A few of our favorite things make great locally sourced gifts

vbridges@newsobserver.com and jmgiglio@newsobserver.comDecember 2, 2013 

Over the past 14 months, the Shop Talk reporters have traveled the Triangle meeting with hundreds of small-business owners in places such as warehouses, coffee shops and on rock-climbing walls. Here are some gift ideas they’ve discovered along the way. Find more online at newsobserver.com/shoptalk.

The Brothers Vilgalys Krupnikas

brothersvilgalys.com; $29.95

Where to buy: ABC Stores across the Triangle

The Brothers Vilgalys’ Krupnikas, a spiced-honey liqueur, landed in local liquor store shelves nearly a year ago. The sweet-sipping, 80-Proof cordial known as Krupnikas has Lithuanian and Polish roots that trace back to the late 1500s. But this 16-spice version was blended in the Triangle by Rimas Vilgalys.

The first time Vilgalys made Krupnikas, he was sharing something special with his friends, just as his father had done. Years later, Vilgalys perfected his recipe and built a company in a space on Ramsuer Street near downtown Durham. This makes a unique gift for a hostess or other adult friend or family member.

Errand Girl gift certificate


$25 per hour plus mileage

Where to buy: Errand Girl office, 4711 Hope Valley Road, Durham; 919-215-3758

Tina Travis started Errand Girl of Durham, a personal concierge service, in 2009 after being laid off from her merchandising job. She got the idea for Errand Girl after she found herself running errands for her neighbors.

Travis said most errand-related jobs take about an hour and a half, which should cover grocery shopping, picking up dry cleaning and putting the items away in the client’s cabinets. This is a perfect gift for a busy person who already has it all.

Stitch Golf headcovers

stitchgolf.com; $44.99 to $54.99

Where to buy: Stitch Golf’s website and in golf stores and major retailers

Stitch Golf offers leather headcover in a variety of colors and designs. One is inspired by the classic lines of a 1958 Porsche Speedster; another presents a “Monte Carlo Gran Prix meets the America’s Cup” feel. There’s even one with a skull and crossbones.

Owners Charlie Burgwyn and Steve Pena founded Stitch Golf in 2011 on the premise of creating a “Made in the U.S.” golf accessory that cost more than hats but less than shirts. The Cary-based company’s raw materials and products are sourced and made in North Carolina.

Lucky Accessories Peapod earrings

etsy.com/shop/luckyaccessories; $25-$32

Where to buy: At the Etsy shop and Epona & Oak in Raleigh

Former model Kiona van Rhee worked for years for another local jewelry store owner until she ventured out on her own in 2006.

Now van Rhee has her own Raleigh studio and a thriving Etsy store, which includes her collection of “peas in a pod” jewelry, which are freshwater pearls wrapped in silver wire. These simple and sweet dangling earrings, made with either one, two, three or four white, metallic or green peas, are an affordable gift for teens and adults with pierced ears.

La Farm’s signature bread

lafarmbakery.com; $11.99 a loaf, $6.89 a half loaf; $3.99 quarter loaf

Where to buy: La Farm Bakery and Whole Foods across the Triangle.

Lionel Vatinet’s signature bread is a 5-pound boule he developed while working with masters at one of the most prestigious guilds in the world, Les Compagnons du Devoir in France. Now, Vatinet and his wife Missy own La Farm Bakery in Cary. Their bread-making process takes 72 hours and combines a light sourdough with whole wheat flours, Vatinet said. The result is a bread with a crusty outside and a chewy inside. Leave the fruitcake at home and give this as a hostess gift instead.

Vintage Bee creamed honey

vintagebee.com; $7.95-$27.99

Where to buy: Vintage Bee’s website, Southern Season in Chapel Hill, Savory Spice Shop in Raleigh and Relish Café & Bar in Raleigh.

A 1985 bee-keeping hobby evolved into Raleigh wholesale honey company Vintage Bee, which is owned by Laura and Van Tapp. Their products include creamed honey, which is raw honey that is spun for hours to create a spreadable, peanut-butter-like consistency. It is available in about 12 flavors, including cinnamon, white chocolate almond and pumpkin spice. Give a single jar or upgrade to a gift set.

Play House Toy Store’s wooden toys

playhousetoys.com; from $15 to $65

Where to buy: The Play House Toy Store, 702 Ninth St., Durham

The Play House is celebrating 30 years of selling toys on Ninth Street.

The store seeks to serve shoppers – and their little ones – who are looking for unique toys and other items with a focus on education and creativity, said Donna Frederick owner and buyer for The Play House. One of the store’s vendors includes local wood crafter Ed Pracuta, who makes handcrafted items such as wooden doll cribs, trucks and trains out of his home in Durham.

These items make great gifts for any little boy or girl ages 3 and older.

MagnaReady shirts

magnaready.com; $59.99

Where to buy: magnaready.com

Maura Horton started MagnaReady, when her husband, Don, an N.C. State football coach who now coaches at Ravenscroft, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and had trouble buttoning his shirts. Horton placed magnets in shirts to make it easier for people with limited mobility to fasten. The button-down dress shirts are available for men and women.

Fan Feet booties

fanfeet.com; $249

Where to buy: On the business’s website

In 2012, Rebecca Lakey and her boyfriend and business partner Demian Dellinger shipped their first shoes for Fan Feet, their Garner-based, online shoe company that designs and sells licensed collegiate pumps, booties and peep-toe high heels for women.

The idea stemmed from Lakey’s love of high heels and her alma mater, the University of North Carolina Tar Heels.

These booties are great for college-age women and alums who love to show their school spirit at events such as games, weddings and parties.

Oliver’s Collar dog cookies


$1.50 small, $2.50 large

Where to buy: Oliver’s Collar at 4711 Hope Valley Road, Durham, Phydeaux, Raleigh, Chapel Hill, Paws at the Corner, Hillsborough

In 2011, Kahli and Eric Wamback started making and selling dog treats out of their home. The couple moved into a boutique in Durham in October. One of their specialties include frosted cookies, which are available in peanut butter and gingerbread and are iced with a yogurt-based, sugar-free frosting made with natural fruit dyes. These are a fun stocking stuffer for all the Rovers in your life.

Bridges: 919-829-8917; Twitter: @virginiabridges

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