This is a week of gratitude, and I am particularly grateful for all the small business women I have gotten to know over the past year. Through the Network of Entrepreneurial Women I have been exposed to a variety of fascinating businesses, and I am inspired by the ladies who run them.
On Saturday, November 29 many of us will be celebrating Small Business Saturday, an initiative sponsored by American Express to counteract the Black Friday craze of big box retailers. Local and family owned businesses canâ€™t compete with the deep discounts that come with mass manufactured goods, but we do offer personalized and unique goods and services that are designed to lift your spirits and enhance your life.
In my hometown Evanston, all three merchant associations (Main Street, Chicago-Dempster and Central Street) have joined forces to create a holiday event with a trolley service. Hip Circle Studio will be hosting family dance sessions. My favorite Main Street Businesses are listed here. The Chicago-Dempster Corridor also offered lovely businesses that I explored during a recent wine tasting event.
Dragonfly Boutique, which hosts several of my pieces, offers a free tote when you spend $75 on Small Business Saturday, and you get more perks when you bring in that tote throughout December.
Another lovely venue for a Small Business Saturday field trip is Geneva, where Peaceful Parlour owner Shari Ralish resides. She was recently featured in Black Friday Is Fading Away and Customers AreÂ Noticing.
Per the article, Small Business Saturday has grown consistently since 2010. Last year, it was estimated that $5.7 billion was spent as part of the Shop Small movement. â€œIt really is a special day that seems to be growing each year among customers and businesses both,â€ Ralish said.
While you are in Geneva, I highly recommend sweetening up at the Sugar Path with a cupcake or a slice of pie. All of Third Street and State Street offer really fun small businesses filled with delights to gift or indulge in this holiday season.
My favorite family-owned business is in Lemont. Aurora Rose Boutique was the first shop to carry my products, and they have a variety of events this holiday season that should have you checking out the Historic Downtown area.
Also supporting local artisans is the Evanston Art Center with the 12th Annual Winter Arts & Crafts EXPO from November 22 to December 22. You can peruse my jewelry and ornaments there while taking in the taken and creativity of other Evanstonians.
I admire all the brick and mortars willing to take on overhead that I donâ€™t dare to fund yet. Your local merchants are invested in the community and make your hometown what it is, so support them with your wallet and your referrals.