(Editor's Note: This article was initially published on Gloucester Township Patch on Saturday, Nov. 17.)
While the crowds will line up on Thanksgiving ahead of mass market, Black Friday deals at the big box stores, the real deals and unique gifts are right here in Gloucester Township.
Small Business Saturday, held each year on the Saturday following the traditional Black Friday sales, is a day to celebrate small businesses and all they do for the local community.
Stevie Matteo, owner of Slim Chicks Fitness in Sicklerville, views shopping locally as a way to not only support the local economy, but also to support local charities and community groups.
“Every time you buy local, you support the merchants who are sponsoring athletic teams and local charities. It is a triple effect: you get an amazing product and service; the merchant sees their business grow; and local service organizations are able to continue their good work,” Matteo said.
Buying locally is also a way to reduce your carbon footprint.
“Buying locally lowers the amount of greenhouse gas emissions required to transport your goods from great distances to arrive at your local retailers,” said Michelle Wolfson, green columnist for Gloucester Township Patch.
Below are five fabulous local "Mom and Pop Stops" in Gloucester Township that offer fantastic gift options for even the pickiest loved one on your list.
Be sure to check out the Patch directory for more local businesses.
1. The Book Asylum
Located in downtown Blackwood, the Book Asylum is the perfect destination for the book lovers on your list. Each weekend through the holiday season, the used and rare bookstore will offer specials (like 25 percent off your entire purchase!). The store has new, author-signed copies of popular books on hand and also offers gift cards. Also, stop in for special holiday teas and lattes in their new coffee shop. Like the Book Asylum on Facebook to keep up to date on specials.
2. Edlen’s Meats
Need the perfect holiday meal? Skip the grocery store and give Edlen’s Meats a try. Bone-in prime rib starts at $10.99 (price could change as Christmas approaches) and the local butcher on Chews Landing Road can order almost any meat for your holiday table—ham, turkey or pork roast. Call after Thanksgiving to order your Christmas main dish. The store is also a great spot to stop for quick pantry items (and avoid long grocery store lines).
3. Techniques Salon & Spa
Techniques specializes in unique, thematic spa experiences all year round. Gift cards can now be ordered on the Techniques website for full spa experiences, massage, facials or any pampering service on your wishlist. The spa also has a large boutique with many unique jewelry items, handbags and other accessories (perfect stocking stuffers!).
4. Slim Chicks Fitness
Located on Berlin-Cross Keys Road, Slim Chicks Fitness offers custom fitness packages for the ladies on your list. Sign up your favorite sporty girl for personal training classes or the children on your list for a kid’s kicking class. You can also add spa services to any gift card, purchase yoga mats, hula hoops and other gym gear, and have your gift wrapped for the perfect presentation.
5. Natural Health Supermarket
Selling more than just organic food, Natural Health in the Laurel Hill Plaza is the perfect stop for stocking stuffers for everyone on your list. Grab some natural soaps, candles and other body products. Also check out some of the great organic, artisan candies and essential oils for unique gifts.