Christmas is still coming, whether you're ready or not, and there are plenty of local shops that could use a little extra love this winter season. The latest round of COVID-19 restrictions do allow retail operations to stay up and running, albeit at 20 percent capacity, and plenty have adjusted since March to offer online ordering, curbside pickup, and delivery. But they could use your help! And we figured they could use ours, too. In 2020's Last-Minute Gift Guide, we found some Central Coast shops selling locally made goods to give your gift-buying dollars extra local impact.
You can do more than just get a Christmas tree from Holloway's Farm in Nipomo this year. And though there's no real Main Street to cruise for quick and easy shopping, everybody knows that the best treasures are worth the hunt. Head to Delicias de Mi Tierra Bakery for delicious Mexican holiday-themed pastries. And hit up the Willow Lights fundraiser every weekend until Christmas to see some holly jolly displays. Or you can play it safe and shop from the comfort of your own home.
- Photo Courtesy Of Marina Garcia-endert
- TRULY GIFTED Nipomo resident Marina Garcia-Endert puts together customized gift baskets, boxes, and packages that often include Central Coast goods.
After decades in the retail industry, Nipomo resident Marina Garcia-Endert launched her own professional gifting company, Truly Gifted, in September 2019, where she offers gift baskets, boxes, and packages with a personal twist. "It's kind of more like a custom gift," Garcia-Endert said, "instead of something that's just thrown together." Using Central Coast products like 805 BBQ sauce, Ray's Own Brand jerky, and Jocko's steak seasoning, Truly Gifted baskets offer a taste of home and help support other local businesses. And with a plethora of customizable options—including engraved cutting boards or monogrammed ribbons—each gift feels unique. Garcia-Endert delivers locally and ships everywhere.
As one of the few Chumash artisans out there, Rosemary Castillo uses traditional materials and methods in her work. The contemporary and traditional Native American jewelry artist cuts and hand polishes her own beads, and uses everything from shells, seeds, and bones in her jewelry. She also brings her own modern style to every piece. "To show that we evolve as a people like everybody else," she said. "We are not a stagnant people. And we are not an invisible people." Castillo takes orders through her Facebook page, over the phone, and via text. She prefers to meet her customers somewhere in Nipomo for pickups, but she also ships!
Locals and businesses alike can spread holiday cheer by participating in the Holiday of Lights Virtual Decorating Contest. Just decorate your house or business in a manner that's as extra as possible, submit photos to firstname.lastname@example.org by Dec. 16. Fortunately, Grover Beach's local businesses have products that are just as fun and festive as the city itself. Head to Bittersweet Brewing Company to get growlers for all the self-described beer connoisseurs, and customize all kinds of gifts at KJB Screen Printing and Embroidery. Here are some other options:
Nan's Pre-Owned Books
1328 W. Grand Ave.
You all know about Nan's. It's been around for 34 years, after all. But in August, Nan retired, passing the used bookstore to her granddaughter, Kassi Dee. "I was pretty much raised in this bookstore. So this is just like my home," Dee said. Whether you're looking for used books to stuff into stockings, or something more specific, the staff at Nan's can help you find it. Just call in or email your requests. If Dee doesn't have it, she can order it for you. When you order through Nan's, you're helping a local, family-owned business stay afloat, Dee said.
- Photo Courtesy Of Jessica Blanco
- HEALING It's 2020. The trauma is probably showing on your face. Jessica Blanco's line of locally made, clean beauty products can help with that.
Central Coast Beauties
480 W. Grand Ave., suite C
While hairdressers have been able to reopen on some level during the COVID-19 pandemic, Central Coast Beauties owner Jessica Blanco said aestheticians haven't, and she just recently had to vacate her commercial lease. However, Blanco has long had a line of locally made, clean skincare products, dubbed SLO Vibes. Body butter, hydrating face and body mist, hand lotion, diffuser oil, and perfume—Blanco makes it all! With all natural products that are under $50, it's an affordable way to treat yo' self or someone you love. Order through the Central Coast Beauties website or give Blanco a call. She ships and delivers anywhere in the Five Cities area.
Arroyo Grande's Elegant Christmas shopping event will run all month this year in an effort to reduce crowds. Purchase from a shop in the Village, post a photo to Instagram or Facebook with the hashtag #Love4Local and tags @VisitArroyoGrande, @SouthCountyChambers, and the business they're supporting to be eligible for various prizes, including a staycation package. Don't forget to check out Lady Di's Boutique, a women's clothing store that sells clothing and jewelry made by local artists, and Posies' goodies you can find in the store or online. Here are some others you might like:
- Photo Courtesy Of Carol Chenot
- LOOKIE LOOPS Arroyo Grande resident Carol Chenot has been hand crafting and selling pouches for glasses and phones from her home for about four years, but this year, with the sudden need for masks, her world got a whole lot busier.
