You can save the world one purchase at a time. You can promote environmental sustainability, be a proponent of fair trade, contribute to charitable causes, and stimulate the local economy of West Virginia with the swipe of a card or the drop of some change; you can be a sort of super hero shopper. With the season for holiday shopping coming into full swing, one of the best places to practice conscious consumerism is downtown Lewisburg, which boasts numerous shops that exemplify great standards for fair trade, charity, eco-friendliness, and local goods. So why shop consciously? Because when you do, you honor and support a lasting system of sustainability for the environment and for community development, both locally and globally.
From recycled material cards and journals by Compendium’s Positively Green line to the recycled metal flowers and deer heads that adorn the walls, Wolf Creek Gallery is one such shop that blends its earth friendly vibes with its hip and trendy products. They carry a multitude of sassy products from Blue Q, a company that donates a percentage of each bag sale to The Nature Conservancy, and they carry a number of other brands, such as Kalalou and Nature Life, that support charitable projects all over the world. If you are shopping for an outdoor adventure enthusiast then you will be thrilled to know that Serenity Now Outfitters is home to environmentally friendly and charitable brand companies. There you can find jackets, shirts, socks, and more from the popular Patagonia line, which donates a portion of the sales income to environmental grassroots organizations, and you can even help children in need by purchasing frisbees, mugs, t-shirts, and many other items from the shop’s Life is Good collection, which supports many charitable initiatives. High Country Boutique and Gallery carries a huge selection from the environmentally friendly Eileen Fisher line, a company that created an upcycled clothing movement, and many fair trade items such as baskets, desert bell wind chimes from India, and Zulugrass beaded jewelry made by the Maasai women in Africa. You can even pop into The Wild Bean, not only to take a break from shopping with a cup of fair trade tea, but also to purchase some fair trade, environmentally sustainable Mattie’s Mountain Mud for the coffee lover on your holiday shopping list.
The shops of downtown Lewisburg do a great share of promoting West Virginia’s businesses, artists, and individual entrepreneurs, thus helping to stimulate the state economy. Browse around Aggie’s for tasty treats and artsy gifts that include locally made honey, maple syrup, barbeque sauce, pickles, relishes, chocolates, Blue Smoke salsa, hand painted ornaments and slates, crafted candles, Moia Wolf skin care products, and knitted socks and llama yarn from Blue Meadow Llamas. Just across the street you can find another mecca for West Virginia made goods. Bella the Corner Gourmet shows of a variety of locally grown foods, such as Spring Gap Mountain Creamery cheeses, Vernal Vibe Rise sausages, Vu Ja De Vineyards and Watts Roost Vineyard wines, Bridge Brew Works beer, and Smooth Ambler cordials, bourbon balls, and bourbon caramel sauce. They also carry a selection of glassware from the Blenko Glass Company and tableware from Fiestaware. Studio 40 also boasts a collection of locally made products including Meredith Young’s recycled pop can jewelry and ornaments, Deborah Herndon’s vibrant photographs on metallic paper, and colorful knitted hats by Jeannie Collins.
Many of the downtown shops combine essences from all forms of conscious consumerism to offer a conglomeration of products. Harmony Ridge Gallery houses an astounding collection of both local goods and upcycled art pieces such as West Virginia wood turned bowls and cutting boards and recycled items such as bicycle chain décor, license plate jewelry, and mittens crafted from sweaters. Edith’s Health and Specialty Store shows off a great collection of local jams and jellies from Yoder’s Country Kettle, meats from Swift Level Farm, and soaps from Cozy Hollow and Bluestone Mountain Soap Company, while focusing on fair trade items such as their Endangered Species and Equal Exchange chocolates, Rainforest Alliance Certified Yogi teas, and fair trade Guayaki Yerba Mate and Numi Tea. Plants Etc. is another one of Lewisburg’s shops that is, perhaps, the mecca for conscious consumerism in the downtown area. They offer baskets from Africa and SERRV accessories that are fairly traded and they even sell recycled metal jewelry made from disarmed nuclear weapon systems by the company From War to Peace. Their local selection of crafts boasts everything from glassworks, leatherworks, and pottery to hand-woven rugs, beeswax candles, handcrafted soaps, and so much more.
No matter the store, you are sure to find something for everyone on your shopping list this season, and you can do so by helping out the environment, your local economy, and the overall global good. So instead of just purchasing an item, take the time to learn its story and the impact that it has. After all, every little purchase you make with a conscious mind adds up to a greater sum that has an extraordinary impact on the trends of consumerism and our surrounding world.
– Jennifer Sprouse, LBSPY #47 (Dec 2-16, 2013)
HASHTAGWV ART & ENTERTAINMENT Publisher/Editor-in-Chief, Christina Entenmann-Edwards has been a WV resident since September 2008. She was born and raised in Fairfield County, Connecticut, and is no stranger to hard work and the entrepreneurial spirit. In 2006, she graduated from Quinnipiac University (Hamden, Connecticut), Cum Laude, with a B.A. in History. In 2010, she graduated with an M.B.A. from Liberty University (Lynchburg, Virginia). In February 2012, Christina launched HashtagWV as the area’s first full-color, free arts and entertainment tabloid + online platform. Christina completed the Leadership West Virginia class of 2021, which is an innovative program that grows, engages, and mobilizes leaders to ignite a life passion to move West Virginia forward.