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‘Local’s all we got’: Travel Oregon’s gift guides give C.O. holiday shoppers a reason to shop small

(Update: Adding video, comments from local businesses)

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- "Give the Gift of Oregon" is Travel Oregon's online holiday shopping guides to support small businesses, and Central Oregon businesses are spotlighted in one of their regional guides.

Travel Oregon CEO Todd Davidson said, "Please consider gifting a special Oregon-made product, or a future stay to a new destination to a loved one." 

Jessica Pollard, the owner of Merryweather Home Gift and Design, located in the Box Factory on Industrial Way in Bend, said Tuesday," I love having the local clientele --  I think it's really important to support small businesses."

Travel Oregon says it is helping you create your Christmas list for your loved ones. Their online gift guide recommends Merryweather as a place to shop for home goods. 

"It's a joy when people come in and say, 'Oh, I wish we had a store like this in Seattle,' or, 'I wish we had a store like this in our hometown, and we have nothing like this.'" Pollard said. "It feels really good that so many of the stores are unique."

Customers are quick to see the value in shopping local.

Bend resident Joseph Watkins said," A lot of local businesses got shut down, and all the big business got to stay around, so support where you can."

Bend resident Ali Bylund added, "Local's all we got." 

Another shop highlighted in the the Central Oregon gift guide is Kara's Kitchenware in the Old Mill District .

Owner Kara Hanson said, "I just think it's really important after Covid and the economics the way they are today to shop local. It just helps our town, and it helps us to stay relevant." 

"There's definitively a buzz down here in Old Mill during the holidays, with Santa and some different events they're doing this season," she added.

The guide also includes food recommendations, like Sisters Meat and Smokehouse, and outdoor activities like Wanderlust Tours. 

"There's something special about walking in a door and connecting with the space the owner has created, connecting with the staff," Pollard said. "I think it adds an extra element of uniqueness and specialness to the item that you're purchasing."

Here is the Travel Oregon press release:

The Oregon Tourism Commission, doing business as Travel Oregon, has announced the return of its popular “Give the Gift of Oregon” holiday shopping gift guides, which provide inspiration and ideas so shoppers can find uniquely Oregon gifts while supporting local businesses throughout the state.

The gift guides are organized regionally and by areas of interest such as food and drink, trip planning, outdoor adventure, and arts and culture. The guides make it easier for shoppers to consider a well curated array of options, narrow down their choices, and find the perfect Oregon gift for their loved ones, whether shopping online or in person.

“Oregon's locally-owned businesses comprise the foundation of the state’s tourism economy,” said Todd Davidson, CEO of Travel Oregon. “Demonstrating our love for Oregon by shopping locally this holiday season helps our state’s retail shops, food and beverage purveyors, restaurants, coffee shops, wineries, breweries, lodging properties, guides and tour operators, and artisans thrive during the holiday season.

"Please consider gifting a special Oregon-made product or a future stay to a new destination to a loved one. And ,while you’re out shopping, treat yourself to handmade and thoughtfully curated gifts from diverse makers across the state.”

In order to make things easier for holiday shoppers, the “Give the Gift of Oregon” initiative includes 12 themed shopping guides on the Travel Oregon website. Several of these resources are available in Spanish as well.

Ideas range from flavor-packed food items from Oregon’s craft chocolatiers, cheesemakers and coffee roasters to gifts for outdoors enthusiasts such as waterproof biking jackets, hand-tied fishing flies, inflatable kayaks and gift certificates from one of Oregon’s many outdoors guides and tour operators.

People shopping for arts and culture enthusiasts will find information about glass blowing classes, theater tickets and memberships for Oregon’s museums and attractions. And for the person always dreaming about their next vacation, the guides offer inspiration and information about gift certificates for future stays at Oregon destinations across the state.

In addition, the “Give the Gift of Oregon” shopping guides offer ideas for how to find local gifts in each of the state’s seven regions. This includes information about regional shopping districts and markets, home gifts, clothing and jewelry, food and drink, and attractions and experiences, as well as ideas for gifting future stays at hotels, inns, farms and ranches throughout each region. The gift guides organized by region include:

About Travel Oregon

The Oregon Tourism Commission, dba Travel Oregon, is a semi-independent state agency whose mission is to inspire travel that uplifts Oregon communities. Collaborating with stakeholders to align as stewards of Oregon, we work to optimize economic opportunity, advance equity and respect the ecosystems, cultures and places that make Oregon… Oregon. Travel Oregon aims to improve Oregonians’ quality of life by strengthening the economic impacts of the state’s $10.9 billion tourism industry, which employs more than 100,000 Oregonians.

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Kelsey McGee

Kelsey McGee is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Kelsey here.

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