Biz Beat

Biz Beat: On the hunt for great local gifts

There is a popular e-card making the rounds of social media these days. It reads, in effect, “I think as you grow older, your Christmas list gets smaller and the things you really want for the holidays can’t be bought.”

I think that’s absolutely true. As Thanksgiving approaches this week, I find what I look forward to most about the holidays is time spent with my family and my friends, eating, drinking and possibly wearing terribly unattractive sweaters.

That said, I am also going to be Christmas shopping. While the physical presents aren’t nearly as important as the true meaning of the holidays (though don’t tell that to my 6-year-old), it is lovely to give and receive gifts.

And if we are going to be buying gifts, why not help the local economy? For the past few years, The Modesto Bee has done a seasonal feature about gifts that can be purchased from area merchants. And I am glad to say we will be doing it again this year.

So here is where I am asking for your help. If you have a good Christmas gift idea, please pass it along to me. There are only a couple of rules: The gift must cost $20 or less, and it must be available through a local retailer. While chain stores certainly have a vital place in our economy, and online giants like Amazon can be awfully handy for lots of items, we like to highlight small businesses in this feature.

In the past, we have highlighted gift ideas ranging from a microwave pasta cooker to locally produced cheeses to a gun-cleaning kit.

If you have a good idea, or a suggestion, please send it along to me at We will highlight gift ideas in occasional features in The Bee in December.


But, as a press release from Modesto consignment store Plato’s Closet reminded me this week, small businesses take part in Black Friday, as well.

Shelby Bledsoe, manager of Plato’s, said the staff has been setting aside inventory and filling bins with name-brand clothing in advance of the big event, which will go from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday. This is the second year Plato’s has had a Black Friday sale.

Plato’s Closet is at 3250 Dale Road, Suite H.

Have an item for Business Beat? Breaking News Editor Patty Guerra can be reached at or (209) 578-2343. Follow her on Twitter @PattyGuerra.