This holiday season, find special gifts for your loved ones right in your own neighborhood. Your presents aren’t stuck on a boat somewhere – they’re right down the street.

The Community Loan Fund spotlights some of the local businesses we work with who are offering great gifts, gift certificates, and other services online.

Bliss Juice.Smoothie.Self – Give the gift of health. This women-owned and operated juice and smoothie bar is offering takeout on their full menu. Order bowls, juice, toast, and other power-ups through the website and it will be available for pick-up at their walk-up window in Delmar. Easy-peasy. Everything is made to order with fresh, healthy ingredients. So, if you’re hungry for a great smoothie bowl, a nitro cold brew, a handmade smoothie, or a cold-pressed juice – this is the place to go. Fuel your body for the season ahead!

The Bundle Store – Give the gift of community. This store specializes in baby and toddler clothing and equipment, and has long been offering online services. Most of the products in this successful Ballston Spa boutique can also be ordered online, but these days they’re also doing virtual “tummy time” classes where parents can enjoy the camaraderie of other parents and virtual one-on-one babywearing consultations to help you navigate the ins and outs of this tool. Visit the website to shop for bibs, bath, diapers, bags, swaddling, teething, eco-friendly toys, and so much more. Or book a timeslot for an upcoming virtual class. Gift certificates available, too.

Coiled, a textured salon – Give the gift of great hair. Lavida Barkley is hitting the streets, bringing her love of curls right to people’s doors. Barkley owns a salon which focuses on care for curls, and she is making deliveries of products from her retail salon – but not before she washes, puts on gloves, and bags everything. Barkley is also doing online sessions with clients through a subscription service, so they can stay on top of personal care even in these uncertain times. Clients can book virtual services and make purchases through her website at

Dance Fire Studio – Give the gift of dance. The beat goes on at this dance studio in Niskayuna. Owners Natalia O’Connor and her partner Florin Vlad reopened earlier this year and continued their popular ballroom and Latin dance lessons. The husband-wife team has traveled the world for international dance championships and now they bring their expertise to students. Lessons are available in one-on-one and group format. Gift certificates are available.

Extendher – Give the gift of comfort. Maria Messier and Joanne Frank launched Extendher, a maternity jacket extension to grow with a pregnant mother and support babywearing in 2015. Today they offer five different products, along with masks and other accessories. All products can be purchased from the Extendher website. Learn more:

Fresh & Fly Clothing – Give the gift of style. Fresh & Fly is the official headquarters of swag, and while you may not be able to visit the store in person, you can still enhance your swag online through the store’s website. Fresh & Fly maintains a full catalogue of clothing for men, women, and children right on the store website, and everything is shipped right to your home. Load up on clothes for friends and family. And if you sign up for frequent “fly” miles, you can get 10% off your first order, and access to special promotions. 

Grrreendog Grooming and Spa – Give the gift of puppy pampering. Grrreendog Grooming and Spa first opened its doors in January 2010. The business offers many services to dog owners such as bathing, grooming, nail trimming, and ear cleaning. The products used at Grrreendog Grooming are environmentally friendly as well as pet friendly.“I believe being ‘green’ is not only healthier for us humans, it is also safer and healthier for our pets,” says owner Sundance Lev. In January, Lev expanded her dog grooming business to include a doggy daycare, with a focus on thoughtful, customized experiences for your pet. Daycare passbooks are available for 10 and 20 visits, and annual membership is discounted $25 for the holidays. Learn more: 

Honest Weight Food Co-op – Albany’s homegrown grocery store continues to bring food and products from local producers and farms to the public this holiday season. Staff continues to keep store shelves clean and abundantly stocked, and during the holidays they also have a great selection of locally made gifty items like soaps, candles, cards, calendars, ornaments, mugs, children’s toys, and home decor items. The store also offers holiday catering with a full menu of meat and meat-free meals. Learn more and get access to the coupon here:

Kema Kreations – Give the gift of style. This year, Karen Maxwell moved her four-year-old business, Kema Kreations, into larger offices to keep up with increasing demand for handcrafted bags, accessories, and masks. Her latest line of handbags is made from wood. She also does custom embroidery and wood burning. To order a mask, bag, or learn more, visit:

