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Give the Gift of Nostalgia, Artistry, Glamour and Luxury

 November 13, 2018

The Arkansas Economic Development Commission (AEDC) encourages Arkansans to support local businesses by purchasing products made here in Arkansas and by visiting local merchants throughout the holiday season, but especially during the annual Small Business, held the Saturday after Thanksgiving, which falls on November 24th this year.

Last year, 108 million consumers spent $12.9 billion during Small Business Saturday, according to research by American Express and the National Federation of Independent Business. The annual event is held the day after Black Friday, which historically has been when big box stores hit annual revenue goals.

“Small Business Saturday provides people an opportunity to discover and celebrate the variety of small businesses that make their communities thrive,” said Elizabeth Rutledge, Executive Vice President, Global Advertising & Brand Management at American Express. “Beyond visiting their favorite go-to spots, shoppers say Small Business Saturday inspires them to visit places they have not been to before and would not have otherwise tried.”

Arkansas has 247,018 small businesses employing 479,727 people (about 47.8 percent of the private workforce) according to the U.S. Small Business Administration. Just over 25,000 of those businesses are classified as retail trade.

Shopping small isn’t the only way to buy Arkansas-based gifts. Even larger companies in The Natural State have unique items your friends and family are sure to open with a smile.

Remember the iconic scene in “A Christmas Story” where Ralphie opens that slim red package, hoping to find inside his beloved Red Ryder B.B. gun? Introduced in the 1930s and manufactured in Rogers, Arkansas, the Daisy Manufacturing Company’s Red Ryder BB Gun is the company’s best known and longest production item. The young sportsman (or sportswoman) on your list would be delighted to open one this Christmas, or you might just have your eye on one of the other guns manufactured in Arkansas including Remington, SIG SAUER, Nighthawk Custom, Wilson Combat, and more.

Need a one-of-a-kind gift idea for the art lover in your family? The Arkansas Arts Center’s Museum Shop provides artists and artisan with a place to showcase and sell their original creations to national and international buyers. From James Hayes hand-blown glass Santas to Blake Stone Woodworks Arkansas Cutting Boards, the store offers something for everyone. There’s even a special selection for kids.

Arkansas clothing manufacturers can outfit your favorite people from head to toe this holiday season. Southern Bloodline Apparel traces its beginnings to three college baseball players who love hats. Arkansocks features designs featuring Arkansas designs while Munro Shoes has styles for both casual and dress wear. For workout wear, Chinese clothing maker Tianyuan Garments has opened a manufacturing facility in Arkansas to make items for Adidas, and Lauren James continues to make items with a distinctive Southern flair.

Do you have a glamour in your family? French-owned L’Oreal makes products in North Little Rock, including skincare, makeup, fragrances and more under the brands Maybelline New York, Matrix, Lancome, Giorgio Armani, Garnier, Pureology, and more.

Don’t show up empty-handed to a holiday party. Head first to one of Arkansas’ craft breweries for a gift for your hosts. Lost Forty Brewing opened four years ago and sold more than a million cans of beer in its first year. Diamond Bear has won several national and international awards, while Blue Canoe Brewing pays homage to its founders’ love of floating down rivers.

Finally, for the ultimate luxury gift, look to the skies, because “Nothing flies like a Falcon.” Little Rock is home to the largest Dassault facility in the company and is the main completion center for the company’s jets worldwide. Falcon Jet began in 1975 as a joint venture between Dassault Aviation and Pan American Airways that purchased Little Rock Airmotive as well as a hangar and office facility. If Jimmy Buffet buys here, why shouldn’t you?

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