The holidays are quickly approaching. From this year’s Black Friday to Cyber Monday, over 165 million people shopped for the holidays (National Retail Federation). Most people find themselves at large box stores or online during the holidays looking for that gift that will surprise the people on their lists but what if you skip the lines that stretch around the block? You could discover amazing treasures for each person in your life and shop small.

Small Business Saturday has come and gone but that doesn’t mean its too late to support the local small business economy in Stafford. American Express reported that shopping small throughout the holiday season has the potential to contribute an estimated $695B to the U.S. small business economy. Shopping small not only supports your community but also gives you the opportunity to learn the story behind small business owners while finding one-of-a-kind gifts and experiences for under the tree.

Not sure where to start? Check out a few businesses below for a snapshot of Stafford, Virginia’s small business economy—there are many others and we encourage you to shop Stafford:

The 19th Hole at the Gauntlet Golf Club
Address: 18 Fairway Drive, Fredericksburg, VA 22406

The 19th Hole at the Gauntlet Golf Club is a great place to grab a bite to eat after a round of golf or to escape everyday life while overlooking the golf course. Catch the big game or enjoy the beautiful scenery from the veranda. With fresh food and amazing drinks, this is the perfect spot to take a break from all the holiday cooking. What makes the 19th Hole so special? You can play a round of golf, have a bite to eat, and play on their state-of-the-art indoor golf simulator. Sip on seasonal drinks as you play different golf course simulations from around the world right here in Stafford. This one-of-a-kind dining experience is only available at the 19th Hole at the Gauntlet and would make a great Christmas present for the golf lover in your life.

Achara Florist and Fine Gifts
Address: 2781 Richmond Highway #113, Stafford, VA 22554

Achara Florist and Fine Gifts is a veteran-owned business and has called Stafford home since 1993. They have been awarded Best in the Burg the past five years and pride themselves on providing a family-oriented experience for all their customers. Every arrangement features flowers from local farmers and their design team has over 35 years of experience. They can create beautiful arrangements and centerpieces for any holiday party, dinner, hostess gift, or special occasion. While they specialize in flowers, their shop has much more to discover. With antique furniture, gifts exclusive to Achara, and beautiful Christmas decorations for sale, you are sure to find a unique gift that meets your checklist. They work hard to stand out from the crowd and provide exceptional service to all who shop there.

Bluebird Stained Glass
Address: 261 Cambridge St. #100, Falmouth, Virginia 22405

Bluebird Stained Glass started on Bluebird Lane in Stafford over 25 years ago. From DC to Richmond, they are the only local stained-glass shop where you can learn, shop, and experience the beauty of stained and fused glass. Whether you are shopping in their retail space or ordering a custom piece, they will provide quality product that you will love. Custom pieces are carefully crafted to match your vision and make an amazing gift for that special someone. You can even gift someone a one-of-a-kind experience by treating them to a hands-on class where you can learn to make a unique piece of art such as windchimes or glass tiles with a design of your choice. Visit them on their website to learn more about their products, classes, and other glass opportunities.

The Grounds Coffeehouse
Address: 50 N. Stafford Complex Center Street #107, Stafford, VA 22556

The Grounds Coffeehouse’s mission statement is “Loving Stafford, one cup at a time.” The owner, Deb Cook, says that “coffee is our love language and it’s how we show Stafford love.” Voted best coffee in Stafford the past two years by Stafford Magazine, The Grounds Coffeehouse believes that everyone deserves to feel valued and they want to provide an exceptional experience for anyone who walks through their doors. What makes them different from any other coffee shop in the region? Their coffee flights! Whether you choose one of their preselected flights or create your own, you can experience the fair-trade coffee they so proudly serve. When you shop at The Grounds Coffeehouse, you are supporting other Stafford artists, baking companies, and photographers with your cup of coffee. Find exclusive merchandise designed by local artists for the coffee lover on your list.

The Lemon Drop Shop
Address: 3619 Richmond Hwy #109, Stafford, VA 22554

The Lemon Drop Shop is a clothing boutique that started in owner Kayla’s basement. From her online store to the retail space she owns now, The Lemon Drop Shop has become a local fixture for women in the region. Since opening her brick and mortar location, Kayla has focused on helping women of all sizes, ages, and walks of life feel beautiful and comfortable in the clothing they wear. The clothes are trendy and affordable with sizes ranging from XS to 5XL, making it the perfect place for the women you’re shopping for this holiday season. One thing people love about The Lemon Drop Shop is that you will never pay extra for plus-sized clothing. This inclusive outlook on clothing is refreshing to all who shop here.

Olde Virginia Gourmet and Gifts
Address: 261 Garrisonville Rd #109, Stafford, VA 22554

Olde Virginia Gourmet and Gifts has been a Stafford staple for almost 20 years. This is where the locals shop for their favorite Virginia products such as wine from over 40 Virginia wineries, peanuts, snacks, jellies, and jams. You can also find seasonal products such as candles, artwork, and ornaments from eight crafters local to the Stafford area. What makes them perfect for your holiday shopping? They can curate different gift baskets with the products you find in the store. Whether it’s a wine themed or a coffee and tea basket, or maybe an array of different local products that you can hand pick yourself, you can ship a piece of Stafford or Virginia to anyone on your list. Visit them in person and customize your holiday gifts.

Tilly’s Homemade Ice Cream
Address: 215 Kings Hwy #101, Fredericksburg, VA 22405

In 2021, Tilly’s Homemade Ice Cream opened in south Stafford with a dream to be different than other ice cream shops. The flavors are ever changing and are made in house by owner Sarah Jennings who has worked in the food industry since college. It’s the perfect place to stop for a Christmas treat with seasonal flavors available such as Gingersnap, Eggnog, and Peppermint Stick. They aim to please by serving ice cream your way and making sure that everyone experiences the friends and family ambiance of a small business. Make sure to stop in this holiday season while doing your holiday shopping to enjoy this local treasure. Have an ice cream lover in the family? A pint of this homemade ice cream will surely tickle their taste buds!

Shopping small isn’t just “the cool thing to do,” it is something that supports communities, the local business economy, and residents. So many of the Stafford small business owners, including each of the aforementioned businesses, live in the community. Most of them have lived in Stafford for decades. They love Stafford and love doing business here. By supporting small businesses, you support your neighbors and friends. Small businesses not only exist during the holiday season but they are available all year round and contribute to the local quality of life by providing opportunities for one-of-a-kind shopping and experiences.

Support your community and local small business economy this holiday season by stopping into locally-owned shops and restaurants this winter. You might be surprised by what you find and the relationships you will make.