As a Certified B Corp, we like to take time during the holidays to highlight our fellow businesses who are doing good in the world. Our Annual B Corp Gift Guide is dedicated to showing off other B Corps’ great gift ideas. But for 2020, like everything else, our gift guide looks a bit different this year.
We’re so thankful that we have been able to continue operating during Covid-19 and that we have all been able to stay healthy and safe. We want to pay our gratitude forward, so we decided to expand our picks to include ways that we can support local small businesses, and especially to highlight Woman-owned and Black-owned businesses in the DMV. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but just calls out a few of our faves.
Of course we’re still including our fellow B Corps as well, since their missions are always focused on helping people and the planet, and we love that.
Let’s start with restaurant gift cards:
You can make a big impact by purchasing gift cards now to help these local businesses make it through the winter. But before we get to that, we’ll start our suggestions with a straight-up donation in your recipient’s name to World Central Kitchen, and our hometown hero and national treasure, Chef Jose Andres.
WCK’s Restaurants for the People program began in the spring as a simple, straightforward solution to the dual hunger and economic crises. They are paying local restaurants to prepare fresh, comforting meals for their neighbors in need.
This model has proven to be successful: restaurants are ready and able to cook, and families who have been devastated by the financial crisis have one less thing to worry about. Through this program, WCK has put $135 million directly back into local restaurants, enabling small businesses to keep their lights on and people to keep their jobs. Donate here.
Next, here are a few of our favorite local restaurants to support by buying gift cards:
2442 18th St NW, Washington, DC 20009
A restaurant and live-music hot spot, Bukom Cafe was established in 1992 and has been a staple in the ever-changing Adams Morgan enclave of Washington, DC.
Bukom was named after the bustling Bukom Square in Accra, Ghana, West Africa. Drawing inspiration from traditionally prepared dishes from Senegal to Nigeria to Ghana to Liberia, the Bukom team consistently works to create dishes that maintain the richness of traditional West African cuisines, while adding a Bukom spin on it. To purchase a gift card, call them at (202) 265-4600.
1213 U St NW; 1001 H St NE
This revered DC institution serving half-smokes and chili dogs is a no-brainer for holiday gift card giving. Their website says it all.
When Ben’s celebrated its 60th birthday last year, they wrote, “It’s not just a 60th birthday for Ben’s, it’s a celebration of DC’s African American history, culture, and character. It’s a celebration of our city, and U Street’s resilience. DC’s residents have a long history of bouncing back from hard times. Our Black community is front and center in this story and Ben’s is a perfect case study – a study in our quest of freedom and its ongoing re-definition.”
If that’s not a reason to give a Ben’s gift card this holiday season, we don’t know what is. E-gift cards are available here.
4200 Wisconsin Ave NW, DC; 1800 N St NW, DC; 33 District Square SW, DC
One of our favorite haunts near our DC office, a gift card from Surfside is always welcome. Surfside has create-your-own tacos and burritos that you can get 24/7 at their Dupont Circle taco stand and at the Tenleytown location.
The new Wharf location just opened in November and is a great place to pick up food for outdoor strolls this winter. You can buy a gift card here.
1324 H Street Northeast, Washington, DC 20002
We love Stable when we’re craving a fondue night. It’s an authentic Swiss experience right here on H Street. Give your friends a gift card so they can go enjoy a night on Stable’s patio with a hot drink and excessive amounts of cheese.
Stable DC is open for in-person dining and offers outdoor patio seating overlooking H-Street NE with heaters, blankets and hot cocktails to keep you warm or Private Indoor Winter Chalets located inside the Restaurant. Gift cards are available by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
507 Maple Ave W, Vienna, VA
We can’t live without the Pie Gourmet. The selection is vast, from sweet to savory, and everything they make is amazing. Order ASAP for holiday gift giving! Described as a “gem among local bakeries” by the Washington Post, Pie Gourmet’s offerings include potpies, quiches, fruit pies, cream pies, cheesecakes, and cakes. Love-at-first-bite.
280 Cedar Lane, Vienna VA
Crepes & Karak Café recently opened in Vienna VA as the first authentic Karak coffeehouse in the DMV.
They serve authentic Karak Chai and Chapati, along with a variety of crepes and beverages. We love supporting this new small business in our hometown of Vienna. The coffees are amazing and the crepes are truly to die for. Gift cards are available here.
610 Montgomery St, Alexandria
When you go to Alexandria for a day out, pick up a gift card and try a Banh Mi Dog, inspired by the Vietnamese sandwich. Delish!
Haute Dogs’ “Pay it Pho-ward” campaign supports restaurant workers during COVID-19, and donates $10 to provide homemade pho to a worker in need. Look for Haute Dogs’ signature cheeky T-shirts, as well as gift cards for purchase, online.
