One of the hardest things I’ve had to do with this move to Brooklyn from Virginia is change my allegiance to all my local shops; coffee, comics, pizza, pub, etc. I got really spoiled in my old neighborhood with having all of these pretty much on the same block and not having to venture out. But all is not lost, the perfect day is coming up to discover new places or return to old favorites.
November 24th marks the third annual Small Business Saturday. A program enacted by American Express to move consumers to brick and mortar stores between Black Friday and Cyber Monday. If you ignore the credit mogul’s incentives for getting us to use credit cards (i.e. cash back rewards) and concentrate on growing our own community this ‘holiday’ seems quite admirable. You can check to see what establishments in your neighborhood are participating with American Express’ program by logging onto to the Small Business Saturday homepage.
If you are on the holiday track and perusing gifts for your nearest and dearest, then I implore you to shy away from big chains for this season, or at the very least for just one day. It doesn’t have to be material goods either, just getting coffee at the Mom and Pop store on the corner instead of Starbucks or grabbing a bite at that quaint sandwich shop, and not Subway, helps too.
Spread the word also about your favorite places, and if you use Twitter make sure you add #SmallBusinessSaturday to your search and see where others are headed. I challenge all of you to try to go to one local business for the remainder of the year on Saturday. If you grab a meal or snag a new hat from your favorite place, snap an Instagram pic and tag it. Log in your location on Facebook/Four Square, even write a review on Yelp or Tumblr; inspire your friends and family to expand their consumer horizons. Bottom line: JUST SPREAD THE WORD.
There have been too many good small businesses that have gone under because of lack of customers and/or enthusiasm. If you really love a certain pizzeria or indie jewelry shop articulate that to those in your neighborhood. The best advertising they have are their loudest fans. Happy Small Business Shopping!
Here’s 5 suggestions to get you started:
Forbidden Planet (832 Broadway/Union Square) Fulfilling comic/nerd needs
Cup & Saucer (89 Canal Street/Chinatown) For your early morning or afternoon perk up
Five Stride Skate Shop (455 Graham Avenue/Williamsburg) Providing goods to the roller challenged
Permanent Records! (181 Franklin Street/Greenpoint) Satisfying the auditory chasm
Kill Devil Hill (170 Franklin St/Greenpoint) Curiosity shop to find a gift for the friend with everything
Please leave your favorites in the comments and share!