After the year small businesses have been through, it’s more important than ever that Charlotteans support local makers. This means instead of shopping at massive chains, whenever possible, opt for a visit to the mom-and-pop shop around the corner for gift needs.
Sure, you could go online, but why not put some effort into supporting the local economy by supporting such staples as Paper Skyscraper in South End, Moxie Mercantile in Plaza Midwood (or Davidson), or Pura Vida Worldly Art in NoDa, all of which offer curbside pickup.
Mother’s Day is May 9, and nothing says “I actually thought about this gift” like a piece of artwork or jewelry painstakingly crafted by a local artist. We created this guide of locally-crafted gifts and the stores to find them in, broken down by interests and hobbies, perfect for Mother’s Day, upcoming birthdays or for random gift-giving just because.
For the coffee drinker
Ask any given person how they take their coffee, the answer could be as simple as, “black,” or as detailed as, “a Guatemalan light-roast blend made with a Chemex pour-over, using distilled spring water.”
Getting between an avid coffee drinker and their caffeine feels like a misstep that no one should make. Luckily, Charlotte has no shortage of local roasters or folks who make coffee-adjacent crafts that will please the coffee lover in your life.
Debra Aase-Farnum’s handmade ceramic mugs are adorned with intricate artwork that combine high fantasy and nature imagery, making each piece reminiscent of a time period long past. Aase-Farnum’s artwork has been featured as part of the ArtPop Street Gallery you may have seen on billboards around the Charlotte area, but her mugs make it possible to hold her work every morning.
1824 Statesville Ave., Suite 101; open Tuesday-Sunday, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
Though Hex’s entire line of coffee is roasted in the heart of Camp North End, the beans come to the Queen City from around the globe. Choose between a list of rotating roasts that’ll keep the coffee fiend in your life caffeinated. We suggest Desvelado for the decaf drinker; Bensa Segera for a fruity blend; or the Function brew for a taste of seasonal flavors.
2215 N Tryon St.; open Monday-Friday 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
The gift selection from Pure Intentions ranges from the average gift for your coworker to the opportunity to drop a G on your significant other. Between a six-pack of cold brew, a five-gallon keg and a $1,000 barista course, there are plenty of ways to express just how much you care about the person receiving your gift. Visit the flagship location in Uptown or purchase beans from local shops like Earl’s Grocery, The Exchange at 36th and Lincoln Street Kitchen.
For the home chef
The DIY style of a home chef often means scouring the internet or browsing countless shelves before finding niche kitchen instruments and ingredients to match what goes in professional kitchens. Dishes may remain out of reach simply because the chef couldn’t find a mandolin in the first four stores they visited. These items may be a little out of the ordinary for most but not for a seasoned home chef.
Summer’s closing in, and whether you make it to the coast or not, the steamed seafood typically found at seaside restaurants is not out of reach. The Carolina Coast Topsail Steamer can be tough to find, so online will have to do. Maybe it won’t get here by Mother’s Day, but perfectly steamed oysters are worth the wait.
There’s a point in every home chef’s life when they learn the importance of a high-quality knife. Choose from an array of Albemarle-based Doberman Forge’s handmade chefs’ knives, all equipped with hand-carved handles, some of which come with a design. You can also find educational resources about knife maintenance and sharpening on the website.
For the plant lover
It always starts out with one plant, something simple like a ZZ Plant or a calathea. That begins the slippery slope, until every open surface in the home is occupied by a new plant or propagated cutting. Somehow, plant lovers always have one more plant that needs an accompanying pot or vice versa.
Don’t be fooled, they’re just looking for an excuse to make a trip to the plant store. Charlotte has no shortage of local nurseries and plant shops to satisfy the — amateur or addicted — green thumb in your life. Feel free to ask around for guidance if you’re unfamiliar with ins and outs of a plant-filled existence.
2422 N Tryon St; open Monday, Tuesday & Sunday 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Recognized by Queen City Nerve as Best Plant Shop in the 2020 Best in the Nest Critics Picks, this Black-owned business lets you shop around — though by appointment only — for gorgeous foliage along with potting soil, plant books and stylish planters. Whether your mom is just starting out or a green thumb veretan, she’ll appreciate a copy of Wild Interiors by Hilton Carter, a book full of photos of Carter’s jungle-like and plant-filled home.
100 Radio Road; open everyday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Malone’s Nursery have dubbed themselves, “Charlotte’s smallest greenhouse with the biggest selection,” a title earned by the aisles and aisles of succulents, carnivorous plants, bonsais, cacti and planters from local maker Queen City Crete. What’s a plant without an equally attractive pot to put it in?
Camp North End, 270 Camp Road, Suite 101; open Wednesday, 11 a.m.-8 p.m.; Thursday 11 a.m.-7 p.m.; Friday & Saturday, 11 a.m.-8 p.m.; and Sunday, noon-5 p.m.
Grow has two locations, having recently opened its new flagship location in a 700-square-foot storefront in The Bunkhouse at Camp North End, near Hygge, Popbar and Good Postage. The small neighborhood plant shop sells curated tropical and arid house plants, plant accessories, jewelry, candles, gifts, and pottery and wall hangings from independent artists.
