Shop the Rust Belt this Holiday Season

We don’t even need to tell you why it’s important to shop local, shop rust belt cities, this Christmas/Hanukkah/etc. do we? Here’s some gift ideas that will not only delight your friends and family, but make you feel good/look thoughtful.

Rust Belt Almanac

For starters, we have to pitch the Rust Belt Almanac, which we’re selling in partnership with its Philadelphia-based publisher the Hand and the Heart press. This will make a good book for the industrial city nerd in your family. Or buy yourself a Christmas gift (you know you deserve it!)








Forest City Portage


We here at Rust Wire, are huge fans of Cleveland-based bag maker Forest City Portage. These hand-made, custom designed messenger bags and purses used upcycled materials like old sails from sailboats and seatbelts from junked cars. I am the proud owner of one of these and they are amazing. Here’s an example of what we’re talking about. These retail from $178 to $238. You will not find a nicer bag anywhere.





Youngstown Nation

Another recommendation is to shop Youngstown Nation, run by our good friend Phil Kidd. Anyone who’s from Youngstown, or has parents or grandparents from Youngstown or who ever drove through Youngstown, the original Defend Youngstown shirt is sort of a must have. First of all, it’s just badass to walk around with this badass laborer guy on your shirt and this sort of revolutionary message — Defend Youngstown — on it, especially if you’re not in Youngstown. These shirts have become such a phenomenon, Kidd has sold more than 10,000 over the last five years. His success retailing these t-shirts led him to launch a Youngstown Nation store in the city’s downtown last year. Visit the store if you get a chance this holiday season and you call find all kind of memorabilia, including history books, flags and all kinds of nerdy city stuff.



Ok. Toledoans! Show your love for the glass city by purchasing a Jupmode t-shirt or hoodie. My second cousin owns this company. And the shirt displayed below is the name of a song my mom used to sing to me as a child. I will spare you my complete recitation of the lyrics here, but I want you to know that it is not easy!!






Bike Cleveland

Ok. If you are a cyclist and you live in Cleveland, or you just love cycling and/or Cleveland, you should buy these sporty socks from Bike Cleveland, Cleveland’s bike advocacy group. Not only are these socks great conversation starters, the profits will help support bike advocacy in Cleveland. The Bike Cleveland logo, shown, is an image of Cleveland’s iconic “Guardians of Transportation,” art nouveau statues from the Lorain-Carnegie bridge.









For the little ones in your life, we recommend these insanely cute St. Louis themed onesies from our friends at STL-Style.







Anyway, that’s a sampling of some goods that will support young entrepreneurs and other good causes in cities that really need your cash. I’m sure we overlooked a million awesome companies and we totally apologize for that. But this should give some people some good ideas.

Happy Holidays to all our readers!!!!

–Angie Schmitt

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