Home to many fine local businesses, Corvallis is a holiday treasure trove. We’ve selected just a few of the great options around town for buying local this year when thinking about gifts for loved ones, friends and even someone you might be trying to kiss up to. Either way, when you go out, shop smart and buy local!
by Patrick Fancher
117 NW 2nd St.
Lingerie is the gift that keeps on giving year round. Am I right? Instead of shopping for overpriced, one-size-fits-all Victoria’s Secret drab this Xmas, you can help spark the romance locally and buy extravagant bras, undies, sleepwear, or jewelry for your partner at Donna Bella’s downtown. An OSU thong by Hanky Panky or a gift certificate are ideal stocking stuffers. Or you can splurge for a Swarovski Crystal sequin bra. Just take comfort knowing their sales staff will not lead you astray.
The Golden Crane
114 SW 3rd St.
There’s a reason the Golden Crane has called Corvallis home since 1980. The eclectic boutique is truly a one-of-a-kind shopping experience, offering everything from handmade jewelry and scarves to vintage women’s clothing and cultural decor you won’t find anywhere else in the valley. Owner Ruby Moon tries to source all the merchandise locally or from the U.S. with new inventory arriving daily. Expect to see many special sales now through Christmas, including everything in their backroom.
100 SW 3rd St.
While mp3s and iPods have rendered most music shops obsolete, Happy Trails still has a foothold as Corvallis’ best record store for over 35 years. Shoppers can stop in and look through an impressive selection of new and used CDs and DVDs priced anywhere from $1 to $10. And as any DJ will tell you, Happy Trails is the only local source for quality vinyl records. Sometimes, the guys behind the counter will even cut you a deal on a large purchase, or at least engage in good conversation about all things music.
by Ygal Kaufman
2401 NW Kings Blvd.
Are you shopping for a boy or a girl? Aged 8 to 88? Well then perhaps you may want to consider going to a place with literally every cool thing a person with any coolness in them could want. Trump’s got your back. Puzzles, games, models, airplanes, trains, rockets, boats, flight simulators, vintage toys, science toys, collectible card games, magic tricks, tools, arts and crafts, books… if you can’t find it for them here, they don’t deserve a gift.
354 SW Madison Ave.
Knives are cool. This is undeniable. The question is what kind of cool are you going for?
Sons of Anarchy? Grizzly Adams? Or Julia Child? Because no matter which, Corvallis Cutlery has got a sharp edged tool, and the accessories, to keep you stabbing rival gang members/taming bears/dicing vegetables like a pro. I recommend their very reasonable prices on Shun cutlery. I have a set of these at home, and they basically will vaporize a tomato if you just swing it nearby.
OSU Folk Club Thrift Store
144 NW 2nd St.
Corvallis is not exactly short on vintage/used/thrift stores, but this one is a bit special in that, well, they seem to have no idea what they’re doing. And I mean that in the best of ways. While some items may be preposterously over priced, you can also find absolute gems for a mere fraction of what they’re worth. This place is always an adventure worth checking out.
By Johnny Beaver
423 SW 3rd St.
Bullfrog is a small shop but boasts a huge collection of fantastic acoustic guitars, including a fair number of Oregon-based Breedlove’s. Couple that with a rotating selection of modern and vintage consignment options, amps, strings etc. and you have the makings of a great guitar shop. The man behind the curtain, Kurt, is one of the most talented and honest guitar techs around; he’ll go out of his way to make sure you get what you need.
The Fingerboard Extension
120 NW 2nd St.
If you or your loved one is into banjos, violins, dobros, ukes or any number of in stock and consigned pieces of gear, this is the place to go. Every time I go in I want to rummage through all their shelves, display cases and counter-tops. Lots of random goodies from pickups to pedals to used straps and a really helpful, friendly staff that’ll help you find what you’re looking for.
By Jennifer Smith
Inkwell Home Store
234 SW 3rd St.
Having a hard time thinking of a Christmas present? The Inkwell Home Store has been open since 1964 and has such a wide variety of gifts you’ll be able to find a present for anyone in the family. Each section of this store has something different from kitchenware, bathroom accessories, office décor, and furniture to gag gifts, toys, jewelry, and Christmas decorations. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, they’ll gladly order it for you. Prices are a little high, but not enough to deter a customer since the quality of merchandise is also high. There is a kitchen sale right now that will run until Thanksgiving where kitchenware will be 40 to 60 percent off. You can also get coupons from their website if you sign up for their newsletter. After Christmas, all of their Christmas merchandise will be 50 percent off.
137 SW 3rd St.
Have a musician in the family? This store has everything for a music lover who can test play various percussion, wind, stringed, and electronic instruments and includes various accessories, audio equipment, and thousands of song books and sheet music. They also offer various music and voice classes. This store also has a “Band and Orchestra Instrumental Rental/ Purchase Program” which allows musicians to make a payment or rental plan that is interest free. New music students can get a 25 percent discount if they purchase the instrument outright.
