Every year the Black Friday push leaves me feeling conflicted. I understand that people out there need to stretch their dollars as far as possible, and Black Friday sales help out with that a lot. I also understand that retailers want to capture as much of people’s limited holiday budgets as possible — which is why opening times have crept earlier and earlier with many stores opening on Thursday. And opening on Thanksgiving day is where things start to become troubling for me. While I understand people want deals and retailers want as much business as possible, it really bothers me to know that a significant amount of people in retail jobs have to leave their families on Thanksgiving (a truly important time of year to be with family) to go to work so people can shop.
Although all of this Black Friday madness leaves me feeling conflicted, I’m delighted by the sentiment of Small Business Saturday which has emerged just one day down on the calendar. Established by American Express back in 2009, (coincidentally the same year we founded Pop Up Flea) the goal is to “Shop Small” and support independent businesses of every stripe. The amazing part of this program is the fact that it has given a voice to the little guys who struggle to compete and who need all of the help they can get. As someone who spends a lot of time around small retailers, I understand the difficulty in being small in scale and independently operated.
It is the small independent restaurants, bars, retailers and local businesses that truly make a town or place special. It’s something I learned watching my Dad run a small business while growing up in Ohio. A few years ago I even witnessed one of the most inspiring small business stories emerge at a nearby and beloved local hardware store. Working to save a local hardware store was an amazing gesture and something everyone everywhere can appreciate. That is exactly the spirit of Small Business Saturday. It’s about supporting the little guys who make a place special. It’s about spending money in your community and helping to ensure that the world isn’t one giant homogenized place. And it’s amazing to think that SBS represents many of the same values that we try and highlight here on ACL.
With this in mind, I made a list of some of my favorite small shops all over the U.S. This is obviously the just tip of the iceberg, but it is a good representation of the unique and small shop at its finest. I hope all of you can get out and support your local independent businesses today by shopping small.
Leather Soul Downtown | 119 Merchant Street #100 Honolulu, HI 96813
Harrison Limited | 2801 Cahaba Rd, Mountain Brook, AL 35223