Subscribe For My Weekly Two Cents
If you want to get every new article straight to your inbox, sign up for my Weekly Wisdom emails. 

Answering all those burning questions you didn’t know you had about home ownership.

5 Small Business Holiday Gift Card Ideas

Picture of Jessica Dabkowski

Jessica Dabkowski

Helping you with all things homeownership!

I told you the week of Thanksgiving that I would try to keep our December adventures light . . . and then I dumped the Winter Furnace Blues on you. This week, I’m going a little off the rails of home ownership, but I’m endeavoring to keep the content light.

Ron Swanson is the man. I also get to do what I want. . . as far as blogging goes.

With the holidays coming up, I am stressed about gift giving. The Mathematician asked for new clothes and a math book. Guys, I cannot . . . ok, fine. Macy’s it is.

But as I was pondering the stress of holiday giving, my mind wandered to how I really wanted to spend my holiday funds. Not on huge conglomerates, like Amazon or Target, but on supporting smaller, local businesses. Since I started my own small business (yes, real estate agents are generally sole proprietors of their own business!), supporting other local businesses has been an ongoing quest.

In keeping with that goal, I’m going to lay out five gift card ideas that will allow you to give a gift that does the double duty of also supporting local business. With each recommendation, I’ll provide an option local to the Plymouth-Canton area, where I am based. If you’re further away from me, I hope the suggestion will inspire you to seek out your own comparable local option!

Why gift cards you ask? Most of these options are something a person might view as superfluous – i.e. an experience that they will treat themselves to with the prompting of your gift card.

Note: I am not affiliated with any of these businesses, and I receive zero compensation out of any of these recommendations. I just really enjoy their products and services.

1. Your Local Coffee House

Give the gift of coffee this holiday season. I am personally a no frills straight black coffee drinker. I blame The Mathematician, who’s been drinking it this way since we were in high school.

That being said, once in awhile I like to change it up and enjoy a “coffee experience.” I, like many people, have been bombarded by the media with the idea that “expensive coffee” is an over-hyped waste of money. But is it, though? (I know, I’m getting deep today!)

You know it, Dreamy Dylan!

With that conditioning, I sometimes hesitate to go spend $6 on a latte. But if I have a gift card? Watch out!

I’m actually writing today’s article from one of my favorite coffee shops, and I feel when you go sit in a coffee house with a special drink, it’s more of an experience than just a cup of coffee!

Coffee Haus, Canton

This delightful treat opened this year, and it is a hidden gem! Owned by a family, you will often be served by a mother-daughter team. When The Mathematician visits with me, he has extreme espresso machine envy, and I am forced to crush his dreams every single time. (Just call me “Dabs the Dreamcrusher”) We don’t have room for that 2′ x 3′ monstrosity in our kitchen.

The world’s most beautiful AND delicious pumpkin-spiced latte from Coffee Haus in Canton.

In addition to the wonderful coffee, they offer an array of quick-serve breakfast and lunch foods, sweets, pastries and Guernsey ice cream. You can’t go wrong. With a 5-star Google Review average with over 130 reviews, I doubt your gift recipient will be disappointed.

2. An Hour to Decompress (A Massage!)

With the frantic pace of life these days, a massage is literally an hour of your time where you have nothing to do but relax. Scratch that, you are literally paying someone else for the opportunity to relax for an hour.

Beyond the relaxation, massage can be used to alleviate symptoms associated with a variety of conditions. At the ripe old age of 37, I found out one of my legs was shorter than the other and a lifetime of this condition had resulted in a not insignificant case of scoliosis. I always just thought I was a stressed out, tight shouldered, stiff necked-type person. Nope – my back and shoulder muscles are legitimately fighting the curve in my spine every single day. Massage provides me with some relief from the discomfort of the condition.

I share this overly personal story to illustrate that while we view massage as a luxury in the U.S., it can be used to help people in various situations feel better! Fun fact: In Canada, employers often provide a supplementary health care plan to employees which covers massage therapy.

Still Point Massage, Canton

This locally-owned business is operated by Eric Broad, D.C. The facility is clean, quiet and convenient. There are enough therapists on staff that you can usually easily get an appointment slot using their online booking system. They offer a great variety of services, including deep tissue massages, sports massages and other variations.

Those amateur home massages are never as good.

Still Point is housed in the same storefront as Dr. Eric’s other business, Broad Family Chiropractic. The beauty of this arrangement is that the chiropractors on staff can closely work with your therapist on your treatment plan if you are utilizing their chiropractic services. (Side note: I cannot recommend Dr. Eric and his team enough!!)

3. A BYOC Store

This recommendation is a little different from the others as this one is for a physical item, not an experience. That being said, I didn’t feel that this quirk merited leaving it off my list.

Okay, you are likely familiar with the term BYOB, but what is BYOC? Bring your own container.