110 SW 3rd St.
Need yarn? Then Stash is the best place for you. Stash has a variety of yarns for all kinds of knitting: wool, silk, alpaca, merino, acrylic, nylon, cashmere, bamboo, camel, linen, leicester, mohair, donegal tweed, and polyamide. All yarns are made with natural ingredients and dyes in a variety of colors. Stash also sells handmade ceramic buttons, hand bags, Christmas ornaments, and body moisturizer as well as photography and knitting books.
Myrtlewood Mystique Gallery
1737 Main St., Philomath
The Myrtlewood Mystique Gallery is a perfect store to shop for anyone who appreciates the beauty of wood and the durability of handmade craftsmanship. There are 35 local wood crafters who make various types of items for Myrtlewood; some of these pieces are: benches, tables, chests, walking sticks, hangers, boxes, checkers and chess game boards, jewelry, Christmas ornaments, nature carvings, and numerous types of kitchenware like bowls, utensils, coasters, cups, and plates. They also sell myrtlewood leaves for cooking and perfumes. If you want something specific, they can also make custom made-to-order creations.
By Candy Smith
115 NW 2nd St.
When you walk into the doors of Mod Pod, brightness and glitter fill your line of sight. The small store features a wealth of items, ranging from home décor and office supplies to lotions and accessories. This is the place to go to find something sweet for your mom, sister, girlfriend, or really anyone who likes cheery and kitschy items. Some of the best sellers so far this holiday season have been gummy bear nightlights, water infusers, and selections from the wide variety of owl items. The store also features beautiful holiday décor and ornaments and other unique novelty offerings. Mod Pod will have sales and specials for Black Friday and Small Business Saturday, and also usually has some great items on special. Don’t miss Mod Pod in your holiday shopping!
The Toy Factory
442 SW 2nd St.
This family-owned business features a wide variety of items for children of all ages and interests. Not only do they have a wide variety of children’s books and educational toys and games, they also feature many of the most popular brands of children’s toys. You will find LEGO, PLAYMOBIL, Knecht, Brio, and many other great manufacturers on the aisles of the store. With an incredibly knowledgeable sales staff and a large store full of unique items, you are sure to find a special something for every child. They also carry items for infants and babies.
Matt’s Cavalcade of Comics
2075 NW Buchanan Ave.
Matt’s is a hidden gem in Corvallis, a haven for all fandom and superhero tendencies. The store features a wide variety of items, including an extensive comic book collection, board games, supplies and books for role playing games, action figures and toys, and many more fun items. Some of their most popular items this season are a variety of Walking Dead and Game of Thrones paraphernalia, Doctor Who items (including an AMAZING Dalek that talks), the Magic the Gathering holiday gift box, My Little Pony, and popular board games like Settlers of Catan. One unique gift idea is the gift of a comic book subscription for the comic book fan in your life. The staff is knowledgeable and friendly to the lost parent or friend trying to find the perfect gift, and offer game demos and playing areas in their store.
By Anis Plummer
521 SW 2nd St.
Troubador is yet another Corvallis music store that boasts a really diverse collection of instruments. From affordable to high end, to “what’s that? I’ve never seen one before,” Similar to Fingerboard Extension in selection, although a bit more eclectic, this would be a good place to look for something you can’t find anywhere else.
The Kids’ Shop
116 SW 3rd St.
As if the title didn’t say it all, the Kids’ Shop boasts the largest collection of kids’ stuff you can imagine. From unique toys to adorable child-sized suits, dress-up costumes to items for mom and dad, such as diaper bag and the ever-lovable Bamboobies (washable nursing pads), they really do have it all. A perfect stop for the fairly-new parents on your list.
The Book Bin
215 SW 4th St.
If you or your loved one is a book nerd, this place is just as it sounds – a fantastic assortment of books both new and used. Want to sell or trade? They do that too. Looking for that random science fiction or fantasy favorite? They definitely do that. The quintessential corner book store. Just watch out for the attack cat!
353 SW Madison Ave.
What is there even to say about this place? Handcrafted confections that will blow minds. Think you have a chocolate lover in the family? If they haven’t been to Burst’s, they’re just an amateur. This is hands-down the best place around for gourmet chocolate. And if you’re one of those weirdos that doesn’t like chocolate, one taste and your life will be changed forever.
301 SW Madison Ave.
A family-operated business with a terribly fantastic selection of high quality shoes, socks slippers, clogs and other comfortable footwear. Did I mention they also do top notch repairs?
227 SW 2nd St.
Really putting the local in local book stores, they hold writer events and have a number of local CDs and books from local authors. Additionally, their magazine selection might be the best in the city. If you’re looking for local literary flavor, this should be your first and perhaps only stop.
Animal Crackers Pet Supply
949 NW Kings Blvd.
For the pet lover, there are few places that can stand up to Animal Crackers’ dedication to good nutrition for your pet. A community resource, partnered with Heartland Humane Society, this is your one stop shop for all dog, cat and small animal needs be they hungry, playful (rumor has it they have an awesome toy selection) or perhaps in need of a bit of grooming! Hey now, it happens to the best of us.
121 NW 4th St.
Already hugely popular in Corvallis, this bookstore specializes in used books and has a massive, constantly rotating selection. Buy, sell, trade… they do it all, and do it well. Almost like being inside of a cozy library, don’t linger too long or you might get lost in a great novel and your giftee might be ^*&% out of luck.