Arroyo Grande resident Carol Chenot used to get frustrated every time she had to dig through her purse to find her sunglasses. So she invented Lookie Loops, hand-sewn pouches for sunglasses with straps that loop around the handles of other bags. Eventually she added similar pouches for phones, keys, and books. But she never imagined that one day her best seller would be a pandemic-safe face mask. Chenot has made more than 4,000 masks, which she's sold and donated. With free delivery through the month of December, order through her website or on Facebook, and most orders will be shipped out the following day.
The Sports Dugout
109 E. Branch St.
If you have a sports lover in your life, the Sports Dugout in the Village is the place for you. Owners Lance and June Gonzales keep the store stocked with everything from team mugs, flags, and hats, to framed photos, helmets, and balls signed by the greats themselves. They even have sports-themed gift baskets! So whether your loved one is a serious collector of sports memorabilia or needs a new Dodgers jersey, a gift from the Sports Dugout will knock it out of the park.
From tchotchke tourist items to T-shirts, taffy, and surfboards, Pismo Beach has the beach town holiday gifting on lockdown. Looking for something less beachy? Check out The Bling Boutique, which carries women's jewelry, accessories, and clothing; Cove by Van Rozeboom Interiors for upscale home décor with a Central Coast flair; and Pismo Beach Coins Etc. Gallery for antiques and collectibles to treasure. But, of course, there's more.
- Photo Courtesy Of winesneak.com
- HOLIDAY GIFT PACK Pismo Beach's Tastes of the Valleys has a Central Coast wines gift pack on sale for the holiday season—plus more than 700 different wines to choose from.
Tastes of the Valleys
911 Price St., No. A
With carside, curbside, concierge, and in-store service options, Tastes of the Valleys wine shop and bar has made it easy to find that perfect local bottle. Now, Tastes of the Valleys has a Central Coast wines holiday three-pack ready to roll for $72, which includes a 2016 chardonnay from Campion Winery in Monterey, 2018 Roke pinot noir from SLO's Topotero Vineyard, and a 2017 red blend from Folded Hills in Santa Ynez. Face masks are required for in-store browsing, but you can also order online. Call, email, or text if you need help making a selection!
Pismo Beach Surf Shop
470 Price St.
Holiday gifts don't always have to be tangible. You can also give a memory brought to you by local guides in local waters. The Pismo Beach Surf Shop offers kayak tours of the Pismo caves; kayak fishing; surf lessons; and surfboard, kayak, stand-up paddleboard, boogie board, and skim board rentals. They even have beach cruisers and electric bikes for rent. Plus it's the oldest surf shop on the Central Coast (founded in 1962) and is connected with the Pismo Beach Dive Shop. You can book a lesson, tour, or rental online. Call for details.
San Luis Obispo
- Photo By Jayson Mellom
- HOLLY JOLLY Downtown holiday displays all over the county will give you plenty to smile about as you finish up that shopping before the end of the year.
Between its arrays of stringed lights, assorted decorations, and offers of free garage parking on Sundays, downtown San Luis Obispo is doing everything it can to make the 2020 holiday season feel familiar and festive, despite COVID-19. Whether you opt for a masked-up visit to a shop, or to play it safe online, here are a few SLOcal options to spark gift-giving inspiration:
1243 Monterey St., suite 100
This downtown shop—which also has a user-friendly online store—is a jack-of-all-trades kind of place, selling diverse artisan items from jewelry, to clothing, to cook books, to fragrance, to puzzles, to blankets. Owned and curated by longtime local artist Shannon Len, Len Collective also has plenty of locally made items in its inventory, which makes it an ideal place to invest your dollars for maximum local impact.
870 Monterey St.
Looking for something hip and artsy to give a loved one? Junkgirls is a solid choice. Owners Jenny Kompolt and Melissa James sell a variety of goods, including items they make themselves using recycled or vintage objects. This downtown store has artworks, jewelry, art supplies, candles, books, magnets, pins, stickers, and more. In light of COVID-19, Junkgirls invites you to visit its website, shop in the store, make an appointment at the store, or make a Zoom appointment to tour the store virtually.
