Shop Fort Wayne: Locals share their best gift ideas

Fort Wayne is home to a thriving and growing community of locally-owned shops and boutiques. When customers shop independent boutiques, small businesses and artists, they help to support local job creation, keep tax dollars in the community and promote diverse neighborhoods and districts, all while finding unique items and gifts. Here a few of the local shops Fort Wayne loves.

The Shed Interiors. I love any one of their amazing pieces. — Andie Hines, owner of Red Tree

I like to shop Creative Women of the World for jewelry for family and friends. — Rick Kinney, co-owner/general manager of Clyde Theatre

I swing into Opal & Ruby every time I’m waiting on my 800 Degrees Three Fires carryout. I love giving lotions and bath gels from the Lollia line, cute and affordable jewelry, and shopping their great collection of Swell Bottles and funny cards.  — Katie Burrows, director of Canterbury Lower School

I love going to Visit Fort Wayne and checking out all their awesome Fort Wayne gear. — Kenna Davis, communication specialist at Turnstone

Gifts from Artlink and Fort Wayne Museum of Art stand out as different and delightful, and The Hedge’s custom stationery makes an inspired gift. I recommend treating yourself or a loved one to printed fine art created locally by Julie Wall. — Michelle Gladieux, president of Gladieux Consulting

My favorite created locally gift comes from artist Matthew Plett ( I love being able to commission a hand-lettered painting as a gift to others. — Andrew Hoffman, executive director of NeighborLink Fort Wayne

I always enjoy Saving Grace Vintage and its farm tables, refurbished dressers and chairs. I love hearing the stories behind the pieces. I have a number of them in my home.  — Stephen J. Bailey, digital marketer/owner of PH Digital

I love all our fun, new, local gift boutiques. The Find and its sister store, The Trove, offer jewelry, clothing and gift items at so many different price points. It makes shopping with friends so much more fun when everyone can shop together while honoring their own budgets.  — Nancy Gouloff-Grabner, wardrobe stylist for Cabi

I really enjoy Fancy & Staple’s cute and crass novelties.  — Jack Ellsworth, owner of Valontine and general manager of City Exchange Shops

Snow shoes from Fort Wayne Outfitters & Bike Depot is on my list this year, because you have to get outside to survive winter around here, and mine are circa 1995. As for giving, I’m relying on Fancy & Staple for cheeky stocking stuffers and cool gifts for my kids. I can’t say more without giving away my secrets!  — Melani Wilson, owner of The Trove and The Find

I like Neat Neat Neat’s political T shirts and the Little Hippos cream-filled candies from George’s International Market— Justin Redwanski, merchandise manager of Barnes & Noble

Mr. Polymath in The City Exchange Shops is fantastic. I bought an old school Fort Wayne pendant recently. It’s a great guys store, which can be hard to find.  — Crystal Vann Wallstrom, founder of Rabbit Hole Ventures

I have so many favorite shops. I adore anything Melani Wilson Designs from The Find, because her pieces are always classy and the epitome of style.  — Nicky Nolot, co-owner of Tolon Restaurant

I love shopping at Lace & Arrow because its unique clothing items, fabulous shoes and accessories are to die for! They’ve met my fashion needs from work clothes to a concert in the park outfit and they’ve literally styled this ‘frugal fashionista’ from head to toe!  — Michelle Chambers, owner of Signing Closers

I like like dressy-casual Meyer pants from Christopher James Menswear.  — Sara Keltsch, owner of The Monogram Shoppe

I’m a huge fan of Vintage Treasures Antique Mall. It’s a well-kept antique shop that sells amazing vintage items and some interesting new items such as welded steel signs and letters. It hides a comic store in the back. I recently was able to locate an original print of An Outline of Psychoanalysis by Sigmund Freud for a friend who works in mental health for less than $10!  — Chad Seewald, owner of Sweets So Geek

I love Wine Time’s great selection of wine and hope to find a bottle (or two or three) of Domaine Pral Beaujolais Nouveau under my tree this year.  — Annie Henry, co-owner of Idlehour Boutique

I shop Mainstream Boutique for super soft, comfy sweatshirts and slimming leggings.  — Danielle Kellams, owner of Adler J Salon

I’m sending Santa over to Jophiel for the Lenox Leather Bracelet in blush by Alexandra Clancy.  — Kristin Packnett, owner of Opal & Ruby Gift Emporium

