Black Friday and Cyber Monday are not the only times to find great deals on holiday gifts this year. Shop Independent Durham Week, an annual event held by Durham's nonprofit independent business alliance Sustain-a-Bull, kicked off last Saturday and will run through Sunday. Local businesses across town are running promotions to encourage holiday shopping in Bull City. From a pet boutique to an olive oil company, Durham has an array of independent businesses for all interests. Here are a few of the local businesses participating in the event:
The Durham Toffee Company
Creating sweet and beautiful things has always been a passion for Durham Toffee founder Rebecca Burnett. After beginning to make toffee in 2008 in her home, Burnett sold her treats to more and more friends over the years. Her home business officially turned into "The Durham Toffee Company" in February 2016, initially launched at Smitten Boutique downtown but now in over 18 local stores.
"It suddenly became bigger than just me and my little kitchen," Burnett said. "It instantly enveloped local hearts and stories."
While it was initially difficult to maintain a work-family balance from the home kitchen, Burnett's husband and their five children were a constant source of support. Burnett and her family love creating local sweets for the Durham community. Her favorite product is the Durham Toffee MashUp, an upgraded trail mix of toffee and nut clusters tossed together with toasted almonds, pecans, coconut, dried cherries, dark chocolate chips and pretzels.
"My favorite part is that I get set my pace so I have something to give creatively, physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually," Burnett said.
When Amelia Freeman-Lynde first moved to Durham seven years ago, she was surprised that the town did not have an independent yarn or fabric store. To create a space for knitting and meeting new people, Freeman-Lynde worked on business plans for years and eventually opened Freeman's Creative in November 2017. In addition to selling craft and DIY supplies, the store hosts a weekly Craft Club, a monthly Yoga for Makers and a variety of classes from block printing to sewing.
"I love teaching beginner knitters, because knitting can really feel like magic, creating fabric with your own two hands" Freeman-Lynde said.
The store welcomes crafters of all levels, providing an encouraging and educational environment for creative expression.
"Building connections with people is the best part of having a shop," Freeman-Lynde said, "It's definitely challenging, but I love meeting people, hearing about their projects and helping them find solutions to problems."
Freeman's Creative will host a "Last-Minute Holiday Market" and Solstice celebration of local vendors on Dec. 21 and 22.
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The Glass Jug Beer Lab
A retail craft beer store with an on-site microbrewery and Durham's only counter-pressure growler filling station, The Glass Jug was founded by the husband-and-wife team of Chris and Katy Creech. After beginning home-brewing in college in Chapel Hill, the pair became increasingly involved in the Triangle's brewery scene. They moved to Durham in 2012 and were surprised by the lack of places offering local and craft beer. Inspired by the passage of a new law by the N.C. General Assembly that loosened regulations on the filling of reusable beer growlers, the Creeches decided to turn their passion for brewing into a business in 2014.
"People will tell you that if you love what you do, you'll never work a day in your life. In actuality, it's the exact inverse," said Chris Creech. "If you love what you do, you will work every day of your life."
In addition to brewing their beer, the Creeches work on their independent business behind the scenes. From writing a weekly newsletter to marketing the business on a budget, the pair developed The Glass Jug from the ground up. They expanded to a larger space with a beer garden and on-site brewery earlier this year. The Glass Jug hosts social events every few nights, as well as weekly events such as a knitting club and food truck Fridays.
"One of our company's core values is to build community, and we really enjoy doing this by hosting fun events each week and simply providing a space for our community to get together, run into their neighbors, get to know the other people at the bar and generally be social in real life," Creech said.
Pincho Loco Ice Cream
A recent addition to Ninth Street's food scene, Pincho Loco opened in the summer of 2017. Far from just an ice cream store, it offers paletas, milkshakes, floats, cakes, cupcakes and more. To create a fusion of Southern and Latin flavors, the store serves ice cream flavors such as tequila, tiger tail, guava and tamarind that are difficult to find elsewhere in the Triangle.
"Our favorite part of running a local business is to see returning customers. We love to see customers happy with our products," the owner Martha Morales said.
In addition to their sales for Shop Indy Week, Pincho Loco offers weekly deals such as milkshake Monday and Jarritos float Tuesday.