• Cashiers resident Susan Arail, left, completes her purchase with Zoller’s Hardware’s Ashley Stewart of Glenville during Arail’s weekly shopping trip to the crossroads. (Photo by Dan Brown.)
    Cashiers resident Susan Arail, left, completes her purchase with Zoller’s Hardware’s Ashley Stewart of Glenville during Arail’s weekly shopping trip to the crossroads. (Photo by Dan Brown.)

Cashiers offers 'elevated' Christmas gift shopping experience

Many unique buys available without descending plateau

By Dan Brown / Staff

CASHIERS -- While Christmas shopping can be a challenge, it often makes more sense to cast one’s net close to home in the Cashiers area, rather than going off the plateau to fight traffic and crowds in larger, more impersonal retail hubs. Looking for that unique gift for the hard-to-please aunt or nephew can be an adventure, but whether it’s a good adventure or one of those walking nightmares, is all up to how you approach the task, shopping gurus say.

Cashiers Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Stephanie Edwards said people come to the Cashiers area for a reason -- for an special shopping experience -- one not necessarily tied to the local altitude. “Cashiers offers an ‘elevated cottage shopping’ experience featuring local, independent businesses which offer unique artisan products that reflect the community's casually-sophisticated character," she said.

Cashiers Village specifically is loaded with unique treasures if shoppers are looking for that unique kind of gift from the mountains. And to add to the experience, many of these village shopping stops can be accessed using the Village Ramble, a scenic walking path that meanders through the village from shop to shop.

One such shop is Zoller’s Hardware on N.C. Highway 107 just north of Cashiers crossroads. It is more than just a hardware store -- it is also a great location for buying a variety of Christmas gifts, according to owner Glenn Ubertino. “Zoller’s has that mountain flavor, that old-time general store look and feel about it,” he said. “We have all sorts of gift items you won’t find in other conventional shops or hardware stores. We really are like a general store.”

Ubertino said unlike other stores in the Cashiers area that close during the off-season, Zoller’s is a year-round store with year-round employees.

“We don’t lay off our employees when business gets slow,” he said. “We are open year-round and our employees work year-round.”

Susan Arail, of Chattooga Falls in Cashiers, picked up some candles, plate stands and miscellaneous knick-knacks last week during her regular stop at Zoller’s.

“Zoller’s is our place,” she said. “It’s more than just a hardware store. It’s like a general store where you can get anything.”

Robin Ashmore, the namesake and owner of Robin’s Nest located in Cashiers on N.C. Highway 107 South, said her store was a place to get unique gifts for family members at a good price. “When you shop local, and when visitors come into Cashiers to shop, the money stays within the community,” she said. “When you shop local, you keep it local.”

Robin’s Nest, Ashmore said, is like a boutique, but without the prices.

“We’re affordable, but we don’t buy in bulk. Instead of buying 12 items to put on display, we only buy six, and when it’s gone, we move on to something else.”

Ashmore said her shop is the perfect place to find that hard-to-find gift.

“We are a distinctive gift shop,” she said. “We stock one-of-a-kind gifts that are affordable.”

Keeping it local in the village is important to her.

“Shopping local is a big deal to us. We want to make this a pleasant gift-buying experience.”

Evelyn Roberson was in town the Tuesday before Thanksgiving to shop local, even though she said she wasn’t local. “I’m from the heart of Mississippi,” she said while perusing Christmas ornaments at the Robin’s Nest. “I’m looking for some interesting Christmas ornaments and these Scrooge hats caught my eye.”

Daughter Lacy Evans is a part-time resident in Cashiers, coming up the mountain from the John’s Creek area north of Atlanta to spend Thanksgiving in the mountains. Evans said she likes the shopping in Cashiers because she’s able to find and purchase unique items not found in other shops and stores in larger malls and shopping centers.

“I like the hometown feel,” she said as she selected a small owl ornament to purchase. “I love coming up here and I love shopping here.”

For Village Ramble information, visit https://www.cashiersareachamber.com/images/2017ShopDineGuide.compressed.pdf.

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