The small business movement is a valuable counter to the corporate landscapes of big-box stores and their accompanying lifeless parking lots that have taken over some parts of our city. There are dozens if not hundreds of shops throughout Columbus where you can buy everything from knit caps to vintage furniture from small and local businesspeople and keep your money in the community and out of the hands of labor-exploiting billionaires. Geek culture has been a welcome home to small businesses for decades, and while the internet makes it easy to order things that you may have never hoped to see for sale in person in the past, Columbus still has plenty of great stores to help you do your holiday shopping without crossing the picket lines at Walmart. If you know someone with graphic novels on their wish list, skip Amazon and Barnes & Noble and head for one of our many local, independently-owned comic shops. With the Laughing Ogre in Clintonville, Comic Town on Morse Rd., Heroes and Games at the Convention Center and Packrat Comics and Black Hole Comix in and around Hilliard, you can find everything from Superman and the Avengers to manga and locally-produced comix without going online. Many of them can place special orders as well. Tabletop and collectible card gamers have also been drawn to local shops for decades, so if you need some Dungeons & Dragons books, Warhammer miniatures or Magic: The Gathering cards there are an abundance of shops that will know just what you’re looking for. The Guardtower on Trabue Rd., the Soldiery in Clintonville, Ravenstone Games on the north side and Fog of Dusk on Bethel Rd. are all good choices to keep your spending local. Many comic shops carry games as well. If you’re looking for video games, skip GameStop and check out Play It Trade It, with several locations around central Ohio including Clintonville and Polaris. Not only do they carry new games, they also sell vintage games and systems. Super Game Team in the Fifth By Northwest neighborhood also carries retro games and systems to help you give the gift of nostalgia. And if you’re just not sure what to get, just north of Downtown in the Short North Big Fun Toy Store is stocked full of Transformers, My Little Ponies, Star Wars and superhero action figures, and fun novelty toys to stuff stockings for all ages. Big Fun reopened its doors here in Columbus earlier this year after a stint 15 years ago near campus. In the meantime they had two locations in Cleveland, but co-owner Jason Williams returned to Columbus for the relaunch and has made the store totally unique. If you know someone likes a particular character or TV show but aren’t sure exactly what to get them, you’ll find something at Big Fun. We geeks are passionate about things, and we need to be passionate about our local businesses as well. They’re run by people just like us, and this holiday season, with more and more big boxes encroaching on our territory, they need our support. Shop locally geeky this year.

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