Shop Local for the Holidays: Six Boutique and Local Gems in Fort Wayne, Indiana
The holiday season in Fort Wayne is a magical time, especially with The Bradley as your home base. Downtown comes to life with HolidayFest, setting off even before Thanksgiving begins, with stunning light displays on nearly every corner, and both the historic Embassy Theatre and the Botanical Conservatory are filled with fragrant and glowing Christmas trees and charming evergreen garlands. But perhaps even more than we love gazing at glowing lights on Main Street and ice-skating at riverfront Headwaters Park, we adore the festive, cheerful experience of holiday shopping in Fort Wayne. That feeling of seeing your kids staring wide-eyed at Christmas window displays, or sipping a sweet hot cocoa while balancing armloads of bags full of gifts that will make your family smile — that heartwarming feeling can’t be matched. But this year, it’s especially important to shop local and support the small businesses in Fort Wayne that might be struggling due to pandemic safety measures, so we’ve put together a Fort Wayne holiday shopping guide; the best part is that these shops will deliver locally, so if you don’t feel like braving the Midwest snow (or you’re being cautious about your family’s health), you can stay snuggled by a cozy fire while you shop at home.
1. For foodies and those with a sweet tooth
GK Baked Goods is an endlessly tempting bakery helmed by Grace Kelly May, an incredibly talented, classically trained pastry chef. Grace is known for her impressive artisan breads, but the ooey gooey GK Cinnamon Roll would make any Yuletide brighter.
2. For the coffee connoisseur
We love Utopian Coffee, located in the new Landing Development and near the hotel, not only because their beans are freshly and locally roasted, amazingly delicious and high quality (and it is certainly all of those things), but because they are so committed to investing in the well-being of their coffee farmers all over the world, building real sustainable relationships with small-batch farms in South America and Africa. You can order their beans and send them to anyone on your gift list anywhere in the country. Consider sending your favorite coffee lover the Better Breakfast gift, which includes their Roasted Union coffee beans, a sturdy Utopian mug, as well as the fixings for pancakes — perfect for a satisfying Christmas morning meal.
3. For everyone in the family
If you find yourself pressed for time and can only shop at one store for everyone on your list, head to the appropriately named The Find, located in The City Exchange Shops, where you can find everything from toys, books and clothing for babies and kids, to charming home goods, to beauty and skincare, to jewelry, handbags and apparel for women. The find has a number of curated gift sets if your giftee has you feeling stumped, and they can ship nationwide. Also, if you’d prefer the safety of shopping with no one else around, they offer private shopping appointments on Tuesdays — simply book your time on their website.
4. For the artsy lady in your life
The HEDGE began as a fine art printmaking studio, but now it is so much more — a purveyor of fantastic statement jewelry, unique and customized housewares and host to wonderfully creative DIY workshops, like linoleum printing and bookbinding. Founder Julie Wall even crafted locally inspired prints to adorn the guestrooms at The Bradley. Treat a lovely lady in your life with a one-of-a-kind pair of real butterfly wing earrings, or bestow upon a crafty friend a relaxing new pastime with one of The HEDGE’s at-home workshops, like the floating embroidery kit.
5. A+ Gift for an A+ Teacher
We all know our incredible teachers have been working extra hard this year, and deserve an extra special holiday gift from parents and pupil. Modest Wick is a beloved homegrown company in New Haven that makes handcrafted, small batch candles using all-natural and safe ingredients, like U.S.-grown soy wax. They also donate a portion of each sale to Riley Children’s Foundation. These candles smell deliciously indulgent, and are beautifully packaged — you can order online and Modest Wick will deliver anywhere in the Fort Wayne area. Send your teacher an aromatherapy candle (or two!) — they deserve a moment of zen!
6. For those who like to imbibe on great local wine
Two-EE’s is a popular winery just outside Fort Wayne in picturesque Huntington, Indiana. They have quite a selection of quaffs, but they may be best known for their sweeter varieties, especially their Plonqé, a highly drinkable red made from concord grapes. If you’re not able to visit their lovely winery in person to make a purchase (they are open by reservation only), you can ship their wines to most states.