We’ve all done it and left buying gifts to the last minute or got stuck on inspiration and then resorted to something generic that you at least know the recipient will like.
You turn to ordering online from places like Amazon or similar places because of the huge selection of products on offer and the fast delivery.
But with the emergence of sites such as Not On the High Street and Etsy, it’s easier than ever to support an independent business to create a more personal gift, with just a little more advance planning needed to factor it in and enough lead times.
READ MORE: Lancashire’s best places for local shopping with gems in Preston, Blackpool, Blackburn, Lancaster and more
And as we emerge from confinement, the main street needs us more than ever after a few dark years, when attendance had already decreased before the pandemic.
This is especially the case for small independent businesses, both online and in-store, from handmade crafts to locally sourced food, there is something for every taste and budget.
With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, why not take inspiration from some of the following places to buy your loved one their present this year.
You might find the perfect personalized jewelry or heartfelt gift, all while showing an independent boutique some love and appreciation.
Browse a clothing and accessories store
If your loved one enjoys an eclectic mix of fashion, exclusive design, or following their own funky trend, why not take a look at a boutique in your town?
Ormskirk has a number of independent clothing boutiques, such as ASAP Vintage, Blue Lily Boutique and Competitive Edge.
In Morecambe, Briggs Shoes, a family business, has been selling high quality footwear and apparel since 1865.
Or there is also My Vintage in Darwen, which also has an online store.
Canon Street in Preston is also a paradise for boutiques and luxury clothing lines, including menswear boutique Ocean.
While you’ll find Fabrix on New Street in Lancasterwhich sells clothing materials, quilting and craft fabrics so you can create your own gift.
Oak Purdie in Clitheroe stores purses, wallets, purses and close Whalleythere are clothing stores NuShu, Precious, Seasons Boutique.
On the Fylde CoastBoutique Hermosa, The Lingerie Lounge and Beau Belle Boutique in Blackpool waiting for you inside to see the clothes they offer.
In Lytham St AnnesBella B Boutique, Boutique 84 and online and in-store Lady Bosley Boutique sell a range of clothing from dresses, coats, suits and shoes.
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Donate to a charity close to their hearts
Supporting a charity is never a bad thing, and there are plenty of independent local organizations that are always happy to accept your donations.
Fleetwood Beach wheelchairs in Cleveley allows people with disabilities to enjoy the pleasures of the seaside by providing them with a specially designed and adapted wheelchair.
You could adopt or sponsor an animal, including Logan the hedgehog at Preston Hedgehog Rescue Ltd & Preston Bird Rescue or a horse at HAPPA Rehabilitation and Rescue Center at Burnley.
The venue is also open for you to visit the horses while enjoying a meal at the on-site restaurant.
While cancer helps Preston hosted a Valentine’s Day fundraiser asking people to leave a message of lovein exchange for a donation.
let’s eat cake
Facebook and Instagram are full of aspiring, experienced and part-time bakers who work hard in their home kitchen or in a small bakery to produce delicious delights ranging from cupcakes to cookies and artisan breads.
Many of them can customize their creations especially for you and you will find that they will have specific Valentine’s Day designs, offers and offers.
For example, Blissful Bakes in Aughton offer two boxes of Valentine’s Day cookies and cakes for couples looking for sweetness.
If you are more looking for savory dishes, delicatessen and the creation of a charcuterie board, try your local craft market for signature cheeses, charcuterie, olives, sweets and more.
Alternatively, delicatessens such as Georgonzola in Clitheroe offer local produce served with a smile.
Flowers are usually a safe bet and there are so many beautiful bouquets waiting for you at an independent florist near you.
The Lancashire florist stocked rainbow colored roses in time for February 14, with a delivery and collection service available.
If you are looking for wildflowers, terrariums and plants, try Emma’s wild garden in Ormskirkwhere they also run floral composition workshops.
Also in West LancashireDiscounts at the cedar farmhome to a plethora of independent businesses and even a petting zoo is a nice clam space to wander around and buy a pot of flowers, bouquet or household items.
Simple flowers by Nicola in Lancaster is a family business and if you are Goosnargh-based, check out Flowers With Passion or in PrestonMargaret Mason has run her florist since 1961.
Think we forgot a favorite local trader? Let us know in the comments.