Shop Small & Support Local Businesses This Christmas

By: Toni Cunningham | November 27, 2013

For most, the day after Thanksgiving is the beginning of the holiday season. That is, unless you’re one of those people who hung up your festive Santa wreath before the Halloween candy was gone, in which case… ugh.

The day after Thanksgiving is notoriously known as Black Friday, where individuals wake up at an ungodly hour and trample one another to get the very last copy of Batman: Arkham Origins for the low, low price of $34, mere hours after giving thanks for their great and bountiful lives. Perhaps, and bear with me here, there’s a better approach to the gift giving season.

Saturday, November 30 is the 4th Annual Small Business Saturday, and it’s a more sane solution than Black Friday for a number of reasons. First of all, purchasing from a local small business is always better, because you’re putting your money into friendly pockets, not to mention back into the local economy. Where do you think your hard earned cash goes when you purchase a 50-inch LED TV from a wildly popular chain store? Nowhere close to home, I’ll tell you that much.

American Express, the founding partner of Small Business Saturday, selected a Detroit business as one of five small businesses nationwide to represent Small Business Saturday. What does this mean, exactly? Pure Detroit, a local clothing store that celebrates its 15-year anniversary on Thanksgiving, was selected to participate in a campaign video, which shares what exactly they’ll be doing for Small Business Saturday.

Well, what will they be doing? I’m glad you asked! Pure Detroit came up with (what I find to be) a very clever idea: the Detroit Small Business Passport. Shoppers can pick up a free passport at one of the three Pure Detroit locations (in the Guardian Building, Fisher Building or GM Renaissance Center), and receive a stamp at any of the 18 additional participating retailers. By obtaining a stamp in the book (which looks just like a real passport), shoppers will receive discounts up to 25 percent off their purchase, as well as free hot beverages while they shop.

A few participating businesses you may recognize are Stella Good Coffee, Detroit Hardware Co., Detroit Gallery of Contemporary Crafts and Source Booksellers. The best part is, you don’t need to wear yourself out and get all of your shopping done in one day. The passport and all of the accompanying deals are valid through January 31, 2014.

Detroit isn’t the only nearby city getting in on the deals, either. The majority of southeast Michigan’s downtown areas are also offering their own Small Business Saturday discounts.

Downtown Plymouth is home to several of my favorite small shops, including Dazzling Daniela, 424 S. Main St., and Sideways, 505 Forest Ave. Both are participating in Small Business Saturday, so you’ll find some great deals on clothing and gift items.

Downtown Northville is home to 60 plus locally owned shops, including antique stores, book stores, clothing stores for adults and children, jewelry stores, music shops and more. There is also a surplus of coffee shops, restaurants, delis and pubs for when you need to refuel. You’ll find all sorts of Small Business Saturday deals there this weekend.

Participating locations on Ann Arbor’s Main Street and in the downtown area include Encore Records, 417 E. Liberty St., Pink Pump, 601 E. Liberty St., Great Lakes Team Apparel, 309 S. State St., and The Cupcake Station, 120 E. Liberty St. While you’re there, be sure to take a shopping break and stop by Pinball Pete’s, 1214 S. University Ave., just for fun.

Downtown Milford is hosting a few different activities on the 30th, so you can not only shop, but be entertained as well! The annual Christmas parade will be held at 10 a.m., followed by Santa’s visit from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., so it’s the perfect excuse to spend time with the family and get some shopping done afterwards.

In addition to Small Business Saturday deals and downtown shopping areas, there is yet another way to get away from corporate stores and into local ones. Beginning on Friday, November 22, Detroit’s Campus Martius Park is hosting A Season of Winter Magic, which includes tons of winter activities from sponsor Quicken Loans.

The Holiday Marketplace and Beer Garden will be held every weekend through Sunday, December 22. The marketplace will give you the opportunity to shop local from over 30 specialty artisans, boutiques and food vendors. They’ll all open shop in Cadillac Square, and the beer garden will feature craft beers, winter cocktails and live entertainment.

Just because Small Business Saturday is designated to promote shopping at small local stores on one particular day doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do so all year round! There are so many exceptional local shops where you’ll find creative items at all times.

If, at this point, you’re still planning on lining up outside of Target at 2 a.m. or setting up your tent at Best Buy tomorrow, best of luck. The rest of us will be shopping small (and finding more unique gifts).