GiftBar Alters Local Online Shopping

Remember when gift-giving used to be a ritual that involved leaving your house, serendipitously discovering that perfect surprise present, and dashing over to the cashier to hand another human being your cash?

Welp, GiftBar, a soon-to-be-launched new online gift-card marketplace, is doing its part to make that a distant memory here in Chicago. The service will be debuting here first and then New York and Los Angeles (surprise, surprise) shortly thereafter.

Here's co-founder Kara Kaplan on why she and Jennifer Morris launched this enterprise, to

“We researched a variety of small businesses that provide gift certificates, and discovered that nearly 75 percent of those still issued handwritten, paper certificates and that you often have to visit the store in person to purchase. We wanted to make it easy to gift locally from the comfort of your home. We’re offering a highly curated, easy to use site for consumers to interact with these merchants and provide a great alternative to big box gift cards.”

It's an interesting market to tap into, and they certainly picked a great time to test it out -- surely it wasn't an accident. So, instead of leaving their homes, gift-givers can now instantly send gift cards from local merchants -- as if folks need an additional reason to stay indoors during the unforgiving Chicago winter. You can check it out here.

David Wolinsky is a freelance writer and a lifelong Chicagoan. In addition to currently serving as an interviewer-writer for Adult Swim, he's also a columnist for EGM. He was the Chicago city editor for The Onion A.V. Club where he provided in-depth daily coverage of this city's bustling arts/entertainment scene for half a decade. When not playing video games for work he's thinking of dashing out to Chicago Diner, Pizano's, or Yummy Yummy. His first career aspirations were to be a game-show host.

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