Independent retailers are an important part of any community. They keep money local and usually provide more personal service than your multinational conglomerate superstore. Just in time for your holiday shopping pleasure, here's a list of some suggested alternatives to big boxes and chain stores.
Instead of: Toys R Us (or Target)
Shop at: Stamford Toys on High Ridge Road
Instead of: Borders, Barnes & Noble
Shop at: Barrett Bookstore in Noroton Heights (I know it's not in Stamford, but it's close enough.)
Instead of: Kay's, Zales
Shop at: Nagi Jewelers on High Ridge Road, José Grant on Summer Street, Marco Jewelers in Ridgeway, or a bunch of other independent jewelers around town.
Baby clothes, etc.
Instead of: Carter's, Baby Gap
Shop at: Kaleidoscope in the Bull's Head Plaza
Instead of: Godiva, Lindt
Shop at: Chocopologie in South Norwalk (Turns out that Schakolad is a chain.)
Heck, even groceries
Instead of: Stop & Shop, A&P
Shop at: Palmer's Market in Noroton Heights
Any other suggestions?
12/5: Here are a few more!
Instead of: Baskin-Robbins, Carvel
Shop at: Gofer Ice Cream on High Ridge Road, Sunny Daes on Shippan Avenue
Instead of: Home Depot
Shop at: Karps Hardware, Keough's Turn of River Hardware