Woman holding a sign that says thank you for buying localSourcing is a major part of every event, whether it’s a wedding, community event, or private party. Choosing a caterer, stocking a bar, selecting gifts for guests, decorating, and renting items that you’ll need to make your event match your vision is quite the task and often, we’re driven by the most economical choice for all of the things we’re looking for, even if the source is from another region, or another country.
 
“Shopping Local” isn’t just a catchy phrase; it accomplishes a few things that benefit us directly. When you order the elements of your event from local providers, you’re talking with your neighbor. You’re talking with someone who is invested in the same community as you are, and that helps build a neighbor-helping-neighbor image and a strong community.
 
Nevada County has become known for this important and increasingly rare attribute in communities. In a lot of cases, when ordering items and services from outside of the area, you’re increasing the carbon footprint of what it takes to get things to your doorstep. Think about a box of decorations that you order online. Where is it coming from? How many airplanes, semi-trucks, and delivery vans will it take to get to your doorstep?
 
There are a couple of ways that you can find what you’re looking for in Nevada County. Make your shopping lists and call around! There are lots of local businesses that carry all kinds of wonderful items and services for your event. You can also grab your favorite mask and go on a local shopping spree! There are many benefits to shopping local and here are a few:
 

It strengthens our local economy

When you hire a local caterer like Antonio Ayestaran Custom Catering, Eye of the Avocado, Emily’s Catering, At Your Service Catering, Tuscany Gardens, or Bill’s Chuckwagon, you’re putting your money back into our local economy. You’re hiring neighbors and neighbors that also spend money in this town, perhaps even at your own place of business.
 

Simple fare

Sometimes, you don’t need a complicated solution when it comes to feeding your guests. In that case, consider a local tradition, Marshall’s Pasties in Grass Valley, or The Ham Stand in Nevada City, where you can order a variety of delicious ham sandwiches. Locally made desserts are also available at The Truffle Shop in Nevada City or Lazy Dog Chocolateria in Grass Valley.
 

It strengthens local ties and establishes local relationships

When you hire locally, it strengthens your connection to our community. You’re getting to know more about our community as you get to know the person you hired and the people that work for them. More locals!
 

A bird in the hand…

When you shop online these days, it’s hard to know when your item will show up, no matter what they promise as a shipping date. Shopping local allows you to walk out of the store with your items in hand. No stress worrying that things won’t show up on time!
 
Sometimes, you won’t be able to find exactly what you are looking for, especially if you live in a small town. Get creative! You can even enlist your local shopkeeper to help you come up with an alternative!
 
Here in the Grass Valley-Nevada City area, we are very lucky to have so many wonderful suppliers of all kinds of things you might need for your production. Did you know you can stock a bar with all kinds of local beverages?
 
Here are just a few that we keep on hand at our beer and wine bar at The Foothills Event Center:
Grass Valley Brewing Co. – Pelton Pilsner and Grateful Haze
Nevada City Winery – Chardonnay, Sonata, Alpenglow, Merlot and Zinfandel
Avanguardia Winery – Cristallo, Due Fiori, Premiato
 
There are other local wineries to choose from as well, including Lucchesi Vineyards, Montoliva Vineyards, Naggiar Vineyards, Pilot Peak Winery, and Szabo Vineyards. All have wonderful wines to choose from. Making a choice can be a challenge, but several local establishments carry many of the wines from each winery, so you can make a list of what you would like to try. Next time you’re out, pick those brands from the menu for a taste test. Many grocery stores in town also offer these labels. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, call the vineyard and either go tasting (if they’re open) or order and have them send it directly to you.
 
You can also offer local coffee at your event. Caroline’s Coffee in Grass Valley roasts beans weekly in their downtown location.
 
When you’re making a list of the alcohol you’re going to serve at your event, you have a local choice for mixed drinks too! South Fork Vodka is always good with Cirino’s Bloody Mary Mix, and they’re both made in Grass Valley.
 
Renting décor and all of the items you need for your event can also be done locally. Not only does The Foothills Event Center have a 10,000 square foot warehouse full of all kinds of décor to rent in different themes from shabby chic to dripping with elegance, but there is always SRC Party Rentals in Grass Valley that can take care of what we don’t have on hand. If it’s large tents you’re looking for, Lifes Best Inn Tents is in Nevada City and has all kinds of tents to choose from.
 
Flowers can be an essential part of many decorating themes, and we have a few of the finest floral boutiques around right here in our own little county. Consider Foothill Flowers, Grass Valley Florist, or Art in Bloom Flowers. All are in the Grass Valley area, and all offer beautiful arrangements for any occasion.
 
If you are providing gifts, Grass Valley Florist and Foothill Flowers have gift shops at their locations, but there are lots of places locally that actually produce wonderful gift items! The Olive Groove offers delicious, high-end flavored olive oils and balsamic vinegars in bottles of all sizes that make wonderful gifts if your guests love to cook. V’tae Parfum & Body Care offers beautifully scented, handmade body lotions. Nightingale Farms offers goat milk soaps and body lotions.
 
Do you have a local-made item that we didn’t mention? Write to us! Drop us comment below, and we’ll include your submissions in a future article.

Amanda Rodgers
Written by Amanda Rodgers

Amanda has over 30 years’ experience in promotions, marketing, event production, operations, and fundraising in both the entertainment and corporate markets. She began producing events at the young age of 16 at a local community radio station. A few years later, Amanda moved to Palo Alto to work at an Apple software retail company. She worked for several software startup companies, including Wollongong, Attachmate, and RadMedia, managing their trade show events across the country. In 1993, she moved back to Nevada County, resumed managing events for her local radio station, and produced private events and weddings as an independent contractor.

As an independent contractor, she has broadened her reach and experience and has participated in events with organizations such as Vanern Enterprises. There, she was in registration for a global congress in Montreal, Canada, and Caspian Agency out of Los Angeles, where she was on the team that orchestrated Al Gore’s worldwide VIP movie premiere for An Inconvenient Sequel, Truth to Power. She took a position with Music in the Mountains, a classical music production company. She managed both their Production and Operations departments for almost two years before joining Foothills Events Center as the Venue Assistant Manager in 2019.

Amanda assists with all aspects of the Foothills Event Center’s concerts, parties, celebrations, fundraisers, weddings, and other events. She observes our events as they happen, to ensure the clients and event attendees have a seamless event.