Written by Linda Carr

The most wonderful thing about shopping locally is the variety of shopping experiences available. Garrett County offers a wide variety of independently owned businesses who take time to select merchandise that caters to their clientele and to the uniqueness of our area.

Local businesses are the heart of our community. They hire local workers and donate to local causes. According to America’s Independent Business Alliance, 68% of every dollar spent locally STAYS local. And while some items may cost a bit more, you will more than make up the difference in service, quality and the one-of-a-kind nature of your purchase. Most importantly, shopping at your local merchants in small towns makes for a stronger community. Not sure where to start? Consider these offerings from local merchants and Lake-Front advertisers.

Years ago it was almost impossible to purchase affordable clothing in the area, especially in larger sizes. Today, there are several shops catering to both men and women shoppers. Cashmere Clothing is one of the newest businesses in the area, with a charming shop in the heart of Deep Creek Lake. Owner Marcia Warnick offers fashionable clothing in size Small to Triple X. From casual to holiday party ready, you’re sure to find something you love for yourself or that special woman on your list. Marcia will be offering storewide savings at her store throughout the month of December, with 50% off selected items.

One place you may not think of for shopping is Wisp Resort. Outdoor Elements Retail Shop in the Main Lodge offers a variety of gear for on and off the mountain. Their Retail Buying Agent, Shirin Kavyani, specializes in boutique shopping. Having worked in areas such as Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Washington DC, and Ohio – she knows the demographic of our customers and keeps their retail stores filled with quality items that she prides as “something for everyone.” Their retail outlets offer logo gear, boutique women’s clothing, street-style clothing and shoes for men, winter sporting gear such as skis, snowboards, gloves, and goggles – as well as unique items that make exciting Christmas gifts. Looking for something fun to wear to Apres Ski? They’ve got funky long-sleeved shirts and little gems for your arms, ears, cheeks, AND shoes.

If you’re looking for localized apparel, a stop at Pine Lodge Mercantile is a must with Deep Creek Lake t-shirts, wine glasses, stuffed bears, hoodies, coozies, hats and more! The shop is located at Pine Lodge Steakhouse.
Bear Creek Traders at Market Square has a wonderful selection of women’s clothing and accessories and are offering specials on ski jackets, gloves and more throughout the month of December. They also have unique gift ideas including items from Vera Bradley, Life is Good, and Crabtree and Evelyn. If you’re shopping for children, you’ll love the variety of unique toys and games available here.

The Chic Shack in downtown Oakland is another “can’t miss” for a nice selection of an ever changing line of purses, accessories, sweaters and jewelry that any woman will love. This shop is part of The Painted Cupboard, one of the area’s most popular shopping experiences, especially at Christmas. Owner Sabrina Liggett goes all out with her holiday gift and decor items and her window is not to be missed. She says the hottest trend in holiday decorating are the battery operated candles with a timer. She has a huge selection and invites you to stop in to see.

Schoolhouse Earth, located along Rt. 42, is a feast for the senses any time of the year but especially during the Christmas season. They are all decked out for the holidays. Stop in and shop their unique selection of holiday decor, and that perfect ornament to remember your year. Sample their amazing cheeseballs, dips and sauces that add a special touch to your holiday meal. They make great gifts too! If you shop Small Business Saturday (November 30), you can take advantage of their 20% off sale on Christmas Florals and baby items. There will also be a drawing each hour for a $25 gift card so you won’t want to miss out. Be sure to visit their sister store, Schoolhouse Gourmet and More, located at The Fort in McHenry.

Another holiday favorite is Garrett County’s only dedicated Christmas Shop, Christmas Chalet. They are also offering some great discounts for Thanksgiving weekend (November 29 – December 1) including 30% off Retired Department 56 and Snowbaby collectibles, boxed Christmas cards, and 2020 Blue Mountain Calendars. Additionally, they will be holding a drawing on Small Business Saturday to win a “Holiday in the Woods” Department 56 Village Set valued at $89.00. There is no purchase necessary to win. As in years past, they will be holding their Holiday Open House the weekend of December 7th and 8th showcasing some great specials and delicious complimentary cookies to celebrate the season.

Whispering Pines in nearby Springs, PA will also be holding their annual Christmas Open House on Saturday, December 7th offering special savings on handcrafted furniture, country decor and more.
While furniture stores may not be your first thought for holiday shopping, December is a perfect time to spruce up your home and Fitzwater Furniture in Mt. Lake Park is offering 10% off all wall art, mirrors, lamps and accessories from now until the end of the year.

While there, be sure to stop at the renowned Simon Pearce shop which has a tradition of hiring locally and teaching individuals the craft of centuries old glass blowing techniques. Their newly enlarged retail store is stocked full of Christmas treasures made right here in Garrett County.

Another unique offering is Blue Moon Antiques located in Grantsville. They always have an amazing assortment of antiques in their one of a kind shop but this holiday season is also offering a 20% discount store-wide. You will be delighted with a selection of exceptional treasures from near and far.

HART for Animals has some great gifts for animal lovers. Available at Pick of the Litter Thrift Shop in McHenry and the HART Animal Center, these hats and glasses are perfect stocking stuffers or as gift exchanges for co-workers and friends. Plus your purchase helps support HART’s mission of saving the lives of homeless animals.
If you’re looking to give the gift of unique experiences, local merchants have you covered there as well. One of the most anticipated winter experiences is always a day on the slopes at Wisp Resort. Tis’ the season to load up on Mission Four’dable Lift Ticket Quad Packs. For only $209 you receive four full-day, transferable lift tickets with no blackout dates! This offer is valid through December 20, 2019 and only available online at https://wispresort.com/mission-fourdable/

Creative folk will love a visit to Santa’s Workshop at Deep Creek Pottery the afternoons of December 7 and 14th. This will give you an opportunity to make your own Christmas gifts (including the classic Christmas trees) for yourself or a loved one. You can also buy a $25 gift certificate and get an additional $5 one (available for sale through Christmas). These are good studio workshops including paint your pottery, mosaic tile creations or canvas painting in addition to the beautiful pottery available from Owner Lorie Skidmore.

Give the gift of food for the holidays with your own personal touch! The Hilltop Fruit Market in Grantsville and Farmer’s Market in Oakland has over 900 varieties of candies plus jellies, apple butter, honey, maple syrup, canned food products, fun and healthy snack mixes, cheeses, fresh produce and a large selection of sugar free items. Let the staff there create a beautiful gift basket featuring some of their freshest offerings…24 hour notice required.

Still not sure what to buy? Gift certificates are always a timely and appropriate gift and are available at most retail outlets. Everyone appreciates a good meal out so a certificate for your favorite restaurant is always appropriate.
Deep Creek UNO, a local favorite, will be offering gift cards that will give $60 in value for every $50 spent from November 29th through December 24th. For every $40 spent on Ultimate Gift Cards (valid at Honi-Honi, Deep Creek UNO, Garret 8 Cinemas and Arrowhead Market), you will receive a voucher for a free pizza from Arrowhead or Uno if purchased between November 29th and December 31st of this year.

Please consider keeping your hard earned dollars local this season and all year round. It benefits our community in more ways than we can imagine. Enjoy the season!