Start your holiday shopping early this year with help from the Maryland Department of Commerce. Our state has plenty of small businesses to help you find unique gifts for the holiday season. Remember that when you shop small and buy local, you are supporting the communities throughout Maryland that need it the most.
Here are our suggestions for buying local throughout Maryland.
Baltimore's Home on the Harbor has expanded its showroom on Key Highway. The furniture and home dcor company – now known as Design Distillery – is celebrating its renovations on December 3 with a giveaway and a $500 gift card raffle. The shop, which formed 14 years ago and showcases more than 50 local and international lines, will donate a portion of the event's proceeds to the Youth Empowered Society.
"Everyone has an inner designer, and our greatest achievement is inspiring customers to confidently select pieces that they'll love for a lifetime," said Karen Graveline, founder and owner of Design Distillery.
Annapolis is hosting its annual Midnight Madness shopping extravaganza later this month on December 8 and 15. With tons of retailers to choose from, go for the small businesses but stay for the carolers, musicians, and street performers all evening long. Learn more on Downtown Annapolis Partnership's website.
Twindles, a soy candle producer from Middletown, provides all-natural scents ranging from apple harvest to happy hour (yes, really). The business is run by the Cullen family, a husband and wife team who aim to offer unique fragrances for men and women alike. The company attends more than 20 craft shows and festivals per year, and its products are currently sold online and at six retail locations around the region.
If you'd rather wander down Main Street and do some window shopping, head to downtown Frederick for its week of grand openings. Pearl Clothing Maryland, Quality Shoe Service, and McClintock Distilling are all opening new shops throughout the weekend. Find more events on the Downtown Frederick Partnership Facebook page.
Get in style with help from some small shops on the shore. Estate Treasures in Centreville provides great deals on designer items, while supporting the area's Compass Regional Hospice. Purchases at the shop are tax free. More fashion-related items are available at Knotty Living, a clothing boutique located in St. Michaels.
Another one of our favorite small businesses on the shore is Plak That Printing Co. of Ocean City. The print shop specializes in custom wood, acrylic and aluminum designs that customers upload directly to its website. Place your orders soon to ensure delivery by December 24.
The fun of visiting Leonardtown is all about one-of-a-kind finds that you won't see anywhere else. The Opal Fine Art Gallery & Gifts features limited edition paintings, sculptures, and metalwork, and the gift shop has plenty of unique items to pick through for holiday gift-giving. For the hobbyist, check out Crazy for Ewe for yarn and a variety of knitting supplies.
For the musician in your life, drive out to Western Maryland and pick up a piece of music history. Washington County is home to one of the world's best steel guitar manufacturers, Beard Guitars, which sells to local and Grammy award-winning artists. The first Beard Resonator Guitar was sold in 1985, and today the company creates 14 different models at its shop in Hagerstown.
Additionally, for the next few weekends, Washington County will host an artisan market with local farmers, crafters, and more. Purchase hand-made jewelry, jams and jellies, and artwork at the Hagerstown Premium Outlets until December 23.