Amazon is a F~n River. Shop Local This Holiday Season. Here’s How.

It’s never been more important for Kootenay residents to shop locally. This is how.

We’ve all heard about how important it is to shop local to help keep our communities vibrant and thriving. But that hasn’t stopped some of us from turning to the supposed simplicity of online mega-retailers such as Amazon. The problem with that ease is, with every purchase, you’re literally sucking the lifeblood out of your town and region and handing it over to Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest person. (As of this writing, Bezos is worth almost $200 billion. BILLION!) Jeff doesn’t need your money. Nor do his crony investors. Your kids, neighbours, friends and towns need the money more.

KMC mags make great gifts. And they’re free! Just go to one of the awesome places listed on our “Where to get a copy” page and pick one up.

We received an email from contributing photographer Bobbi Barbarich yesterday and we want to share it here because this is why shopping locally is so important:

  • Small businesses are the lifeblood of our community and economy. They create the creative consciousness.
  • Independent business brings originality and variety in an increasingly homogenized world.
  • When we support each other, we make our community a better place to live.
  • When we shop in the places we live, we have a tangible effect on the community.
  • By supporting small business, you’re directly investing in your own community.
  • You’re funding the ideas that can only exist outside corporate chains.On that note, we’re dedicating all our socials over the next month to businesses and entrepreneurs that could use your support. Keep checking back to this post as it’ll be updated daily. If you have more to add from your neighbourhood, send an email to and let us know about it. Hard up for $ this holiday season? Not to worry. There are a number of ways to support local businesses that don’t involve money. Here’s how, according to Bobbi.

Remember, we are all neighbours. Be kind, be safe, and shop local.


Here are two great stocking stuffers: the Men in Tubs Calendar features fun dudes from Nelson and area in, you guessed it, bathtubs. You’ll also spy our very own editor-in-chief Mitchell Scott getting down and sudsy. The calendar is $25 and $5 of that goes towards mental health organizations. It can be ordered online. The second is the Salmo Calendar, a collaborative effort by Queen City Burlesque, Heritage Hub Inc. and Erie Creek Brewing Company. Each month features the lovely ladies of burlesque at various locations around the town. They’re $20 each. Queen City Burlesque and Heritage Hub are happy to take mail orders. .

There’s a warehouse sale event in Nelson with Zapped Outfitters, Pipsneaks, and LYDA Collective. The sale is happening in the basement level of 476 Baker Street (Tea Garden Salon) and all brands will be up to 60% off. If you can’t get to it, no prob as these awesome entrepreneurs also do online orders. (For more about Zapped Outfitters, check out our story with owner Scarlet Kux:

Want to know where you can shop for local items online? Click on the Instagram post below and in the comments you’ll see dozens and dozens of suggestions:

Ambler is a Nelson-based hat company that makes products for the whole family. They produce all of their hats here in BC and their toques and felt slippers are handmade in fair trade factories in Nepal. Their designs are inspired by the natural landscapes of BC in the hope to encourage people to get out and explore the world around them. Ambler products are sold in many of the outdoor and children’s stores in the Kootenays and throughout BC & AB. They also sell through their online store (Pic by Nick Diamond.)

Valhalla Pure Outfitter stores are all locally owned and have an amazing online shopping portal. We are particularly fond of VPO Nelson because they’ve been advertisers with us since the very beginning. In fact, they’ve been serving the outdoor community in the Nelson area since 1996 and have built up an incredible reputation for their selection of products and friendly service. If you are looking for advice about your adventure or need new outdoor clothing or gear, you will find their customer service will keep you coming back.

The headquarters of Lynx Off Grid Technology are located on a remote mountain property above Kootenay Lake and the company specializes in lights. Really, really bright lights. So we took its Raven Double Ultralight headlamp for a spin and wrote a glowing review about it. Read it here.

Another shop local gift idea for those who weren’t able to take their European vacations this year and have some money burning holes in their bank accounts. Northern Teardrop Trailer out of Salmo, makes light-weight, bad-ass rigs that’ll ensure you never have to sleep on the hard ground again. And they can be towed by a small SUV. (Try that with an Airstream.)
Here’s an amazing shop local Christmas present idea that may never happen again: our friends at Valhalla Mountain Touring have told us they’re booking one-day ski touring adventures this season. Normally VMT, which is located in the Selkirk Mts just north of Valhalla Provincial Park, offers week-long stays that involve a cat ride to the lodge and then backcountry touring from there. But for a limited time only, they’ll whisk you and your party into the backcountry, guide you around some of the prime terrain, and return you to your car in time for you to head home for dinner. All for only $400pp. Email for dates and details.

This is another holiday gift idea for the gear lover in your life and it’s handmade in Trail, BC. (Yes, it’s made by real hands…in Canada!) The Truckit Bucket tote was created out of necessity by Krista and Bernard who own Wewerke Design, a funky studio in a converted church in downtown Trail. The duo are avid bikers, snowboarders and SUPers and needed a way of transporting all their gear in a durable tote that made everything easy to see. Their solution is the 35-litre Truckit Bucket and we’ve given it an honest review here. 

We like any product that’s named after a Gordon Lightfoot song, and the Sundown backpack by Nelson, BC-based Northern is no exception. This pack is so light, it weighs the equivalent of 4 iPhones. And it’s hand-sewn right here by company owner Chris Matson who knows a thing or two about gear considering he’s thru-hiked 10,000 kilometres in his lifetime. Got a hiker on your Christmas list? This could be the gift for them. Read our honest review here.

Here’s a cool shop local idea for our friends south of the border. The Art Spirit Gallery in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, is currently featuring local artist Chase Halland who specializes in what he calls “taxidermy textile art.” He’ll take found or donated antlers, or create ones from resin for an animal-free piece, and use Pendleton blankets for the head. To see more of his work, visit

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