This year has been hard on everyone’s wallets. With the holidays around the corner, financial stress is on the rise. For holiday shopping this year, local and secondhand options are good alternatives to busting the budget.
Zoe Gillies of Le Grenier de Zoe, a thrift shop in Ormstown, shares that “The holidays will need to be different for a ton of families this year. Everything is so expensive.” Her store offers many options for gifts, and she assures folks that though items may be second-hand, they are as good as new. Her goal is also to keep the prices accessible to all. “We’ve made sure to leave our prices as low as possible. We haven’t raised any of our prices, because everything everywhere has [gone up], and we know how much people are struggling.”
There can still be some stigma when it comes to buying second-hand, and some people still perceive this option as “less-than” buying new. Gillies says that “In 2023, it is the way to go. Not only is everything way too expensive, but our society has become a world of consumerism.” This rampant consumption has caused excessive waste. “Clothing is the number-one polluter on the planet,” she explains. A search through a thrift store can result in good quality brand-name products being found for a fraction of the price, and they can then be gifted to a new home.
Gillies also organizes a community pantry to help provide food for folks who need it. “It is much more needed than I thought. Every day, we need to restock. We meet new people every week,” she says. Currently, they are still accepting food and monetary donations, as well as volunteers to pick up groceries with the money that is donated. Food donations must be unopened and in good shape.
Though it is tempting to buy from big-box stores, Gillies says that buying from small businesses helps to support the local economy and allows for a greater variety of resources that won’t be around long-term if they aren’t used. It also helps the community in a much more personal way: “Not only does it help us survive as a business, but we survive as human beings. We can offer jobs locally and help our economy. We can send our kids to dance. We can feed our families. And we can keep giving back to our community.”