November 28, 2016 by Anthony B. Barthel

There’s no better feeling than finding that one-of-a-kind unique gift, and the feeling is magnified when it helps support local businesses. With many local entrepreneurs in Lake County balancing their artisan crafts with recovering from the four fires of the past two years, you can really feel good supporting these people and the recipients of these gifts will love the thought and thoughtfulness.

Berrylicious soap from the Soap Shack

Berrylicious Soap from the Soap Shack

If you want someone to really clean up for the holidays, perhaps some of the products at The Soap Shack could be just the thing. Featuring locally-crafted soaps, oils, lip balms and even pet washing products this could be a great way to buy gifts for others and sneak a few items in for yourself as well. You could really come out smelling like a rose.

Many of our friends are burning the candle at both ends, so a gift from Aloha Bay Candle Company could actually help them relax a bit. This company manufactures their candles and other products from sustainable sources in Lower Lake and while the Clayton fire did damage some of the outside of their building, they are back to creating products.

Carli Tippett runs People Pleazin'

Carli Tippett runs People Pleazin’

As part of the renaissance of Upper Lake, one of the newest shops is Carli Tippet’s People Pleazin’, a store that specializes in specifically Lake County-produced goods and foods. Owner Carli Tippet has put together quite a collection of unique-to-Lake-County products including her own jellies, jams, cookies and other treats. But there is quite a variety things like beard oils, soaps and so much more.

If you’re looking to really dish up something special, perhaps Earth and Fire Pottery’s items, made in the mountain community of Cobb, could be just the trick. Artist Gregg Allen Lindsley has been throwing pottery in Lake County since the 1980s and offers all sorts of items including unique butter dishes, composters and sauerkraut crocks in addition to drinkware, vases, bowls and casseroles. In addition to his web store, you can find items of his at Lake Works.

Potters wheel with bowl

Earth and Fire Pottery

Lake Works is a unique shop that specializes in items made in Lake County. It has an amazing array of products from oak barrel furniture to fabulously-carved gourds, hand-made books, clothing, weaving, needle work, three potters, fine arts, wood carving and glass work.

Lake Works is adjacent to and owned by Cheri Holden’s Watershed Books, which also has a number of uniquely Lake County items – books written by local authors. There are quite a few scribes here including Gae Allen whose book Lake County Wine Guide has “everything – geology, history, botany – it’s a fabulous book!” exclaimed Cheri. But there are books about history, spirituality, mystery, children’s books and much more, all written by Lake County authors.

Wood sign says "Its never too late to become who you always wanted to be"

Wood sign from Two Women Traders

There are a number of shops that carry items made by local craftspeople all over the county including Middletown’s Two Women Traders. Their eclectic mix of products offers locally-made and other items and is one of several great spots to visit in Middletown.

Of course we’d be remiss not mentioning the wines that are grown and produced here, the wonderful olive oil that is also grown and pressed here and the three breweries who create craft beers here, some of which are produced with Lake County-grown hops.

Studies have shown that buying from local craftspeople and businesses can have a dramatically positive effect on the local economy. A gift made and purchased from a local craftsperson has the multiplying effect of helping them while also going towards Lake County’s own recovery after four devastating fires in two years. Your recipient will feel thrilled, but you may actually enjoy the best feeling of all.