I don’t think anyone ever walked into the Springfield, MO, Best Buy or Barnes and Noble thinking, “CURSE THE SPRINGFIELD ECONOMY! I HOPE EVERY MOM-AND-POP STORE IN THIS CITY BURNS TO THE GROUND MUHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAA!!!!!!” But hey, it’s the holiday season and you’re busier than Santa on Christmas Eve!
It’s not always easy to find the types of gifts you want while also supporting our local economy. So, in the spirit of the holidays, we’ve decided to do our part and put together a list of 10 big-box holiday shopping favorites and their local Springfield, MO alternatives.
All Pet Supplies & Equine Center
For the pet lover on your list (or maybe just for the pet) we recommend you high-tail it on over to All Pet Supplies. They have two convenient locations on the North and South sides of town, and they have been serving the Springfield area for over 25 years. They’re locally owned and operated, so your hard earned cash stays right here in the Springfield, MO area.
All Pet offers a wide range of pet products, and their northside location has access to a near endless range of bovine, equine and farming related products as well. Frankly, beyond being a good local option, All Pet may just be the out-and-out better option. Heck, depending on what you’re looking for, it may be one of the only options in Springfield.
Full disclosure, I worked for All Pet’s parent company, WPVS (also locally owned and operated), for a few years back in 2015, but in all honesty that only gave me deeper insight into the business, and I still recommend them.
This one was particularly difficult. Best Buy has pretty much eaten up the market on electronics, but fear not! There are still a few local holdouts selling electronics. They mostly do repairs and sell used and refurbished pieces. Not to worry though! They do also sell new gear. And considering that it’s their holiday season, their family Christmas, and their livelihood on the line here locally – don’t you think it’s worth stopping in and seeing if they have what you’re looking for? We do!
Wireless Trendz has been dishing out digital doodads for 12 years in the Springfield area. They have two locations, one North and one South. Their South location has 11,000 square feet of show room up front and 11,000 more in back, so chances are they have something that’ll strike your fancy.
Speaking of striking your fancy, they carry new, used and refurbished cell phones compatible with every carrier and a dazzling selection of accessories. Not only do they carry the typical stuff like headphones, cases, and screen protectors, but they also have a kooky selection of odd gadgets such as bluetooth enabled stocking caps to keep your ears warm and rockin’ at the same time!
The important thing to remember is that when you shop there, you’re supporting the owner Tim and his family who have lived in the Springfield area since ‘88. Not to mention his 24+ local employees. They don’t have corporate dollars or advertising support coming from anywhere else.
You can find Wireless Trendz online at WirelessTrendz.com or on Facebook at Facebook.com/WirelessTrendz
Since Best Buy is such a massive corporate behemoth, we couldn’t find a single store to compete with it product-for-product, but if cell phones aren’t what you’re after, and instead computers are on Santa’s list, head on over and talk to Steve at Computer Innovations.
Formerly Computer Renaissance, Steve Yates bought himself out from under the franchise in 2015, changing the name and making the establishment 100% local. They’ve been serving the Springfield area for 21 years over there, and they know their stuff. New, used, custom builds, business systems, servers, gaming rigs – you name it, and they can probably put it together for you. All of their custom builds come with an impressive 3 year warranty as well.
Have you ever walked into Best Buy and felt like a walking dollar sign, or worse, felt like you didn’t exist at all? Has the “Geek Squad” ever been condescending and made you feel stupid? At Computer Innovations and places like it, you’re not just a walking wallet. They rely on their local reputation because they are actually part of the local community.
Got a band nerd in the family? (I say that lovingly. I was a show choir geek myself) Hoover Music in downtown Springfield is absolutely the place to be. Seriously. It’s no contest. I mean, come on. It was established in Springfield in 1912. NINETEEN TWELVE! They have survived The Great Depression, World War II, little Kylie’s brief foray into Trombone playing (sorry Kylie), and even the disco era! Now that’s what I call tough!
Seriously though, they are a staple in the Springfield community. Ask any local piano teacher worth their keys and they’ll tell you they have one of the widest selections of sheet music in the area, not to mention instruments and equipment galore!
