Best Small Business Saturday Shops (2022): Here Are Our Favorite Local Stores

Black Friday used to be a one-day sales event the Friday after Thanksgiving. People got up early to stand in line and sometimes literally fight over the last TV in Walmart. Then sales started to creep into Thanksgiving Day itself, and then came Cyber Monday. This year, “Black Friday” sales seem to have started as soon as Halloween ended. It’s been shopping madness all month

But today is Small Business Saturday, which is a little less about finding the perfect deal and more about giving back to your local community. We hope you shop small and local whenever you can, but today’s a good day to show your support to the many businesses in your community and elsewhere. That doesn’t just mean going to local stores in your area (though you should do that too if you can). You can shop at many stores virtually, including buying from singular people who make stuff in their homes. If the internet has taught me anything, it’s that there is someone who makes nearly anything you want: resin trinkets, clay earrings, or 3D felt portraits of your pets. These are our favorite small businesses with an online presence, and we encourage you to search for others close to home. 

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How to Find What You’re Looking For

Whether you’re seeking something specific—vintage records or earrings made from skateboards, maybe?—or just want to browse, check for local events like flea markets. Many cities have a one-stop-shop event for this day. Your favorite stores probably have an online marketplace with some or most of their stock. You can also find new stores in these ways:

  • Etsy is a great marketplace filled with individual sellers. You can find nearly anything, from custom art to vintage trinkets. Etsy hosts sales too, while other small or local stores may not.
  • Check your local Chamber of Commerce website. It’ll often list local businesses.
  • Search hashtags on Instagram and TikTok. It can help if you’re looking for a particular item, like plant jewelry.
  • American Express has a searchable small-business map. You may have to do some digging. When I searched my hometown, I got a huge list of restaurants and car washes, as well as a few small boutiques.
  • Amazon has a Support Small section. This is a good resource if you absolutely must use Amazon, but we still recommend buying from businesses directly anytime you can.
  • Check Facebook events for fairs or other local shopping gatherings. Many cities offer days each month (or quarter) where local businesses are invited to set up tables on a street or in a hall for the community to peruse their wares.

Our Favorite Small Businesses

WIRED staffers live across the US, and we wanted to highlight some of our favorite small businesses with shoppable online marketplaces. We’ve browsed real shelves and shopped the online offerings so you know you’re getting something good.

Little Bit of This, Little Bit of That

Chaparral Studio keychain

Photograph: Chaparral Studio

  • Earth (Rockford, IL): This is a brand-new store in Rockford, specializing in zero-waste home goods. You’ll find cleaning supplies, shampoo bars, and reusable pads, among a host of other goodies. If you’re in Rockford, you can visit the refill stations to further cut down on waste. —Louryn Strampe
  • Chaparral Studio (Los Angeles): Looking for original merch like T-shirts, jewelry, crystals, and other accessories? You’ll find it at this woman-owned store in Los Angeles—many items are handmade in-house too. We particularly like its brass keychains that don slogans like Dude, Babe, or our favorite, Feminist. Aligning with the mission of this business, a portion of each sale of the Feminist keychain goes to Planned Parenthood. —Michael Calore
  • One Million Roses (New York City): When my partner said she didn’t wear rings, I had to think hard about what I could propose with. Enter One Million Roses. Started by Lucia Guzmán, a self-taught Bolivian artist, you can request a custom wire sculpture of nearly anything—pets, movie characters, flowers—and in a few weeks, it’ll be delivered to your doorstep. I got a custom wire sculpture of my dog (and my partner said yes!) —Julian Chokkattu

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