Unique Eugene: 'Keep Main Street and local shopping alive'

      EUGENE, Ore. - 'Tis the season to do a little shopping, but some gifts can also give back to the local economy.

      With less than a week until Christmas, the rush is on to get holiday shopping finished, and one organization is making the push to shop local.

      The group Unique Eugene is an organization of 22 local businesses that offer everything from cards to cardigans to carabiners.

      Joan Kleban, owner of Greater Goods, saod the group has one mission: encouraging people to buy from locally owned businesses.

      "We're supportive in as many ways as we can to keep Main Street and local shopping alive," Kleban said.

      One way to encourage the buy local mentality: gift cards.

      The gift recipient isn't the only one who benefits: local businesses also get a fighting chance to remain competitive with big retailers.

      Paul's Bicycle Way of Life General Manager Matt Ritzow said that helps niche businesses thrive - and keeps the marketplace more diverse.

      "The Internet and the accessibility of products online will ultimately diminish the selection of a lot of products that people are accustomed to finding locally," Ritzow said.

      Kleban says that sales haven't exactly been stellar this holiday shopping season, and she and Ritzow agree that every dollar kept local helps the community.

      "Rather than sending it out of state, out of country," said Kleban, "supporting each other locally means that we employ people who work here, live here."

      "It's local jobs here that you're supporting," Ritzow said, "and a local economy."

      Learn more about the Unique Eugene program on their website.