Hoover music should be your first choice for music gear in Springfield. Consider this: not only have they been in business since 1912, but they have also kept the business in the same family all those years. It makes you wonder what their secret is, huh? Maybe you stop in and find out for yourself!
Adam & Eve
Eros (Inside Kaleidoscope)
He’s makin’ a list and checkin’ it twice! This one’s a little naughty AND a little nice.
What? Adults can’t have a little Christmas cheer?
Ladies, why get your hubby another tie or set of golf balls when you can go for something a little more adventurous? And guys, you could go wander around the crowded mall for hours trying not to strangle everyone around you, or you could ho ho hop on down to Eros inside Kaleidoscope and let Jesse and his crew help you find something that’ll really light your tree.
Eros is a locally owned and operated lingerie and adult toy store with a range of fun and quirky items for couples who are looking to spice things up in the bedroom.
Now I know you could go to any number of big chains or even shop online, but when you go to Eros and Kaleidoscope, you’re supporting a business that’s been putting equity back into this community (and probably more than a few babies!) since 1972. That’s right, Tom opened Kaleidoscope in 72’, and Eros was opened as an addition in 2004.
In addition to supporting the local economy, when you shop at Eros in Kaleidoscope, you also know you are getting certified quality products made of safe, tested materials, which (I learned from Jesse) is something you can’t be guaranteed online. Poor quality and even dangerous products are not uncommon across the net, and aside from that, when you come in to Eros, you know you are going to get personal, non-judgemental service and advice from folks who have worked in the industry for years.
As a final note, I’m told Eros has one of the best selections of lingerie in town compared to the other stores, so whether it’s a sexy santa or erotic elf you’re going for this Christmas, I’m sure Eros has you (semi)covered.
Learn more about Kaleidoscope and Eros at kscope4fun.com FAIR WARNING: Naturally there is some content on the Eros portion of that site that is only meant for people over the age of 18.
Next Level Game and Pawn
Alright, fine, I can’t necessarily call Vintage Stock a “big box store”, but I have a personal vendetta against them because they bought out my favorite childhood nerd store in Joplin, MO, The Bookbarn, and I’ve never forgiven them. Plus they have 58 stores, making them a pretty large corporate chain, and they aren’t headquartered in the Springfield metro area.
Also, obviously, this is another one we had to split into two seperate stores to match close enough product-for-product.
We have reached my wheelhouse: the wide world of nerdery. Yes, it’s true, I’m geek. Dungeons and Dragons, LARPing, fedoras, the whole nine yards. And Meta-Games has all of it (well, maybe not the fedoras).
MGU has been assisting armchair adventurers of all ages in the Springfield area for 21 years. Locally owned and operated, they employ an average of 10 employees at any given time.
They have a broad selection of miniatures for games like warhammer, a huge array of board games such as settlers of catan, and a near endless collection of gaming books for games like Dungeons and Dragons, and don’t forget about Magic the Gathering cards! The list goes on and on. On top of all that, they have a massive gaming area, a wall of pinball machines to enjoy, and a friendly, knowledgeable staff.
If it’s non-electronic nerdery you’re after, MGU’s selection beats Vintage Stock hands down. It’s really no comparison. And the experience you get at MGU is one you will never get online. MGU works overtime to build community. They host tournaments and other events, and they’re even hosting a Christmas party complete with a unique kind of gift exchange that helps benefit Ozark’s Food Harvest. Now that’s what I call a nat20 (I just mean I think they nailed it, for all you non-nerds out there).
Next Level Game and Pawn
Due to the changing nature of the gaming industry and games themselves in recent years, many local game stores have gone out of business, merged with larger companies, or the games have simply been digitized to the extent where physical games have become obsolete.
For many gamers, especially millennials, nostalgia rules! There’s nothing like firing up an old console and playing a little super smash bros or even some old school original mario! You can buy those games and more at Next Level Game and Pawn in Springfield, MO.
In addition to the classics you can also shop for games and gear for the newer consoles, including ps4 and xbox1. They do only sell pre-owned items though, but heck, that stuff’s expensive. Even Santa has to up up, down down, left right, left right, B, A sometimes (It’s nerd talk for cheat).
Fred has been buying, selling and trading games, consoles, and collectibles in the Springfield area for nine years. They also recently started selling guns and jewelry as part of their pawn business which is also part of what they do there, so hey, you may leave with more than what you came in for!