For the interior decorator
When it comes to decor, the tiny details matter just as much as the furniture or large statement artwork. A lamp, aesthetically pleasing candle or well-placed catch-all tray has the power to tie together an entire room. For the mother that spends hours on Pinterest creating mood boards of her dream home, here are a handful of local Charlotteans making and curating home decor.
This online retailer releases new decor pieces through monthly curated drops –– from antique candle holders to furniture – with a vintage vibe. Each month, a percentage of the proceeds go toward local nonprofits like The Relatives and Charlotte Family Housing. There are still pieces from April’s drop that haven’t been snagged just yet and most are available for complimentary delivery in Charlotte.
Jenn Small is a tattoo artist by trade, formerly at 510 Expert Tattoo and currently at Archer Tattoo. When tattoo parlors closed due to the stay-at-home order last year, Small set her sights on creating stained-glass artwork. She’s back to tattooing but still creates colorful pieces that she sells through her Instagram. The stained-glass pieces, at whatever shape and size you grab, should be hung up in the largest window in a space where it refracts light into whatever room it hangs in.
NotSo Design Co. recently launched their Moving and Second Sale, so now is the time to grab some of its homeware items like the catch-all trays or salvaged wood-cutting boards for a fraction of the normal price. The acrylic pieces typically have a floral, almost bohemian feel to them.
For the aspiring beauty guru
Uptown Farmers Market; open Saturday 8 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Did you know that honey is a prominent ingredient in many natural and organic skincare products? The honey procured from the Gather Ye Honey’s hives is used to make lip balms and lotion bars. Throw in a hand-poured beeswax candle from owners Brett and Tina and you’re all set for the perfect spa day.
Brow Artistry & Glow, 809 E. Arrowood Road, Suite, #1000; open Tuesday – Friday 11 a.m.-7 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Cream & Coco is a Black-owned beauty brand that specializes in handmade creams, hair-care products, lotions and serums with all-natural ingredients. Build mom a special basket of her favorite scents and products or buy one that was curated by Cream & Coco’s estheticians. Curbside pickup is available from Brow Artistry & Glow. If Mom would rather have someone else take the reins, Brow Artistry & Glow has appointments available for all things cosmetic.
For the avid reader
The reader in your life probably has a shelf of unread books they’ve been meaning to get to, but still manages to come home with a new one after every book shop visit. Here are a handful of local places to
Inside Tip Top Daily Market, 2902 The Plaza; open everyday 10 a.m.-10 p.m.
The indie book shop living inside Tip Top Daily Market carries everything from horror to self-help books to local writers like Jason Waters, who wrote Unbalanced: A Life of Schizophrenia and Skateboarding about his relationship with skating after being diagnosed with schizophrenia. Check out their Instagram for updates on the latest additions to the I’ve Read It In Books shelves.
Inside Hygge, 330 Camp Rd.; open Wednesday 3 p.m.-7 p.m.; Fridays 3 p.m.-7 p.m.; Saturday 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
Tucked away in Hygge coworking’s Camp North End location, That’s Novel Books offers blind date books that are individually wrapped with brown paper with three or four words written on the paper that describe the genre and basic plot, a great option for the reader that is equal parts filled with curiosity and thrilled by the uncertainty of a new book.
1301 The Plaza; open Monday-Saturday 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sunday 12 p.m.- 6 p.m.
This Plaza Midwood staple has been around for decades selling used books, movies and CDs. If your mom is the type usually drawn to the smell of old books, a stack from Book Buyers won’t break the bank. The latest additions are prominently displayed at the front of the store for easy access right next to its selection of vegan snacks from The Greener Apple, which is also locally owned.
Local gift stores
Whether you’re still in the market for a gift or in search of a cheesy card and adorable gift bag to pair it with, a browse through any of these staples might give you some last-minute inspiration for Mother’s Day.
330 East Blvd.; open Monday-Friday 10 a.m.-7 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Sunday 12 a.m.-5 p.m.
Paper Skyscraper is the move if you’re searching for books, stationary, cards, accessories, homeware, and gifts. We suggest checking out Branch Alley’s handmade jewelry crafted in the heart of Greenville, South Carolina.
2008 Commonwealth Ave.; open Tuesday-Friday 11 a.m.-6 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
This shop may look small and unassuming to the naked eye, but a step inside unveils two-stories of clothing, handmade jewelry, homeware, stationary and other gifts from Charlotte makers. Moxie Mercantile is holding a Mother’s Day pop-up on May 8 from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. including creations from Made by Kippen, Peaceware and Thread Florals.
909 Central Ave.; Thursday-Saturday 12 p.m.-6 p.m.; Sunday 12 p.m.-4 p.m.
Covet Atelier partners with local creators every month and recently teamed up with Hello Love Coffee to launch a weekend coffee corner. Make sure to grab your caffeine fix while doing some last-minute shopping for artwork, clothing, books, or crafting kits.
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