with friends. You can see, touch or try on merchandise. You can’t interact with sales staff or observe life around you.

Hey, don’t get me wrong, I do my share of online shopping. But nothing beats a sunny afternoon strolling along a shopping district, popping in and out of stores.

Go outside and play!