PEEC Earth Day Series: Shop Locally—Reduce Your Environmental Impact

Shop Locally—Reduce Your Environmental Impact
By TERRY FOXX and Friends

We have all been guilty of saying that Los Alamos does not have any shopping. I have grieved the loss of the book store, Hallmark store, and kitchen store, as well as restaurants.

But if we persistently don’t shop Los Alamos, how can we expect there to be businesses? Imagine a town with 100 percent boarded up stores. Only we can prevent this from happening.

I was recently bemoaning the loss of businesses and discovered that some local businesses have picked up the slack for losses in the closing of other stores. 

I believe in shopping locally whenever possible because of time, my carbon footprint, and supporting our community.  

Why shop locally?

Buy locally—support yourself: Research shows that locally owned businesses, rather than nationally owned ones, strengthen the economic base of the community. Buying locally improves our tax base. That in turn improves our quality of life. Of every dollar spent at a locally owned business, 68 cents returns to the community through taxes, payroll, and other expenditures. Of each dollar spent at a chain with a local outlet, only 43 cents recirculates here.

Keep our community unique: Where we shop, where we eat and have fun makes our community home. Pride in our community will show to those visiting. Visitors also improve our tax base.  Visitors won’t come to a drab community.

Create jobs: Our local businesses create jobs. Local businesses are the largest employers nationally.

Reduce environmental impact: Santa Fe is over 70 miles round trip plus a minimum of two hours travel time, lots of stop lights, and idling cars. White Rock is only a 16-mile round trip from Los Alamos with 30 minutes travel time (and only one stop light.) I am always saddened when people who live on the Hill  say, “White Rock is too far away – I might as well go to Santa Fe.” Consider the gas and time in your shopping decisions.

Where can I shop locally?

Thread, zippers, material, sewing items: Warm Hearts in White Rock has a nice selection of sewing notions, in addition to their gorgeous selection of yarns. They also have some high quality clothing and jewelry items on consignment. 

Cards: Bennett’s and the UPEX store have a delightful group of cards including those by Leaning Tree. CB Fox has greeting cards both humorous and serious. The Historical Society Bookstore also has unique cards. Unique artist’s cards can also be found at Karen Wray Gallery and Fuller Lodge Art Center. Of course there are cards at Smith’s in White Rock and Los Alamos.

Office products: Aspen Copies has stocked various items including many of the most-used printer inks, often needed for the home office, printer and copier paper, desk calendars, post-it notes. UPEX has papers, boxes, and shipping supplies as well.

Furniture: CB Fox has a delightful assortment of furniture from mattresses to couches. They deliver just like the big stores, only with friendlier service. And they take away your old things. A new Indonesian Furniture store is coming to White Rock: Perry Handy has designed wonderful pieces that will have people driving up here to buy them. Watch for their grand opening.

Books: The Historical Society Bookstore has a variety of books related to history and the Southwest. You will find some delightful children’s books. Pajarito Environmental Education Center has a small gift shop with books, t-shirts, and children’s toys. And in the true spirit of recycling, the Friends of the Library Bookshop inside the library carry other people’s used books.

Special paper, upcycled items, scrapbooking supplies: Perch Paperie in White Rock is stocked with many fun items including papers, upcycled items, and jewelry, with rubber stamps, scrapbooking supplies, and much more. 

Jewelry and pottery items: Support our local and regional artists by buying items at the Art Center at Fuller Lodge. There is a delightful assortment of jewelry, pottery, cards, and various art items. Bennett’s is a traditional jewelry store with a designer twist, carrying everything from the most traditional diamond engagement ring to fantastic beadwork.

Birthday party items: Village Arts is my favorite place to shop for kids’ birthday party presents, partly because Ken Nebel is just a big kid himself. Kits and pipe cleaners and glitter glue and colored pencils, great gifts for artsy kids. Don’t forget CBFox Kids. They have greatly expanded their selection of kids’ books, crafts, and toys. You will be amazed. They are clearly the emergency birthday store.  And in White Rock CeCe’s Gardens has kids’ gifts and flowers for special events.

Pet Items: Pet Pangaea has a vast assortment of items for our pets. They have dog and cat items as well and chicken and horse feed. They also have items for reptiles and amphibians and small mammals. They will special order items that are needed. 

Paint, tile, carpet, and blinds: I love Finishing Touch and their efficient installers. I have been very pleased with my re-modeling efforts and buying from Finishing Touch. They also have environmentally friendly items. 

Flowers, trees, shrubs, bedding plants: Why go all the way to Santa Fe when you can find a multitude of plants at Pajarito Greenhouse? It opens for business on April 24 with a wealth of plants. Because of the closing of Santa Fe Greenhouse in Santa Fe they will be carrying more xeric perennials and shrubs. Go to the website to see what they have in stock. And CeCe’s Gardens in White Rock carries bedding and other plants, too.

Shoes and athletic wear: CB Fox has a large selection of hiking and athletic shoes. The most comfortable shoes in my closet were bought at CB Fox. They also have men’s and women’s sportswear and 1,300 sq. ft of men’s and women’s clothing. If you need luggage or travel accessories, check them out!

Clothing: Before you toss the pants with ragged hems, check out the seamstresses that can alter, mend, and repair your old favorites. I’m impressed with the work by Delaney Rieke (; she rescued one of my failed Christmas projects last year.

Chocolates and yummy sweets: See CB Fox and drool but also buy!

Thrift stores: And don’t forget about the thrift stores: Casa Mesita in Los Alamos and Jemez House Thrift Store in White Rock. 

Wow! We do have shopping in Los Alamos County!

Editor’s note: This is part of a series of stories from the Pajarito Environmental Education Center (PEEC) leading up to its annual Earth Day Festival set for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, April 20 at PEEC, 3540 Orange St., in Los Alamos.

This year’s Earth Day Festival will feature displays by community groups of their earth-friendly products and practices and their information about our environment on the Pajarito Plateau.

  • Over 20 booths
  • Food vendors
  • Live entertainment by Clan Tynker and the Hill Stompers
  • Kids activities, including “Walk Like a Wolf”, the “Mudpie Kitchen” and making miniature adobes with the Cornerstones Community Partnership.

For more information, e-mail or visit


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