Palace Theatre – Give the gift of performing arts. The Palace Theatre first opened its doors on October 23, 1931 with a screening of Devotion, starring Anne Howard and Leslie Howard. Since 2007, the theater has hosted live music, stage, comedy performances and screened films. It also holds annual screenings of Rocky Horror Picture Show, It’s A Wonderful Life, and The Three Stooges Film Festival. It also is home to Grammy Award-winning Albany Symphony Orchestra. Buy tickets for an upcoming show or a gift certificate. Your support will be greatly appreciated by this landmark theatre. The Palace has been closed since March due to COVID, but intends to reopen this spring. You can also purchase gift memberships or donate to the theatre in someone’s name. For more information about gift certificates, call the Palace Box Office at 518-465-4663.

Repose Wellness – Give the gift of repose. Repose Wellness is the first of its kind in the area, offering a wide variety of massage modalities, a sensory deprivation tank (float pod), and an infrared sauna. Achieve total weightlessness in their floatpod or improve oxygen flow and circulation with their infrared sauna. Plus, Repose offers a full menu of massage and bodywork options, including Swedish, Shiatsu, Myofascial release, Prenatal, Lymphatic and Cupping. Gift certificates are available:

Schenectady Trading Company – Give a handmade gift. Caroline Bardwell continues to sell Schenectady-made gifts and products, including candy, art, books, and homegoods. Find Schenectady mementos for a friend or stuff a stocking with cute gifts like magnets, shot glasses, and stickers. During the pandemic, Caroline added a full array of locally-made foods. Introduce someone you know to the local foods you love, like peanut butter, cider and jams. Customers can browse the store in person or buy items online for curbside pick-up.

Spa Halcyon – Give the gift of relaxation. Owner John Bowers brings 20 years of bodywork experience to the leadership of Spa Halcyon. John’s holistic journey included study at Educating Hands, in Miami, the Finger Lakes School of Massage, and the Center of Natural Wellness in Albany. In recent years he has been a leading staff member at high-end spas in New York City. His vision for Spa Halcyon unites his passion for both bodywork and the psychodynamic energy that defines his positive attitude and multi-modal massage experience. Gift certificates are available for all services.

Troy Savings Bank Music Hall – Give the gift of good music. The Troy Savings Bank Music Hall was established by the Troy Savings Bank in 1870 as a gift of appreciation to the citizens of Troy. The music hall was constructed on the upper floor of the bank’s headquarters, and musical talent the world over has performed on its stage. In fact, prior to World War II, few musical acts came to the U.S. without making an appearance at the bank hall. Today, the music hall still welcomes some of the most prestigious names in classical, jazz, and contemporary music. The hall is world-renowned for its acoustics, making every seat a good seat. Buy tickets for an upcoming show or a gift certificate and you’ll be helping this legendary music hall survive COVID.  You can also purchase gift memberships. Members enjoy a range of benefits including ticket discounts and exclusive events. Please call the box office at (518) 273-0038 to purchase.

Yamaguchie – Give the gift of art. This Lark Street boutique specializes in custom art wood pieces made from reclaimed and upcycled wood. Brothers Yamar Carter and Rashad King use a variety of techniques to imprint and cut designs into wood and leather. The resulting products are intricate and beautiful. They even offer customized services including imprinting personal photos on boxes, boards, ornaments and other products. They also sell handmade jewelry and furniture. Yamar has just purchased additional tools that will help him create even larger art objects including doors and screens. He looks forward to adding these new products to his menu of services in the new year.

We urge you to shop local all year long – not just at Christmas time.

We also encourage you to support minority-owned businesses like these. This list was created by Alliance for the Creative Economy, in partnership with local organizations like the Community Loan Fund.

We are so proud of our talented business owners who are pivoting so adroitly to stay accessible to customers even during COVID. Please reach out and take advantage of these businesses – and do your part this holiday season to keep our Main Street businesses open.