Holiday shoppers will have an easier time finding unique, locally-made gifts this season with the launch of “Manitou Made” by the Manitou Springs Creative District, in collaboration with the Manitou Springs Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau. Manitou Made products will be identified in local businesses with tags, stickers, and placards starting on Small Business Saturday – November 24. Manitou Made products include locally-made items that are crafted, designed, prepared, sourced or brewed in the greater Manitou Springs region.

“Buying local is a chance to support the growing Maker Movement, and meet talented artisans and small business owners who take great pride in their work,” said Natalie Johnson, Executive Director of the Manitou Art Center & Manitou Springs Creative District. “This is a great way to experience handmade, one-of-a-kind and meaningful gifts, while also supporting your community.”

“Creativity is an important part of the Manitou Springs history and economy, and Manitou Made is a great way to support the artisans in our community,” said Leslie Lewis, Executive Director of the Manitou Springs Chamber of Commerce, Visitors Bureau & Office of Economic Development.

Manitou resident and owner of Skye Candle Company, Shanea Wilson-Campbell agrees that buying local support local and it uplifts communities and encourages community connections. “The city of Manitou Springs gives local artisans a home, a place to share their craft. You have to admit, there is something special about knowing your baker, your candle maker, your skin care maker, your chocolate maker, your comfort food maker, your barista and your local brewmaster.”

According to the Andersonville Study of Retail Economics, local businesses generate 70 percent more local economic activity per square foot compared to big-box retail, Johnson said. “Shopping locally also helps cut down on processing, packaging and transportation waste, leading to less pollution.”

Manitou Springs councilperson Jay Rohrer says “Supporting locally made products is good for the local economy because it keeps more money within your community. The Manitou Made program will help increase the visibility of our fantastic locally-made goods.” Although started for the holiday shopping season, the Manitou Made brand will remain after the holidays as a way to raise consumer, business and resident awareness of products that are sourced in the Manitou Springs region, according to Johnson. “Our ultimate goal is that businesses that stock Manitou Made products will experience increased sales to locals who feel proud to buy from their neighbors, and to out-of-town guests wanting to take home something uniquely Manitou Springs.”

“Spending money at an independent business equals more money in local economic activity, etc. Those merchants are more likely to spend money in the same area they made the money. And, of course, it’s better for the environment, a topic close to my heart,” Wilson-Campbell said. Support for the project is also provided by Leadership Pikes Peak Signature Class of 2019. ### For more information about this topic, please contact Natalie Johnson by calling 719-200-1272 or e-mail director@manitouartcenter.org.