To learn more about Next Level, check them out on Facebook at Facebook.com/NextLevelGamesMo
Global Crafts of the Ozarks
All those little knick-knacks, unique handmade jewelry pieces and home decor items that hobby lobby sells can’t hold a homemade candle to the fascinating selection of items you’ll find at Global Crafts of the Ozarks.
Tracy bought this non-profit business about two years ago, but it’s been around the Springfield area for about seven. The concept is simple: buy cool arts and crafts made abroad at fair wages, bring them to Springfield and sell them. It enriches our lives here by bringing art and culture from over 40 developing countries worldwide, and it improves the lives of those artisans abroad by paying them a fair trade price for their hard work. Pretty neat huh?
Go check their Facebook out to learn more and maybe even get a special deal! Facebook.com/GlobalCraftsSpringfield/
Barnes and noble
hooked on books
Here’s another corporate monster we split into two local competitors for you to choose from. As the son of two public school teachers and an avid reader, books are more than just a gift to me, they are a true treasure. When you buy a child a book, you are buying them so much more than just a smile on Christmas morning. You are buying their brain a healthy workout. You are also buying them an intangible and invaluable asset they will forever carry with them long after the book has left their hands.
Never underestimate a good book as a gift.
hooked On Books
Tom has been feeding minds in the springfield area for about 13 years as the owner of Hooked on Books, where he buys, sells and trades used books and audio books. Yes, all the books he carries are pre-owned, but they all read the same and for often half the price, and besides, it’s better for the environment anyway right? Reduce, reuse, recycle!
Tom employs about five Springfieldians on average and sometimes his kids pitch in a helping hand here and there.
Is the reader on your list hard to buy for? No problem. Hooked on Books can hook you up with gift certificates that never expire, so your choosy Chaucer can mosey on down and peruse their wide selection of fiction and non-fiction themselves.
Learn more about Hooked on Books and even browse their books online hooked-on-books.com or on Facebook at Facebook.com/HookedOnBooksMo
Don’t let the name scare you off, it’s merely a clever play on words. It’s strictly capitalist business as usual at this independent, locally owned and operated bookstore in downtown Springfield, MO.
The first chapter of the BookMarx story started about four-and-a-half years ago. Joshua’s family had been running another bookstore locally called the Book Castle for about seven years. That endeavor disbanded and Joshua struck out on his own.
Educated at both MSU and Evangel, Joshua is a certified English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher, and you can tell he is passionate about the written word and the English language in general.
As far as selection, BookMarx carries a unique collection of both used and new books. Their new books especially seem to target a particularly hard-to-buy-for niche, so if you are shopping for a really picky reader, you’re in luck, they do have gift certificates with no expiration date.
Ready to CHEKOV the reader on your Christmas list? VonneGET your butt off the couch and make your HemmingWAY over to BookMarx, and as a bonus, while you’re downtown you can POE yourself a cup of coffee at the Mudhouse. What? Do you find my puns too AUSTENtatious?
Learn more about BookMarx at Facebook.com/BookMarxBooks/
The Red Poppy Boutique
Krickets Clothing Co.
Clothes and fashion accessories are a classic holiday shopping standbye, so we figured our list wouldn’t be complete without a couple places where you can go and shop till you drop.
There were a lot of local options to choose from in this category, and below are just a couple favorites we found. We encourage you to do your own research on all the wonderful local boutiques we have here in Springfield, and just to be safe you better go shop at all of them, you know, for the economy…and…local…and…families…and…stuff…
The Red Poppy Boutique
This is in the greater Springfield metro area (technically Nixa, Christian County, but we’ll forgive them, right?), but we heard such great things we decided to include it in our list. Plus you know as well as I do a lot of people who live in Nixa work in Springfield and vice versa.
Anyway, The Red Poppy Boutique carries a fairly wide range of women’s clothing and fashion accessories with brands like Kendra Scott and Hobo. Although they tend to cater more towards more mature ladies. When I called, I spoke to Lindsey and she told me their target market is probably ages 30-65, so this isn’t your typical teeny-bopper boutique, and, Lindsey also added, their customer services practices aim to please that same market.
