Saturday, November 26, 2011
Small Business Saturday
I suspect most people have heard of Black Friday (the traditional day-after-Thanksgiving start of the holiday season) and Cyber Monday (the Internet's big shopping day the Monday after Thanksgiving), but do you know about Small Business Saturday? The term was coined by American Express last year to promote the advantages of shopping in small, local shops. This year the U.S. Senate designated Nov. 26 as Small Business Saturday to help promote the day nationwide. Today Tony and I did our part to support our small merchants.
After breakfast we got our things together and headed out the door. Our first stop wasn't exactly a small local shop. but I think going to a Fair Trade Market honors the spirit of the day. The Fair Trade Market at Manchester United Methodist Church claims to be the largest market of certified Fair Trade vendors and products in the US. For several years we've made it a tradition to shop there the weekend after Thanksgiving.
Ten Thousand Villages earrings. I think they'll be a nice conversation starter at work. He probably got some other things, but I guess I don't need to know what they were.
There are several neighborhoods in our area that have concentrations of small businesses. I let Tony pick the area, and he chose the city of Maplewood. Much of the city's shopping district runs along Manchester Road about twelve miles east of us. When we got there it was easy to find a parking space along the street. We got out of the car and started walking. There were a couple of gift shops we passed on, and we didn't need to go in the beauty salon, but we enjoyed browsing in a small hardware store, a pet store, and a store that sold oils and vinegars. The office supply store was closed, as was the typewriter repair shop. Although it's technically not a small business, we stopped into the Penzeys Spice store (the only one in the area). I may or may not have bought some more Christmas presents.
When we got hungry, we weren't too far from Schlafly Bottleworks (a local microbrewery), so we decided to eat lunch there. Their restaurant offers food from as many local farmers and businesses as possible, and lists many of their suppliers on the last page of the menu. We each had a soup and sandwich combination, but passed on dessert, because there was one more stop we had to make on the way back to the car--the Kakao Chocolate shop. We sampled several confections, and bought some things. Some of them may or may not have been holiday purchases.
After several hours of shopping, Tony and I were both ready to call it a day. I'm pretty sure it won't be the last time we support small businesses, though!