You might still be planning your Thanksgiving dinner, but the retailers in our community have a second event to plan for this weekend. Right between Black Friday and Cyber Monday comes Small Business Saturday, a day dedicated to supporting small businesses on one of the busiest shopping weekends of the year.
Shopping small, advocates say, is good for your community. For every $100 spent in locally-owned, independent stores, $68 returns to the community through taxes, payroll and other expenditures, according to small business advocacy group The 3/50 Project.
Following are a few more reasons for get off the computer and into town.
1. Rely on an expert
In addition to the personal service local businesses offer, Northbrook Chamber of Commerce president Tensley Garris said the staff at these businesses are well-versed in the products they offer. "You'll get personal attention from small businesses. They know what's cool in school and what the kids are after, but also all about the features that their products offer," she said. "A local business owner can help you decide what features you really need and don't need, and what the differences are between the $600 model and the $800 model." Find a Northbrook-based expert in most any area at the Chamber's online business directory.
Some Northbrook small businesses we love:
- , where the dedicated staff recently celebrated 40 years in business
- , the newest boutique for your favorite pooch
- , for a beautiful way to say 'thank you' (or anything else)
- , if brunch is your can't miss meal
- , for the perfect gift for the perfect gal in your life
2. Common goals
"By supporting local businesses, you're supporting your neighbors, friends and other people who are contributing to your community, keeping taxes down and supporting our schools," said Vicki Street, executive director of the Deerfield, Bannockburn, Riverwoods Chamber of Commerce. "We have a common goal to make this a great place to live and work." Find a new favorite shop in one of the DBR Chamber's downloadable guides.
Some Deerfield small businesses we love:
- , Deerfield's newest store, offering all things baby
- , for sweet treats that looks as lovely as they taste
- , where the staff will help you find the perfect pair of shoes and much more
3. Find something special
"I think what makes shopping locally unique is the quality of goods and services that you'll find from local merchants," said Nada Becker, executive director of the Wilmette Chamber of Commerce. "You can really build relationships with the owners, and they might let you know when they get something that you'd like or even hold it aside for you." Chamber president Patrick McFadden shares more benefits of shopping locally in his column online.
Some Wilmette small businesses we love:
- , for one-of-a-kind graphic novels and comics collectibles
- , a treasure trove of unusual finds
- , for the fan of flames in your home
- , offering 75 years of expertise
- , with bejeweled designs of all kinds
4. Life lessons
Executive director of the Glenview Chamber of Commerce Betsy Baer says the ambiance in Glenview's various business centers - especially during the holiday season - is exceptional in the way that it allows for the development of personal relationships. "Shopping online might be faster, but there is no opportunity to interact or show our children how they should interact," Baer said. "As we become increasingly invested in social media and all the opportunities it presents, shopping locally gives us an opportunity to know the community and, as a family, interact with the people here." Find some ideas of how to spend your next day off at the Chamber's website.
Some Glenview small businesses we love:
- , for high fashion with a local touch
- , which has been brightening area homes for 80 years
- , for fresh-from-Italy flavor in house-made gelato, sandwiches and soups
- , to outfit the whole family in a new, custom-fit pair
- , offering a cozy space to linger over organic treats and teas
5. Rebuild our economy
"Small businesses are the lifeblood of the community and the national economy," said Ginny Glasner, executive director of the Highland Park Chamber of Commerce. "Two-thirds of all new jobs are created by small businesses." Look for a Highland Park business that meets your needs online.
Some Highland Park small businesses we love:
- , because local fashionistas swear by their selection
- , with multiple locations around the North Shore, this is still the flagship store
- , offering hundreds of antique clocks for the person on your gift list who has everything