I like to shop Crestwoods Frame Shop & Gallery for fine pieces of local art, expertly framed — a gift that lasts forever.  — Wayne Shive, owner o fBest Boy and Company

It’s sometimes hard to think of them as just a local store since they’re so huge, but Sweetwater Music & Pro Audio employs so many great people. I wouldn’t think of buying anything they sell from anyone else, and music lessons from Sweetwater Academy of Music & Technology are a great gift.  — Corey Rader, co-owner of The Brass Rail

I’m doing most of my local shopping at Grassroots Baby. For stocking stuffers, the kids are getting Piggy Paint, bubble bath and some new mold-free bath toys. I asked for a new amber necklace to help with my computer headaches. In general, I like to support the store because the owner really knows her products and gives solid recommendations, helping new customers find items that are perfect gifts.  — Marra Honeywell, children’s librarian

Fort Wayne Outfitters is always at the top of my list. Not only does it carry tons of bike/outdoor gear, but it also has Ambre Blends perfume, which makes a swell gift (for both receiver and giver). I’d like a pound of Kona Estate coffee beans from Old Crown and a stack of vintage cookbooks from Hyde Bros.  — John Cheesebrew, owner of Bird & Cleaver

My favorite local store is Neat Neat Neat! They carry such a diverse collection of records, so I can always find whatever I’m looking for.  — Jess Thrower, musician

I’m all about food. Bravas burgers and Banh Mi Pho Shop both offer gift cards and have deliciousness inside. The new store Collective State has cool local music, art and apparel. I like to get all my socks from Neighborlink.  — Matthew Plett, artist and designer

I like Paradigm Gallery at the Fort Wayne Museum of Art for unique hand-crafted items. I like supporting local artists and craftsmen.  — Bob Kiel, creative director at Ferguson Advertising

My go-to local spot is Fancy & Staple. I often stop in there for last-minute gifts because of its broad selection of kids items, housewares and even gifts for men. My favorite thing to browse is the amazing greeting card assortment. The cards are so unique and make any gift extra special. I can’t leave the store without a bag full of hilarious cards to send off to my friends and family.  — Amanda Campbell, technical designer at Vera Bradley

I’d like a kayak from Fort Wayne Outfitters & Bike Depot. I hope my wife reads this…  — Alec Johnson, city landscape architect

My favorite local store is The Find, and I recently purchased a pair of Freshly Picked moccasins from its cute baby department.  — Shayla Hudson, wife and mother of two

My personal favorite shop is Fort Wayne Outfitters & Bike Depot. It has such unique brands that offer eclectic and cool outdoor clothes, shoes, products, bikes and kayaks. The best gifts are Kleen Kanteen tumblers: keepin’ the hot steamy hot and the cold ice cold, and with an eye on reducing waste and keeping Mother Earth ticking along in a positive direction.  — Matt Kelley, owner One Lucky Guitar

One of my favorite places to shop locally is the Orchard Gallery. I like that you don’t always know what you’re going to find when you go in, and that the artists themselves are the people running the operation. A go-to item for me would be a piece of Kristy Jo Beber pottery. I love her work. I also like that I can give people original art without breaking the bank.  — Wendy Stein, partner of Stein Ad Promos

I love buying tickets from local organizations, especially the Civic Theatre and Three Rivers Musical Theatre. I’m a total musical theater nerd, so I like to spread the love. Especially excited to give tickets to Cabaret at Three Rivers this Christmas, as it’s one of my favorite musicals ever.  — Kristin Giant, nonprofit and impact investing consultant

I go to Neat Neat Neat! to shop for records. Vinyl is the new Spotify.  — Dave Sanders, founder/president of Start Fort Wayne

I love the Leo-located Just Be’s Hyde + Alchemy perfume oils and the boutique’s line of Alternative Apparel sweatshirts. Carrie, the owner of Abode (across the street from Just Be) refinishes the coolest old electrical spools, which I purchase regularly.  — Emilia Land, owner The Shed

I love Idlehour, of course. Annie (co-owner) is a doll and the perfect person to showcase fab attire to fill all your yoga and fashion needs. I also love The Find for jewelry, creature comforts and other wonderful things. Then there’s Emiley’s Haute Cottage on Wayne Street, which was one of the first little independent shops in the downtown Fort Wayne renaissance! I love the candles and her beautiful decor items.  — Cindy Henry, First Lady of Fort Wayne


Find more here...

Latest Articles