Small businesses are the heart of our community. They bring great products to Kitchener-Waterloo, create jobs for our friends and neighbours, and know the ins and outs of the community on the ground level.
More than ever, small businesses need our support this holiday season.
When you buy local, you are supporting a local business and our community. You can even help lower your carbon footprint!
Here are ten local shops we think you'll discover some unique finds for the special people in your life.
740 Belmont Avenue West, Kitchener
Our first suggestion is a no-brainer — Gifted Waterloo. The store moved into a new, larger space in bustling Belmont Village earlier this fall, which means even more space for their unique gifts for everyone on your list.
"Gifted is great for various knick knacks," said Attila Schmidt, BitBakery's Director of UX.
Get lost in the endless gifts, decor, and paper goods from tons of local makers at Gifted Waterloo. From fuzzy slippers and art prints to Kitchener-Waterloo-themed mugs, bags, buttons, pins, and more, it'll be hard to narrow down your wish list here!
150 Caroline Street South, Waterloo
For the foodie, spend some time at Vincenzo's Fine Foods this holiday season.
"I always go to Vincenzo's before the holidays to bring delicious gifts to my family in Montreal," said Joe Reda, BitBakery's CTO. "Things like guanciale (Italian bacon), ricotta salata (cheese) and panettone are always on my list."
With over 500 cheeses, deli meats, sandwiches, hot food, cafe, and thousands of grocery items from around the world, visit Vincenzo's to pick up all the ingredients to make your meals, charcuterie boards, treats, and more pop!
22 Dupont St E. Waterloo, ON
Know a guitar or fretted instrument enthusiast? Maybe you know a family member with an old guitar that has been confined to its case for years and could use a refresh.
Folkway Music is a shop you cannot miss. Serving customers from all over the world, Folkway's commitment to quality and genuine care for customers' experience sets them apart as a shop for new and vintage treasures, as well as repairs and restorations. Find your next muse at Folkway Music!
The Sock Factory
75 King St S, Waterloo
If the thought of getting socks as a holiday gift this year makes you cringe, let us convince you – a gift from The Sock Factory in Uptown Waterloo will knock your boring old socks off and put a guaranteed smile on your face. With a massive variety of unique designs and patterns, you'll be sure to find something to compliment anyone's personality, job, or interests with these long-lasting, high-quality socks.
230 Weber St N, Waterloo
J&J Collectibles is your one-stop-shop for all things puzzles, games, LEGO, toys, and more. With shelves full of treasures stacked up to the ceiling, friendly staff is ready to help you find the perfect gift to keep your friends and family entertained for hours and hours on end.
32 King St N, Waterloo
Speaking of collectibles, check out the charming Carry-On Comics in Uptown Waterloo. Whether you're a casual reader or avid collector, this is the place to go. The owners are passionate readers and collectors who know their stuff and will help you discover that unique find for the comic lover in your life.
Check out their Facebook page for weekly comic shipment details!
Sidewalk Beer Shop
46 King St N, Waterloo
On your way from Carry-On Comics, stop by The Sidewalk Beer Shop, presented by The Princess Cafe, for sips you just can't find in the LCBO. With a frequently changing list featuring Ontario's finest producers, you'll be sure to find something new for the beer-lover in your life.
Not sure what to pick up? The shop is now offering 12 pack mystery boxes curated and ready to go. Mystery boxes could be the easiest way to impress the beer enthusiast in your life without actually having to think about anything. Get your "Box O'Cans" today!
98 Queen St S, Kitchener
Keep heading down King Street to find something for the wine lover in your life. Recently opened, let your trip take you to Goldie's Convenience – a new wine bar in Downtown Kitchener. Beyond wine, cider, and beer, Goldie's offers sweet merch and informative books and magazines from local makers.
White Tiger Vintage
248 King St E, Kitchener
Travel back in time at White Tiger Vintage to find a sustainable gift for the vintage lover on your list. With pre-loved items curated from across North America, you'll find high-quality pieces like vintage denim, leather jackets, classic shoes, sunglasses, jewelry, and bags that you won't be able to find anywhere else.
Civilian Screen Printing
100 Ahrens St W Suite 103
If you can imagine it, Civilian Screen Printing can screen print it. Take your holiday gift shopping to your creative limits by getting a custom-designed t-shirt, hat, mug bag, golf ball...the list goes on! Your face on a blanket? Best gift ever.
1382 King St. N., St Jacobs, ON
While this gift may be hard to wrap, it's worth bringing some greenery into your favourite plant parent's home. Living Fresh, newly located in the beautiful Village of St. Jacobs, has a team of experienced designers offering flower and plant services, from wreaths and bouquets to locally sourced plants and arrangements, perfect for combating the winter blues.
105 Lexington Rd Unit 19, Waterloo, ON
A suggestion from Wes Worsfold, BitBakery's CEO, is to give the gift of an experience with a virtual class taught by two red seal chefs from the Culinary Studio. From holiday baking, cabbage rolls, or a Mexican fiesta to learning how to make pasta from scratch, a cooking class is a great way to educate, entertain and guarantee a great meal to share with friends and family from home!
Supporting the Culinary Studio supports local food providers and farmers too!
Gaukel Street, December 2-5
The Christkindl Market celebrates its 25th anniversary this year and is pulling out all the stops. Shop the online marketplace featuring over 60 local vendors or order yourself a Christkindl-in-a-Box if you want to relive the market from the comfort of your home. The main event, running from December 2-5, features the magic of the market's wooden huts decked out on Gaukel street, ready for you to make new holiday memories.
Home is where the heart is, and supporting small businesses is essential to seeing Canadian communities thrive. This year, challenge yourself to check off those wish list items with great local finds. Whether it's sharing an old favourite or discovering a new hidden gem, Kitchener-Waterloo has a lot to offer, and it's up to us to help keep our favourite local businesses around.
Still need more ideas? Check out CuratedKW's Holiday Gift Guide, featuring 125 businesses (over 20% BIPOC-owned) from across Waterloo Region. Our friends on the Downtown Kitchener team have a comprehensive Holiday Gift Giving Guide to show some love to these businesses over the holiday season too.