Four months ago, I wrote an article highlighting some of my favorite locally-made shops from several major U.S. cities. I ended it the same way I usually do, by inviting readers to suggest other shops I didn’t cover.
Be careful what you wish for. Someone suggested highlighting shops across all 50 states, and I was immediately equal parts interested…and kinda intimidated. But a promise is a promise! So with a general guideline of business types to cover (eco-friendly, small-batch, locally sourced) and a pre-typed list of states to combat my lack of geographic memory, I went off in search.
The biggest surprise came when I would be researching states I knew relatively nothing about, and stumble upon an innovative or really cool business. If you’d asked me to name something about Nebraska, I either would have made a reference to Full House‘s Aunt Becky or an overdone corn joke. I would never have guessed that it’s also home to an awesome sustainable dairy farm/CSA/organic grocery store run by one family.
My biggest takeaway from this challenge was that there’s really no excuse not to shop locally. A quick search online can connect you to more talented local makers than those right down the street, and you’ll feel great about supporting your local economy.
Just like I normally end my articles, I’m inviting people to suggest more spots I’ve missed. But also I’m going to throw out a new challenge: after you’ve checked out these 50 awesome businesses, suggest more from your state! Let’s put locally-made sellers (literally and figuratively) on the map.