Why should you shop local (#shoplocal) and with your town's independent retailers? Let us count the ways: It keeps money in your own community, boosts small businesses, adds vitality to your neighborhood’s storefronts, and gives you access to some truly unique goods (and gifts -- hint, hint) that you’re not going to spy in your nearby big box store. Also, bonus Instagram points for using the hashtag. You know, if you're into that sort of thing.

Working at these independent retailers lets you invest in this important local economy in a totally different way -- you can help drive the business’s growth from the inside, and you can be an anchor in your community by being a familiar and friendly face. Here are some of the coolest Bay Area independent retailers who hire on Localwise.

1. Dandelion Chocolate

What they say: “Dandelion Chocolate is a bean-to-bar chocolate factory in San Francisco’s Mission District. We make chocolate from only two ingredients, cocoa beans and cane sugar, and travel to origins as often as we can to build good, trusting relationships with the producers who grow and ferment the beans we buy.”

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2. Triple Aught Design

What they say: “Triple Aught Design is an apparel and equipment manufacturer headquartered in San Francisco. On their toughest missions and in their everyday adventures, our highly-engaged and dedicated community depends on our gear to help them prevail. With the Pacific to our west and the Sierras to our east, we have spectacular landscapes to inspire our designs and rugged wilderness areas in which to test and use our products.”

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3. Cowgirl Creamery

What they say: “For 20 years, Cowgirl Creamery has produced a variety of fresh, bloomy, and aged cheeses by using milk from neighboring dairies and championing their local milkshed. Two decades, dozens awards, two creameries and two retails stores later, Cowgirl Creamery continues to help pioneer the American artisan cheese movement.”

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4. Cactus Jungle

What they say: “Cactus Jungle Nursery and Garden is a Bay Area, California retail nursery and garden center with locations in Marin and Berkeley, California. We offer many different types of cactus and succulents, low-water grasses, summer-drought bamboos, California natives and more at our local stores.”

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5. Convert

What they say: “Convert is a small boutique chain, specializing in an upscale, highly curated collection of women's and men's apparel and accessories. We have several locations in the Bay Area. We endeavor to create a fun atmosphere in our stores, and are focused on helping our customers find something they'll love to wear.”

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6. Sports Basement

What they say: “Sports Basement is a growing sporting goods retailer with eight locations in the San Francisco Bay Area as well as an online store. We take pride in selling the best brands at basement prices, but if you've ever been to the Basement, you probably know that that description doesn't really do us justice.”

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7. Margaret O’Leary

What they say: “Based in San Francisco, the Margaret O’Leary clothing company is renowned for its rich collections of cutting-edge knitwear. Evolving out of the fog and sea breeze of San Francisco, and now embraced around the globe, customers know and love the affordable luxury of CEO Designer Margaret, who is often found in one of her eponymous boutiques across the United States.”

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8. Stonehouse California Olive Oil

What they say: “Stonehouse California Olive Oil is proud to be a part of the farmer’s market revolution in the United States, one in which both farmers and citizens benefit, to the betterment of both. As high-quality foods are often expensive to produce, being able to sell our products directly to our customers enables us to keep our prices as low as possible, while maintaining sound farming and fair labor practices.”

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9. Bi-Rite Family of Businesses

What they say: “The Bi-Rite Family of Businesses includes two Markets (on 18th Street and Divisadero), the Creamery, our Catering and Commissary Kitchen, as well as the Bi-Rite Farm in Sonoma. We believe that food does more than nourish, it brings people together. As a Certified B Corporation, we believe it’s our responsibility to build meaningful relationships with each part of our extended family: the food we make and sell connects our staff, our guests, our producers, and the environment.”

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10. Benedetta Farm-Sourced Skin Care

What they say: “Benedetta is the first of its kind 100% Botanical Skin Care with a purpose. Developed by Julia Faller more than 25 years ago and has set the standard for excellence ever since. We support family owned Organic and Biodynamic farms around the world many locally. We truly help people and offer a product that is healthy and gives amazing results.

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11. Farmstead Cheeses and Wines

What they say: “Farmstead Cheeses and Wines is an independent, award-winning wine and cheese shop. We have two locations—Oakland and Alameda.”

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12. Humphry Slocombe Ice Cream

What they say: “We opened our first shop in December 2008, since then everyone loves to ask “Which one of you is Humphry and which one is Slocombe?” The answer is neither of us. Inspired by our love of British comedy, Humphry Slocombe is named after the two lead characters (Mr. Humphries and Mrs. Slocombe) from the fabulous 1970’s sitcom “Are You Being Served?” We keep the official “Are You Being Served” book in our Mission Shop to show anyone who’s never heard of the show…just ask! Another question we ofter hear is “why all the unusual flavors?” We don’t really think of our flavors as that unusual and that’s why we let you sample everything we have. Everything.Welcome to our bizarre, delicious, frozen universe.”

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13. Asha Tea House

What they say: “There is a cup of tea out there for everyone, whether it's a simple cup of straight tea, or a crafted glass of flavored tea. At Asha, we strive to feed (or cultivate) this love for tea by serving you high-quality tea drinks made with fresh, pure and real ingredients.”

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14. Bay Grape

What they say: “Bay Grape is a wine shop focused on community. In addition to wine, we also offer beer, specialty sodas and a small selection of local, artisanal foodstuffs. All products are sold retail, available "to go" yet can also be opened and enjoyed "picnic style" at the counter or communal table in the shop. We host wine classes and tastings that are relaxed, casual and designed to help you learn how to describe what you like so you can drink better more often.”

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