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Your Guide to Online Shopping Locally in the San Diego Backcountry

Updated: Jan 26, 2022

Shopping locally online with San Diego backcountry businesses
This photo is copyright of Jennifer Gutierrez. © 2019 - 2022 by Jennifer Gutierrez.

With all its specialty shops, Julian and the surrounding backcountry communities are a popular place for SoCal residents to Christmas shop. For those who can’t physically shop at our local businesses because of geographical distance or due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I have rounded up all the online shops for you. On behalf of the local businesses, I just want to say THANK YOU for supporting them. When you buy from my entrepreneur friends, you are directly helping support their families. Even small purchases go a long way!


The Balm Lady


Monica and Megan are the balm. These ladies make an amazing lip balm. I have tried multiple lip balm brands and even tried making my own before I discovered this local company. The product gives your lips a perfectly silky-smooth feeling. When I put it on at night, it not only repairs my lips by morning, there is still a product on my lips. I love it!


Mountain Made


Mountain Made is a small business nestled in the San Diego mountain town of Julian, founded and operated by a lifetime Julian local—me, Eva Hatch. It is my mission to provide a quality line of locally made merchandise that allows you to bring home a piece of the mountains and support the local community through your purchase. Sticking to our small-town roots, we proudly design, manufacture in small batches, and distribute all our merchandise by hand with love. Utilizing a blend of candle-safe fragrance infused with natural essential oils, we are able to replicate true-to-life aromas that can be found in the San Diego Backcountry. Our candles make great gifts for anyone on your list.


ANINI Designs


Backcountry local Jeanine Ertl is the crafter behind ANINI Designs. This small, home-based business sells slow-crafted and consciously created textiles. On their online shop, you can find DIY kits, home décor, and eco gift wrap.


Merdo Acres


Dear friends of mine, Molly and Brian, are the craftsman behind the Merdo Acres wood design projects. Their cutting boards are constructed out of quality woods from right here in our local mountains. They do a fantastic job of keeping their work both decorative and functional. Their items are handmade with the option to add customizations. These one-of-a-kind pieces make a great gift for both genders, all ages, and any relation. This is a creative way to give a handmade gift, something personal and unique without a bunch of hassle. Find them on the Julian Station or online.


Carrisito Ranch Butcher Box


The Morettis are fourth-generation cattle ranchers who operate Carrisito Ranch in the beautiful Santa Ysabel Valley. They sell USDA-approved, grass-fed beef and pork in butcher boxes, on the hoof, and as pet food. I know this might not sound like a conventional Christmas gift, but one bite is all it will take to make you the best gift-giver of the year.


Faith Embroidery and Toy Chest


This one-of-a-kind shop is filled with iconic toys from your childhood and Faith’s embroidery masterpieces. Faith makes chapstick holders, ornaments, hair accessories, and so much more, all featuring characters you are sure to know. You—or should I say your kids—are sure to find something they will love in this toy store. You’re sure to find something for just about anyone here. Seriously, just the other day I found six awesome gifts for kids on my Christmas shopping list. Give them a call. They can ship items to you.


Julian Cider Mill


The Julian Cider Mill was founded in 1975 by the Slaughter family. Here you can find a wide assortment of yummy snacks, local honey, canned goods, and of course, homemade raw apple cider made with only local apples. Their selection also includes gluten-free items. They ship, so give them a call.


Crow and Lilac


Crow and Lilac is a wonderful boutique that is well known for its handmade vegan body-care line, Add Joy products. You can buy individual items or sign up for their gift club to receive handmade goodies right to your door (or, in this case, your friends’ and family members’ doors) four times a month.


J. Okuma


Jamie Okuma is a member of the La Jolla band of Indians in Southern California who specializes in one-of-a-kind Native American art and fashion pieces. Her hand-executed work is something a loved one can treasure forever. She sells out quickly, so don’t sit on something you like.


Quinn Knives


Quinn Knives has been open since 1984, making it San Diego county's oldest independent knife store. They have a large selection of quality steel and proven backcountry goods. My family has had a set of their kitchen knives for years. They have held up so well! Visit them in person or on their brand new online store.


Uptown Boutique


This cute clothing boutique in Ramona is full of stylish trends at reasonable prices. In addition to women’s clothing, you can find fashion accessories, home décor, personal care products, and even food. With this large selection, you are sure to find a perfect gift. If you can’t make it to them in person, they sell online too!


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