To help local storeowners get in the holiday spirit, the Los Osos-Baywood Chamber of Commerce is holding a "Light Up Los Osos" competition, giving out prizes to the most festive decorators. Generosity is also flowing in the community: The Los Osos Rexall Drug & Gift Store recently donated $1,000 and 10 percent of its gift sales to a local effort to restore the historic Spooner Ranch House in Montaña de Oro. Reward them with your holiday business! Or check out these other gems.
- File Photo By Dylan Honea-Baumann
- AMAZING SCENTS You can find locally made candles, soaps, lotions, shampoos, hand sanitizers, and more at the Fable Soap Co. in Los Osos.
Fable Soap Co.
2015 Fairchild Way, unit E
All-natural. Handcrafted. Small-batch. Those are Fable Soap Co.'s three tenets, which make for high-quality products. With self-care as important as ever, this is a perfect time to treat a loved one with a winter balsam candle, a bar of goat's milk soap, a bottle of arroyo lupine lotion, a sea clay and tea tree face wash, or some combination. Co-owners Jeriel Sydney and Bobbie Cunningham produce all their products in-house, and they invite you to either visit in person, make an appointment, or order online.
Volumes of Pleasure Bookshoppe
1016 Los Osos Valley Road
With so much time at home these days, all of us need a good stack of books. Find the perfect book to add to a friend's or family member's at the locally owned Volumes of Pleasures Bookshoppe. Stocking a diverse range of genres from fiction, to self-help, to political science, to children's, to sustainability, this shop also has an international bent. It sells clothing and artisan items made around the world, including meditation supplies and art supplies. You can either call in your order or mask up and get the in-store experience.
- Photo By Jayson Mellom
- CRAFTY GIFTS Art Center Morro Bay presents The Annual Winter Faire & Juried Craft Show through Jan. 4. The collection features paintings, photography, and fine crafts—all potentially the perfect holiday gift.
In the city by the bay, there are plenty of places to play, shops to choose from, and local artisans to find. Although places like Mercantile on Main are temporarily closed, the Morro Bay Hat Company and Babylonian Soap Company are still open, as are myriad thrift and antique stores, art galleries, and more. Visit morrobay.org or morrochamber.org for a list of local spots to stop.
435 Morro Bay Boulevard
Kathleen McCarthy hand makes exquisite lampshades. She's got square, fluted, fluttering; painted, patterned, plain, and detailed; herons, flowers, and fish. Really, they're amazing. A quick visit to the Art Effects Gallery website will show you these one-of-a-kind gifts of art for a special someone in your life. The gallery is only open by appointment. Call to set one up or email Kathleen at email@example.com.
Smoobage is an esoteric word for something you love, according to Smoobage, a gift shop where you can find artisan-crafted and locally made items. Jewelry, Turkish lamps, arts and crafts for the kids, 3D art by Phillip Carey, stitched bags. Smoobage is offering 20 percent off your entire purchase via its Facebook page (@Smoobage) in lieu of a holiday event.
An abundance of rustic charm emanates from the tiny town of Santa Margarita, concentrated on the main drag of El Camino Real. COVID-19 can't kill that! And as it turns out, that vibe translates into amazing gifts. From Caliwala Food Market & Deli, to Ancient Peaks Winery, to eateries like The Range, plenty of businesses need your support just north of the Cuesta Grade.
- File Photo By Hayley Thomas-Cain
- GARDEN ADDITIONS Simone Smith, owner of The Educated Gardener in Santa Margarita, can help you find the perfect gift for your plant-loving friend or relative.
The Educated Gardener
22210 El Camino Real
Looking for both a garden gift and a local business to buy it from? Look no further than this funky plant shop, which has all the inventory and local expertise you need to find something great. No matter what kind of person or garden you're shopping for, this family-run place has you covered. Sourcing its items from local and socially conscious companies, The Educated Gardener specializes in "hardy and unusual perennials, native plants, water plants, herbs, and more," according to its Facebook page.
The Barn Antiques & Unique
22390 El Camino Real
Whether it's a decorative item, a piece of classic jewelry, an old poster, or something totally random, it's hard not to walk away from The Barn Antiques & Unique excited by what you found. Rustic and quaint, this store sells a wide variety of collectible items, crafts, home décor pieces, and more. As one reviewer on Google raved, "You're guaranteed to find a neat item every trip you take here."
