The days between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday are shopping madness, when you finally get a chance to grab the Dyson vacuum or laptop you’ve needed all year at a price you can afford. But today is Small Business Saturday, which is a little less about benefiting you, and more about giving back to your local community. We think it’s important every year to support small and local businesses, but that’s especially true in 2020, when the pandemic hit them hard.
Shopping small doesn’t just mean going to the stores in your city’s downtown area—though you should do that too if you can. But with Covid-19 case numbers rising, and many brick-and-mortar stores still closed, you can shop small virtually. We’ve rounded up some of our favorite small businesses that you can shop online, and we encourage you to search for others close to home. And remember, it’s nice that we have a day dedicated to supporting these shops, but you should remember them all year.
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How to Find What You’re Looking For
Are you looking for something specific? Vintage records, earrings made from skateboards? In any other year, you might check for local events like indoor flea markets, which pack in as many vendors and customers as possible to buy directly. But this year, that’s not the best idea. You can check in with the small businesses in your area directly to see if they have an online marketplace with all or most of their stock (chances are, they do). You can also find stores these ways:
Etsy is an obvious source as a marketplace of individual sellers. You can find nearly anything there, from custom art to vintage trinkets. Plus, they have sales, where other small or local stores may not.
Check your local Chamber of Commerce website. They often list local businesses.
Search hashtags on Instagram if you’re looking for a particular item, like say, plant jewelry.
American Express has a searchable small-business map, but you may have to dig. When I searched my hometown, I got a huge list of restaurants and car washes as well as the few small boutiques.
Amazon might be the last place you’d consider a small business (and rightfully so!), but the site now has a Support Small section. This is a good resource if you absolutely must use Amazon, but we still recommend buying from the small businesses directly anytime you can.
Our Favorite Small Businesses
WIRED staffers live across the country, and we wanted to highlight some of our favorite small businesses with shoppable online marketplaces too. We’ve browsed real shelves and shopped the online offerings so you can know you’re getting something good.
A Little Bit of This, a Little Bit of That