While we generally wait for our birthday to celebrate our birthday, and the Fourth of July happens on the fourth day in July, the spirit of Small Business Saturday shines throughout the calendar year.
Because it is local at heart, and our lives are generally lived locally. Which means any day of any month, just about, we can stroll into the record store on the corner, or that one place that makes the roasted walnuts we like, and support an area business owner.
Showing that support, though, has become the annual and cheerful theme of the Saturday that follows Thanksgiving. Small Business Saturday, which began in 2010 (and has a backer in American Express), has grown as a complement to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the two other after-Thanksgiving shop days.
What to expect? Area mom-and-pops, and boutique companies with a regional base, sometimes offer specials, deals, and the occasional "come in and have a cocoa" invitation, but even if your favorite shop isn't doing it up, consider Saturday, Nov. 26 a nice chance to show them your support.
So, where to head? Anywhere there's a cluster of brick-and-mortars with a funky or individual vibe seems a fine starting point. Look to...
Magnolia Park: The Burbank-based route of one-of-a-kind shops (think thrift, vintage, home goods, and offbeat themes, like Halloween Town) is pretty darn lengthy, so much so you should ponder donning sneakers. The sizable swath just speaks to Magnolia Boulevard's plethora of choices, store-wise.
Downtown Santa Ana: From artwalks to alfresco, community-big breakfast events, to dine-arounds, the ever-effervescent DTSA has it all going on. Make sure to spend time at the great restaurants as you shop hop, and should you spend the whole weekend there, past Small Business Saturday? There's a weekly farmers' market every Sunday.
Montana Avenue: Some of these stores are swanky, some homey, and the walkability factor is favorable (thank, in part, those ocean breezes sweeping down the Santa Monica avenue from but a few blocks away). Nest Bedding, Ten Women Gallery, and several other stores line the strollable stretch.
Arts District LA: Finding a beautiful book about contemporary painting, or a handmade vase, or funky necklaces made from keys (jewelry that helps the community) is made easier in the district. The area has blossomed with excellent shops in recent years, places that stay true to the character of the district.
West Third Street: It's about as plunk in the middle of the city as places can get, and it is anchored by The Grove/Farmers Market at one end and the Beverly Center at the other. Between the two? You've got Vintageweave Interiors, Plastica, New Stone Age, and other stalwarts of local shopping.
Surely your own neighborhood has a block or several streets where businesses continue to connect with the community. Stop in on Small Business Saturday, just to say hey, and, yes, pick up some stationery or a scarf or a book.