The COVID-19 pandemic impacted millions of people and their lives this year. We don’t have to discuss that too much. One group it’s impacted in particular, and one that’s near and dear to my heart, is small businesses. So this holiday season, I’m making a conscious effort to shop from Southern small businesses as much as possible.
A couple years ago I shared a Chattanooga Gift Guide for locals. This time, I’m expanding to include more brands and businesses across the Southeast—in addition to some more Chattanooga businesses I’ve come to know and love. Some of the following businesses may sound familiar, but I hope you’ll discover at least one new one in here!
Here are some amazing Southern small businesses to shop from this holiday season.
Tom’s Tiny Kitchen (Memphis, TN) – If you’re a pimento cheese lover, you gotta try Tom’s Tiny Kitchen! Tom started his business in his 60s and you can now find his Classic and Chipotle pimento cheese in 13 states, including Tennessee.
The Bitter Bottle (Chattanooga) – Every at-home bartender needs some good bitters in their collection. The Bitter Bottle makes herbal bitters and tinctures, and strives to educate, inspire, and build communities through cocktails and quality products. Check out her collection here! I’m personally a huge fan of the Elderberry and Echinacea elixir.
Chattanooga Whiskey Co. (Chattanooga) – My hometown distillery! Chattanooga Whiskey was the first whiskey distilled in Hamilton County in 100 years, since Prohibition. There’s a ton of history and firepower packed into this brand. Now their 91 Whiskey is a mainstay on our liquor shelf. Good news? It’s available in 12 states, including Colorado, Oklahoma, and Texas!
Old Dominick Distillery (Memphis, TN) – More whiskey? Of course! I’ve shared about Old Dominick several times on the blog (cocktail recipes here), so if you’re around Memphis, check out their bourbons, vodkas, gin, and liqueurs.
Buzzed Blooms (Manchester, TN) – This flower farm grows some of the most beautiful seasonal blooms I’ve ever seen! Buzzed Blooms practices sustainable farming and growing for flowers, herbs, and produce. They even offer a flower CSA for locals!
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Bessie Bakes Backdrops (Murfreesboro, TN) – If you, a friend, or a loved one are in need of some new photo surfaces, check out Bessie Bakes Backdrops just outside of Nashville. These would be perfect for food and product photography! Check them out on Instagram for some beautiful inspiration.
Knox Whiskey Works (Knoxville, TN) – Yes, I like spirits companies and distilleries. Knox Whiskey Works produces a variety of small-batch, craft spirits, ranging from gin to coffee liqueur (and whiskey, as the name suggests). Their Jackson Avenue Gin was one of the first gins I learned to love (cocktail recipe here). Vols fans will love their Tennessee Tailgate Orange Vodka. They also have a really cool tasting room and cocktail bar!
Auntie Nono’s (Charleston, SC) – If you’ve got room in your spice cabinet, you’ll want some of Auntie Nono’s “Everything” seasoning. It’s super versatile and adds the perfect flavors to, well… everything. I love using it for roasted veggies in particular. It’s paleo, gluten-free, vegan friendly, and has zero MSG, to boot.
The Rustic House (Chattanooga, TN) – I was never a huge fan of candles, until I got my first Rustic House candle. I am now a changed woman and have at least three on my shelf at all times. They’re hand-poured soy candles, and their winter scents are my absolute favorites, especially Bonfire and Evergreen + Embers.
Mama Geraldine’s Cheese Straws (Newnan, GA) – What Southerner doesn’t love cheese straws? Cathy Cunningham pulled a career 180 and started making and selling her mama’s buttery cheese straws recipe after a career in radio. Now Mama Geraldine’s Cheese Straws are the best-selling cheese straws in the country, and come in six flavors (including gluten-free!). These would be perfect for your holiday cheese and snack boards.
Chatt Taste (Chattanooga) – If you’re local to Chattanooga, planning a visit, or have friends who live here, Chatt Taste offers some great gift ideas! They do food tours around Chattanooga, and recently launched “Taste of Chatt” subscription boxes that include locally made goods. A gift card for a tour or subscription box would make a great gift for adventurous friends or those who might be missing a taste of the Scenic City.
Post Meridiem Spirits Company (Atlanta, GA) – You haven’t had canned cocktails like these before. Post Meridiem’s canned cocktails are made with real ingredients and taste just like the classics you get at the bar. They’re sold in liquor stores around the Southeast and are available in Margarita, Old Fashioned, Daiquiri, Vodka Gimlet, and Mai Thai. Of course, the Old Fashioned is my favorite.
The Chattery (Chattanooga) – Ever wanted to learn hand-lettering, or how to make simple cocktails, or watercolor painting, or any other fun skills? The Chattery makes adult education fun and accessible. Many of their classes are now online, so you can learn and enjoy from wherever you are. I also had the founders on my podcast back in 2019!
Pinewood Kitchen & Mercantile (Nunnelly, TN) – Chef Mee McCormick’s cookbooks not only include tasty, healthful recipes. She shares her story about healing herself with food, after battling a number of health issues. Her latest cookbook My Pinewood Kitchen specifically focuses on gut health and recipes featuring ingredients that are good for your gut.
Honorable mention: while it may not be a true “small” business anymore, Duke’s Mayonnaise will always be a beloved Southern brand. Earlier this year Duke’s Mayonnaise released a cookbook by Ashley Strickland Freeman, with 75 recipes celebrating the South’s favorite condiment.
There are thousands more Southern small businesses, so if you’ve got a favorite, I’d love to hear about it! Share it in the comments below, or connect with me on Instagram and tell me about it!