You can start your day of holiday shopping in Old Town at Cameron Café. Fuel up with a peppermint mocha and a buttery croissant, then buy a gift card or two for your friends. Gift cards are available in the store or online, or through giveandgetlocal.com
Locally made gifts and small businesses:
Wharf: 10 District Square SW; Georgetown: 1533 Wisconsin Avenue NW; ROOST: 1401 Pennsylvania Avenue; Dupont Circle: 1710 Connecticut Ave NW
It’s no secret that DC is home to hundreds of creatives who design, craft, roast, stitch, bake, weld, brew and build amazing products, and now there is a retail initiative dedicated to helping them grow.
Founded by Stacey Price of People Make Place and Michael Babin of Neighborhood Restaurant Group, Shop Made in DC is a retail initiative with a mission to grow DC’s makers and artists. Offerings include apothecary, apparel, art, furniture, jewelry, home decor and stationery.
All of locations are now open with limited hours and days for Social Distance Shopping (no more than 12 people at a time). Customers must wear masks to enter.
These delicious sauces should be on everyone’s gift list. Not just because they’re awesome, but also because it’s a great way to support this local business. Here’s their story, straight from their website:
“We were using our house-made Mambo sauce in our recipes in our brand new Latin x D.C. inspired pop-up food business called Pelota. We served Latin and D.C. inspired street food and concessions fare to happy mouths all over D.C. for almost a year, and then COVID-19 hit. We lost all of our pop-ups, catering, and corporate lunch business overnight. We immediately decided that this wasn’t going to stop us. We had already been producing and bottling Mambo Sauce to use in our recipes and to sell at our pop-ups. So here we are.”
Best gift ever: a three-pack of Mambo #1, Don’t Cough extra hot mambo sauce, and Bloody Mary Mix. Order online here.
Who knew that you could keep bees and make honey in DC? Jan Day did. Her local honey was collected over the 2020 foraging season by the Capitol Hill bees that live on her second story porch near Stanton Park.
The bees gathered nectar from henbit, sage, lavender, dead nettle plants and more. Worker bees collectively flew thousands of miles to make DC’s finest wildflower honey for you to enjoy in this 8oz jar. Pretty cool. Order here.
110 Church St NW, Vienna
This local indie bookstore and coffee/wine bar is a must-visit when you’re in Vienna. Their selection of books is perfect, and to sip a glass of prosecco while browsing is just the best. They also have a really well curated collection of gift items and cards, and an awesome children’s section.
They’re open for limited browsing, and you can order over the phone as well. We’ve had them choose gifts for our friends over the phone, just by telling them what our friends like. Pay for it on the phone and pick up on their porch. They nail it every time. 571-459-2653
Vienna’s Church Street is also a great spot to stroll if you’re looking for local gifts. You can visit the historic Freeman House for unique gift items and Cocoa Vienna for handmade gourmet chocolates.
The B Corps List:
We’re hyper focused on outdoor time right now, so our B Corps picks are all about it. Solar string lights, warm socks and blankets, and insulated cups for hot toddies are topping our B Corp list.
MPOWERD is on a mission to empower the 3 billion people around the world living without access to clean, reliable, and affordable energy.
This mission is based in the company’s belief that everyone deserves access to clean, reliable, and affordable energy, no matter how or where they live, and that the Earth deserves a little more love, too. MPOWERD’s solar light sales fund solar lights in communities without access to the electric grid. This gift guide option is the Luci Color String Light, which is solar-powered, colorful, and always ready to hang. Powered by the sun, and with mobile charging, these lights are perfect for illuminating your space.
Coziest outdoor blanket ever, and warms your heart too, because it’s made by a company that gives back 1% for the Planet and treats its employees fairly.
They’ve built robust environmental and animal welfare responsibility programs to guide how they make their materials and products. And they have the highest standards to ensure that their products are produced under safe, fair, legal and humane working conditions. Worth every penny- especially because anything you buy from Patagonia will last a lifetime.
We love supporting Accompany because they are working to make sure that traditional crafts and indigenous methods for making are not being lost.
They know that supporting local craftspeople means preserving both cultures and communities. With more local industry, a small community can thrive economically so the traditions and skills of the region can continue to be handed down. We also love them because their wraps and blankets are beautifully soft and allow us to stay warm when we’re eating outdoors or hanging by the firepit.
Speaking of gifts that bring coziness, warm socks are always a welcome gift.
Dan, our monitoring and maintenance guru, lives for his Bombas. “Bombas socks change my day every time I wear them,” he says. “Are they kind of expensive? Yes. Is Bombas a B-Corp? Yep. Plus, for every item you purchase, they donate an item to someone affected by homelessness. Can’t put a price on that. Great gift to give, and maybe get a pair for yourself to wear around the house as well.”
Last but not least, a reusable, insulated set of tumblers is a must-have for the kind of small, socially distant outdoor gatherings that are happening on the back deck these days.
Hot toddies stay hot, wine stays chilled, and Miir sets aside a portion of revenue to fund projects focused on clean water, a healthy environment and strong communities.
We hope you and yours stay safe and healthy this holiday season. And if you want to give our very favorite gift of renewable energy, please get in touch!