Founded in 2011, these folks have built their business on going above and beyond for busy mom’s and professionals who may not have time to come in a shop as often as they would like. They are extremely customer service focused with an emphasis on digital shopping and sales for the modern on-the-go woman. Got a question? Shoot them a message on Facebook and chances are you’ll have an answer in minutes. Stuck in line picking up the kids from school? Jump on their website or Facebook and shop while you wait and pick up your order on the way home!
Speaking of digital, these ladies are killing it online. For real. They have a whopping 14,921 Facebook fans and well over 4k followers on Instagram. Go check them out at RedPoppyBoutique.com or on their Facebook at Facebook.com/TheRedPoppy
Krickets Clothing Co.
Talk about roots, Krickets has been dishing up diva-wear in the Springfield area for 31 years. On top of that, Krickets is owned by members of the Haik family, and Haik is a big name in business ‘round these parts. Check out this Haik family tree made by 417magazine. Pretty wild right?
Getting back to Krickets, this is where you go if you are looking for moderate to truly high end fashion. They pretty much invented the phrase “fancy pants” (not really, but I wonder who did? I digress). Joseph Ribkoff, Brighton Accessories, and Frank Lyman are just a few examples of what you might find at Krickets.
Just like so many others on this list, they are highly customer service focused. Their goal is one-on-one, personalized customer service. Not high pressure annoyance. If you’re wondering, yes, they have snazzy gift cards for that hard-to-buy-for fashionista on your list. They also do beautiful complimentary gift wrapping as well, so your thoughtful gift can go right from the car to the tree.
Krickets is doing a little work on some of their branding and other marketing tidbits right now, so you may notice some things are bit wonky on their website at the moment. The best way to keep up with them for now is at Facebook.com/KricketsClothingCo
Ah the great outdoors! Seeing as we’re in Missour’uh, how could we not put a sporting goods store on the list? Some of you may be thinking, “Hey now, Bass Pro is local!” *sigh* guys…Bass Pro has 177 locations all over the US and Canada and does nearly 5 billion in revenue. It’s not that we don’t like them, but I think they’ll forgive us for not including them in our blog supporting small businesses of Springfield.
Ozark Adventures is another business spawned out of the famous Haik family tree. They’ve been supplying hikers, paddlers, climbers, campers, trekkers and other avid outdoor adventurers in the Springfield area since 1979. They carry clothing and gear from brands such as The North Face, Patagonia, Marmot, Merrell, Chaco, Kelty and Deuter.
Not only do they have the gear, but they also have a helpful and knowledgeable staff to make sure you leave with what you need. Their website also has tips for exciting adventures in the area including rock climbing, paddling and hiking. That’s something you won’t find on the Academy website. Big surprise: local knows local!
Side note, we personally like their minimal and modern website. It’s clean, simple and to-the-point. Reminiscent of a clean, fresh breath of mountain air.
This isn’t exactly a product-for-product trade off. In fact, it’s more of an upgrade, honestly. So, you’re welcome.
Not only can they hook you up with a wide range of skin care products including makeup, but they have, according to 417magazine, more than 30 experts ready to assist you with everything from facial peels and massages to mani/pedis, botox, dermal fillers, and more.
Considering that Acacia Spa is an option for you here in Springfield, MO, why would you go anywhere else?
Not sure what to buy out of all those fantastic products and services? No problem! They offer gift cards, and you can also gift memberships to the spa as well. Who doesn’t know a hard working butt-kicker who deserves a spa membership? I can think of one right off the top of my head, and she is sitting right next to me! (love you dear!)
As I was writing this blog I was able to call and talk to almost every one of these business owners. They were overjoyed to talk about their businesses, and I really enjoyed learning about them.
This blog post started out as a simple idea, but it turned into much more. It became a special opportunity for me to connect with and learn from some amazing business people and hard working entrepreneurs.
They come from all backgrounds and all walks of life. I’m sure they all have differing beliefs and different stories, different views and opinions. But they’re all Americans, and they all want the best for this city.
They all believe in the power of community and in the hope of small business.
They are dreamers.
They are doers.
They are moms and dads and sons and daughters.
They are Springfield.
From our family to yours, from our small business to yours
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays