My Favorites

To celebrate the 2020 holiday season, the MetroHartford Alliance (MHA) and initiative staff representing the Connecticut Health Council, Connecticut Insurance and Financial Services (CT IFS)The Hartford Chamber of Commerce, Hartford Young Professionals & Entrepreneurs (HYPE), and Innovation Destination Hartford (IDH), are sharing recommendations for holidays gifts that support our region’s small businesses.

Day 1

David Griggs, President and CEO of MetroHartford Alliance 

“It can get chilly here in Hartford from time to time and this hoodie keeps me warm and promotes our great region!” says David. Having lived in Minnesota and Buffalo, if David recommends the Yard Goats sweatshirt you know it is warm!

David also recommends this Hartford Athletic t-shirt, noting “It’s green and blue, like the updated MHA website.” Shop local and show your team spirit whether it’s for Hartford Athletic, the Yard Goats, or MetroHartford Alliance!

Day 2

Margot Early, Director of Strategic Events at MetroHartford Alliance

“It’s like a hug in a bowl!” emphasizes Margot. As someone who’s enjoyed food from Boston to Atlanta, this recommend comes from a well-traveled palate. She suggests the Banh Meee Vegan Pho. Pick up a gift certificate for someone you know who loves Vietnamese food.

Day 3

Kim Bishop, Executive Director of Talent Attraction & Retention

“My favorite local photographer Allegra Anderson launched a Home + Lifestyle Shop that’s full of amazing products!” says Kim. “One of my favorites so far is Meliora Laundry Powder. It’s vegan, cruelty-free (a must for an animal lover like myself), low waste, and eco-friendly. It smells and works great and is effective yet gentle enough to wash baby clothes—an added bonus with my first little one on the way next month!” Visit the site for a curated selection of gift guides for everyone from foodies to clean freaks to homebodies.

Day 4

Rebecca Nolan, Vice President, Global Business Development

“Most people know I’m not a big coffee drinker, but every so often I get a craving for a mocha cappuccino,” admits Becky. “The best I’ve found is in Avon, CT at DOM’s Coffee. When we can meet again in-person, join me in the sunny back room for a cozy cup.” Visit the shop for a variety of gifts for coffee lovers. DOM’s sister company, DOM’s Cheese Shop offers online shopping where you can pick it up at the store. They have imported cheese platters and specialty foods, too!

Day 5

Raina Giddings, Senior Director of Investor Relations

“I really love Brown Butter Creations. They have the cutest little ‘surprise box’ of tasty treats that would make a great gift. It has an assortment of cupcakes, cookies, bars, and tarts that can be shared, and everyone is guaranteed to enjoy. They taste sooooo good and look scrumptious,” gushed Raina. Every treat from the Brown Butter Creations’ family-run kitchen is made to order and hand-delivered in and around the Hartford area.

Day 6

Nan Price, Content Manager MetroHartford Alliance + Website Curator Innovation Destination Hartford

“What I love most about the Curated CT boxes is that I can support several local businesses at once with just one purchase. Not only that, the boxes also include so many of my favorite things: coffee, bread, cheese, and chocolate. What’s not to love?” says Nan. Box contents make great items to share with friends and family—or order one as a gift showcasing Connecticut-made artisan products.

Read the IDH interview with Curated CT’s owner Donald Pendagast.

Day 7

Mia Sinatro, Programs Director, Hartford Young Professionals & Entrepreneurs (HYPE)

“Because I am Gemini and can’t possibly choose just one item from Hartford Prints!, I curated a special collection of gifts that I’ve put on my holiday wish list! The Hartford Rocks glasses will display nicely on my bar cart and pair well with a cozy glass of bourbon. I’m obsessed with the rad downtown Hartford Art Print, this killer piece is the missing link to my gallery wall. Lastly, my loungewear collection would not be complete without the festive Small State Big Heart crewneck sweatshirt to be worn proudly!” says Mia. Shop online or visit their store on Pratt Street downtown for the full Hartford Prints! experience. #HartfordHasIt #supportsmallbusinesses


Day 8

Julie Daly Meehan, Chief Operating Officer MetroHartford Alliance

“Oh, the memories I have of sharing Vaughans Irish Cream with some of my favorite people! Can’t wait to leave a surprise bottle on their doorsteps so we can share a virtual cup of cheer,” said Julie Daly Meehan, Chief Operating Officer MetroHartford Alliance. Visit Vaughan’s this week and you’ll see the beautiful Pratt Street decorations. To order 16- or 32-ounce jars call (860) 882-1560.


Day 9

Shannon Mumley, Director of Small Business, Hartford Chamber of Commerce

“Gift cards, coffee merch, and coffee beans! Everything you need to show your favorite people that you love them. Give them the gift of caffeine this holiday season from my favorite coffee shop in Hartford!” encourages Shannon Mumley, Director of Small Business Development Hartford Chamber of Commerce when recommending Story and Soil.



Day 10

Gene Goddard, Chief Business Investment Officer, MetroHartford Alliance

“I love Hartford Prints! for the variety of things they sell, from tumblers to cool shirts to Christmas ornaments. It’s one of my favorite places to stop when looking for Hartford- and Connecticut-themed gifts for clients and family,” said Gene Goddard, Chief Business Investment Officer, MetroHartford Alliance.


Day 11

Amy Albert, Digital Marketing Manager, MetroHartford Alliance

Berkins On Oak and/or Berkins Blend Cafe (Glastonbury) gift cards are ideal – you can use them for a to-go cup of coffee, a pound of ground coffee to make at home, a quick lunch, catering, or wooden nickels good for a free coffee (perfect for stocking stuffers.) They aren’t just a gift of coffee or lunch, they are a way of supporting the local small business of Hartford born and bred of Doug Bar(ber) and Andrea Haw(kins),” said Amy Albert.

Buy a Virtual Gift Card

Read about how Doug and Andrea met!

Grub Hub pick up and delivery for Berkins Blend Cafe

  • choose from Latte, Espresso, American, Cappucino, Chai or Hot Chocolate, smoothies, croissants, frittata + more!


Postmates + Grub Hub pick up and delivery for Berkins on Oak

  • all of the above, plus Berkins Breakfast platter, sandwich, bowl, a la cart, fruit parfait, create your own sandwich, soup + crackers, mac-n-cheese, salad, bagels + more.