Let me explain. These stores sell home and personal care supplies that you can add to any container. We’re talking laundry detergent, oxy cleaner, hand soap, shampoo, conditioner, body wash, cleaning products, baby bubble bath – you name it!

She’s going to need a refill . . . and a mop.

These stores are starting to pop up all over the place as people look to lessen their dependency on disposable plastic containers. These are a great way to source quality products locally. Because these stores are making or purchasing their products in bulk, they can keep the cost of the product down. They also don’t need to absorb the cost of shipping because you are picking it up in store.

B.Y.O.C. Co., Plymouth

B.Y.O.C. Co. originated in Ann Arbor, and recently opened a store in downtown Plymouth (where Sunny J’s was previously located). The owner is extremely welcoming and will walk you through the process the first few times.

They will weigh your container before you fill it and then again when it’s full – the difference is what you pay for. If you don’t have a container, you can grab a free donated container or purchase something a bit prettier in the store.

The beauty of this arrangement is you can try a small amount of product before you commit. I took my laundry detergent container in, but only filled it about 1/6 full. This allowed me to try the detergent out with minimal commitment to ensure it would work for my family. The owner explained that the cost for the detergent is comparable to Tide Free and Clear.

I am very happy with the unscented, but they have two other scents available. And boy does it last! An HE machine only requires 1 tablespoon per load so a small container will last a loooooong time. With my previous detergent, a 50 oz container lasted a month give or take. The 1/6 container has lasted me over a month.

Below is an instagram reel I did with the mortgage queen, Emily Campbell, when B.Y.O.C. Co. first opened in Plymouth.

As I run out of my current household products, I will seek to replace them with products from this store. I get to support local business and eliminate some disposable plastic from my life. On their website, you can find pricing, ingredients and the supplier of the various products.

4. Glowing Skin

I’m an 80s baby, and my first thought when I think the word “esthetician” is rich people wearing cucumbers on their eyes. The stereotype persists because my 6 year-old keeps asking for a spa day where we put cucumbers on our eyes. I have vague memories of my mom taking me along to a Hudson’s (YES, HUDSON’S) while she received a face treatment. All I remember is the room was dark and I was bored. My mom probably wasn’t very relaxed if I was in the room. I digress.

In truth, pampering your skin has become more accessible over time. Frankly, I like to tell myself the occasional visit is “just good hygiene.” What can I say? I tell myself what I want to hear. 😂

Similar to the massage, a gift card for a facial treatment gives the recipient permission to splurge on themselves. AND REMEMBER! Healthy skin is a gift for women AND men. The societal construct that facial services are for women is passé.

The More You Glow, Plymouth

The More You Glow is owned by Alisha Shumake, a licensed esthetician since 2007. In 2020, Alisha took the plunge to start her own business and The More You Glow was born. Alisha offers a range of services, and she will customize your treatment to meet your needs. She can help you adjust your skin care routine to bring out that inner “glow” (see how I did that?). She’s also been featured in several publications.

One of my favorite aspects of working with Alisha is her willingness to help you help yourself beyond the time you are in treatment. She can recommend products at any budget range – only have $15 to spend on face wash? She has a suggestion – probably more than one! Over the course of the last year, Alisha has helped me root cause two separate issues with my skin, pinpoint how to attack the issues and get my skin back on track.

5. Local Restaurants

Restaurant gift cards have always been a staple of the holiday season. Everyone likes to eat, right? The Mathematician and I have raided our gift card stash on more than one occasion when we’d already blown our restaurant budget for the month.

But what if, instead of that convenient chain, you sourced a local option? Lots of statistics are thrown around about small business restaurants failing. I couldn’t find a good source for a stat, but we know that restaurants have a high rate of failure. On top of the normal perils, the pandemic ravaged this industry.

Barrio, Plymouth

I have a love/hate relationship with Barrio. I love it because it’s delicious, but I hate that everyone else loves it too so there can be long waits during peak hours! This one is great option for higher-end Mexican food and the margaritas are second to none!

French Toast, Canton & Plymouth

Breakfast fan? French Toast features a French-inspired cajun cuisine. Serving breakfast, brunch and lunch, don’t miss out on this special place. The food is delicious, the coffee is hot and the beignets will melt in your mouth. They recently added the Canton location following the success of the original location on 5 Mile in Plymouth.

E.G. Nick’s, Plymouth

No restaurant list would be complete without E.G. Nick’s. Full disclosure, I worked at this restaurant – twice, actually. The owners, Tony and Frank, are wonderful, and they run a quality organization. Featuring typical “American” fare, some items on the menu will surprise you, but trust me, they wouldn’t be there if they weren’t delicious. They also offer catering!

I hope I’ve sparked some gift giving ideas for your holiday season. Or maybe inspired you to treat yourself! Thanks for straying off the beaten path with me this week. We’ll be back to your regularly scheduled home ownership content shortly.

As always, reach out if I can help you in any way!

This Post Has One Comment

Leave a Reply

More Wisdom from Dabs