We reached out to two of our longtime St. Louis friends, writer and editor Staci Kramer and digital marketer Marianne Richmond, for their help in putting together a sampling of some of the area’s great shop-local options for holiday shopping. (And believe us, this is just a sampling.) If we start driving now, we can make it by tomorrow morning at opening time for some of the great-sounding places to shop local, St. Louis style.

1. Bissinger’s Handcrafted Chocolatier

Bissinger's Chocolates

(Photo via Bissinger’s Handcrafted Chocolatier on Facebook)

The Bissinger Family began making chocolate delicacies in France during the 17th century for European nobility. After his father by the same name immigrated to the United States in 1845, Karl Bissinger established Bissinger’s Chocolates on Macpherson Avenue in St. Louis in 1927. Today, Bissinger blends tradition and innovation by sticking to recipes from the family’s original 1899 cookbook yet combining them with creative new ways to indulge in confectionary. Their most recent product success was the award winning chocolate covered wine grapes released in 2011.

2. Down By the Station

Down By The Station

(Photo via 150 West Argonne Dr. Kirkwood, Missouri on google.maps)

If you find yourself in St. Louis along the streets of Kirkwood, Down By The Station is a fun place to pick up jewelry, cards and stationery, wedding gifts and of course holiday decorations. Though this store caters more to women, anyone can enjoy themselves browsing through their collection of gifts and knick-knacks.

3. Cornucopia

Cornucopia

(Photo via cornucopia-kitchen.com)

Cornucopia has an amazing selection of cooking tools, gourmet food, and coffees & teas. This local cooking treasure trove boasts more then 15,000 items in its two-level 4,000 square foot store. A great deal of Cornucopia’s products are American made and much of their gourmet food comes from around St. Louis. Their products are also competitively priced with Amazon.

4. The Alpine Shop

The Alpine Store

(Photo via The Alpine shop on Facebook)

The Alpine shop is an expansive outdoor retailer that has been ranked by Outdoor Business Magazine as one of the top 25 retailers in the outdoor business for three years in a row. The store is renowned for its wide range of gear to equip backpackers, hikers, paddlers, cyclists, and even snowboarders and skiers. Along with their products, the Alpine shop offers a series of outdoor educational courses for all ages that are intended to bring enthusiasm and a love for the wilderness in partnership with experience, skill and security.

5. Craft Alliance

Craft Alliance

(Photo via google.maps)

Craft Alliance has been dedicated since 1964 to inspiring and educating its customers on contemporary art and crafts by exhibiting artist’s work, educating students of all ages, and facilitating and encouraging art collecting. In 2008, Craft Alliance opened the Kranzberg Art Center in St. Louis’ art-centric Grand Center Arts District. This additional location has allowed Craft Alliance to offer a more extensive selection of courses as well as sell their crafts, art, and jewelry to a larger audience and work with the neighboring art organizations.

6. Star Clipper

Starclipper

(Photo via starclipper on Facebook)

Perhaps the most diverse and welcoming comic book shop in the St. Louis area, Star Clipper has popular comics, graphic novels, and tons of other cool memorbilia and merchandise to keep your inner geek mesmerized for hours. Star Clipper will also buy and trade customer’s new and used comics for store credit on Thursdays and Sundays. You can find them and many other superb local businesses among the shops on The Delmar Loop.

 7. City Sprouts

City Sprouts

(Photo via City Sprouts on Facebook)

City Sprouts is a baby and toddler store that sells clothing, books, and other gifts. But the interesting part about City Sprout’s Business is it is extremely popular with adults ages twenty and up, plenty of who don’t even have children, they just love the products. Yes, this gift store is meant for grown ups who have in some ways refused to “grow-up”

8. Vintage Vinyl

Vintage Vinyl

(Photo via 3minuterecord)

From selling vinyls from a booth at a local farmer’s market in 1979 to operating and owning Vintage Vinyls’ present 7,000 sq.ft. location on Delmar Street, Tom Ray and Lew Prince have lived life and run their record store for the sake of music. Often when times are difficult, Tom likes to say, “Music will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no music.”

9. Kakao Chocolate

Kakao Chocolate

(Photo on KakaoChocolate.com)

With a passion for Chocolate, Brian Pelletier ditched his corporate desk job in 2008 and started Kakao Chocolate, another St. Louis confectionery that takes chocolate to new heights. As one media reviewer described it, “he’s discovered how to make a half-inch cube of chocolate melt on the tip of your tongue and suffuse your entire body with pure joy.”

10. Schlafly BottleWorks

Schlafly Bottleworks

If you shop Kakao Chocolate’s Maplewood location and find yourself thirsty from Holiday shopping, you should also go next door and check out Schlafly Bottleworks. Schlafly is St. Louis’ largest locally owned craft brewery (although, we hear there’s a local large brewery in town, as well). With fifty different styles of craft beer flowing, we can see why Schlafly Bottleworks has been called the “local home of beer.” Or, at least the local home of beer not associated with Clydesdales.

 (Featured photo via wikimedia commons)

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