While some people live for the thrill of the bargain on Black Friday, others eschew the long lines at local malls and impersonal aura of online holiday shopping. The “do-you-or-don’t you” of Black Friday can be somewhat polarizing. But it’s tough to find something to carp about over Small Business Saturday, the brainchild of American Express. What began in 2010 with barely a blip has morphed into a nationwide phenomenon. Shopping small, independently owned businesses helps keep your dollars in your community and allows you to take your time choosing personal gifts for loved ones.
In the Seaport
Start the day by fueling up at Flour Bakery, one of Boston’s best-known – and well-loved – eateries. What began as a single spot selling warm-from-the-oven baguettes and to-die-for sticky buns now boasts nine locations. You’re in thisfor the long haul, so a cup of strong coffee and something with substance are in order.
Now that you’re fully fortified, it’s time to shop. Hit up For Now for the fashionistas on your list. A co-op for small, independent brands on the rise, For Now has a selection that’s ever changing and always on trend. At Tango, you can shop for fashions for him or her, fun jewelry, artwork, and a curated collection of gifts for the home. For the oenophiles and foodies in your life, Mayhew Wine is the place to go. This seller offers the be-all-end-all of wine cellars along with a selection of gourmet cheeses. If you shop for the Fifi or Fido in your life, head to Polkadog Bakery for fresh-baked, dog-friendly cookies and cupcakes, and all-natural doggy treat gift baskets.
After all this shopping, you’ll be in need of fresh sustenance, and an adult beverage or two. Head to Temazcal Tequila Cantina’s Seaport location for a much-needed margarita and chile rellenos or skirt steak fajitas.
In the North End
With several small, independently owned shops, and ample amounts of world-class Italian food, the North End is another Boston neighborhood that works perfectly for a Small Business Saturday adventure.
Blue jeans are a wardrobe staple for every Bostonian, and you’ll find 30+ brands at in-jean-ius, a small boutique that also sells fun tops and statement jewelry. Your BFF will love whatever you find here. The same is true of LIT, which sells fun fashions and funky gifts. For the babysitter, dog-walker and coworker, head to Shake the Tree, purveyors of all things cool, such as handmade jewelry, stationery, apothecary and things for the home. There’s more to Boston’s Little Italy than Italian food. There is also an independent bookseller that focuses on Italian writers and topics, as well as Italian cookbooks. I AM Books bucks the no-one-reads-actual-books-anymore odds with classic Boston bravado . . . brilliantly.
Once you’re all tuckered out from shopping, it will be time to think about putting something in your tummy. Rumor has it there are a couple of Italian restaurants in the North End (understatement of the century, right?). The only problem with so many great options is deciding where to actually mangia. This story on BostonMagazine.com breaks down the best of the best.