With safety in mind, the Cambria business community is open for your gift-buying needs. For an easy online-only shopping experience Exotic Nature offers essential oils, lotions, and bath and facial products. Find the gift of a tasty meal or scrumptious pie at Linn's of Cambria via an e-certificate or gift card. For the cheese connoisseur, check out the Cambria Farmers' Market on Friday for Stepladder Creamery's delectable cheeses. For more local shopping ideas this gift-giving season visit the Cambria Chamber of Commerce website.
Verde of Cambria
778 Main Street, Suite A
Verde of Cambria, owned by Bill and Cyndi Wittmeyer, has all the trimmings to simmer the excitement of the tea devourer in your life. With more than 70 tea and herbal coffee offerings, you can find flavors such as red rooibos, spiced orchard, carrot cake, and coastal mint—to name a few. The Wittmeyers have vintage teapots, strainers, cups, and more. However, the perfect pairing to this gift just might be their newest offering: California-made honey. Shop the store in person or online.
- Photo Courtesy Of Patricia Griffin Ceramics Facebook Page
- INTRICATELY HANDMADE A one-of-a-kind mug, bowl, or pair of earrings made by the loving hands of Patricia Griffin is a perfect present.
Since 2007, Patricia Griffin has used her hands to create everything from ceramic bowls and cups to pieces of jewelry. She views her products as functional art—such as an eye-catching bowl for serving party appetizers or a conversation-starting pair of earrings. She has plenty of items, with many showcasing intricate details, vintage and modern patterns, and animals. Visit her website soon, as many items are selling out! Email Griffin to visit her studio or for other inquiries.
Rich in agriculture, Paso Robles is known for more than just its abundance of wine—there's also all the good food, which you can give in the form of a gift card. Consider Les Petites Canailles, which make a mean black cod chowder; a fried chicken family meal from the freshest Thomas Hill Organics has to offer; or a brisket and ribs family meal with all of the trimmings from Jeffry's Wine Country BBQ. For more food-inspired ideas, visit the Downtown Paso Robles Main Street Association. You can also find plenty of other shops offering local goodies.
Spice of Life
1306C-2 Pine Street
Spice of Life owner Lori DiCiaccio-Foster has always felt that food was the central thread in her life and an essential connection to her family. DiCiaccio-Foster holds these memories dearly and strived to create new ones with her children. In an effort to keep her meals healthy and inspire new recipes, she started blending her own spices, eventually starting Spice of Life. The shop has 17 blends to choose from along with staple herbs. Give the gift of memory-making in the kitchen.
- Photo Courtesy Of General Store Paso Robles Instagram
- PASO PROUD Spread the love to Paso Robles makers like Spearhead Coffee by visiting General Store Paso Robles online.
General Store Paso Robles
841 12th St.
The General Store was created to show appreciation for artisan goods—especially goods made by Paso Roblans. You can find coffee beans from Spearhead Coffee and throw in a mug that says "Est. 1889 Paso Robles, California." For those who love crunchy sweets, there are bags of Paso Almonds brittle or sweet hots. The store also has cookbooks, puzzles, books, jewelry, purses, and more. Although the store's physical doors are currently closed, you can still have a great shopping adventure online.
If you're heading to Atascadero to check out the monolith gazing out from Pine Mountain, you might as well pick up some local gifts in the same trip. Go on a treasure hunt at Mudflat Mercantile where owner Deborah Hintergardt specializes in rare goods. For the yard enthusiast, check out The Backyard for outdoor decor. And don't forget to peruse the vinyl stacks in person or virtually at Traffic Records. For more boutiques and shops, check out the Visit Atascadero website.
- Image Courtesy Of the1artery.com
- SPLASH OF COLOR Add a splash of color to your 2020 memories—run over to the ARTery in Atascadero to give only the best supplies.
5890 Traffic Way
If 2020 taught us anything, it's how to find creative outlets to express ourselves and pass the time at home. Some have turned to canvases to keep our minds and hands busy. If you're looking for fine art supplies, a custom frame for your latest piece, or other artsy things, The ARTery's got it. The family-run business and gallery is chock-full of watercolor, acrylic, and oil paints; and canvas, paper, pens, markers, pencils, and brushes of all kinds. In-store shopping is limited, so see its online offerings or call ahead if you're looking for something.
Scissor Clothing first opened its doors in 2018, but like many small businesses, COVID-19 is forcing it to find a new physical location. However, doors will stay open until the end of the year, and the business will continue in a yet-to-be-determined home. The sustainably minded female in your life might love a linen scrunchy with matching face mask. You can also score skirts, linen tank tops, and vintage bags, and let's not forget a gal's dream of opening a gorgeously wrapped box to find a handmade leather bookmark or wallet. Δ