Community Chatter: Show some love for your favorite small businesses
Following up on our last Community Chatter post about favorite social media follows, we thought it would be a great idea to start February off by highlighting some of the small businesses that we love.
I’m really lucky that Boise has an incredibly strong “buy local” culture, and living downtown (a small business hub with weekly outdoor markets) for my first couple of years exposed me to some of my now favorite places in town.
I discovered Figgy through a pop-up at the second local biz on my list: Lemon Tree. She brought a whole slew of single serving desserts, all delectable, and I think I bought one of each and ate them all. This led me to follow her on Instagram where she posts the most exquisite photos of her artisan cakes using natural ingredients and fresh local flowers as decoration. I don’t often need full cakes, but during the pandemic, she started offering cake jars and mini desserts with her mind blowingly creative flavor combos and I’ve been hooked ever since.
On our first walk around Downtown Boise, my husband and I walked past Lemon Tree, and we love a good sandwich. When we stepped inside and saw the staff cleaning we realized they were closed, but the owner waved us in anyway and told us to have a seat. He explained they were brand new and excited to serve the Boise community. We were too late for sandwiches, but he gave us samples of one of the sides, savory steel-cut oats, and hand-crafted seasonal lemonades in a variety of flavors. We were so happy to see such a friendly, community-friendly place that we were back the next day for sandwiches. Best sandwich in town! They also do regular pop-up events and partner with other local businesses to keep small business booming in Boise. We love them!
A Succulent Day is a classic example of a business built on passion. These people know and love their plants and it shows with every interaction you have with them. They did a pop-up at our local Intuit office last year and even though I only have more of a green pinky than a green thumb, I was moved to adopt a little succulent for my desk. It came complete with care instructions and information on the kind of succulent it was (Haworthia Fasciata). They do local and online sales and are sure to help keep your spaces beautifully green.
Trailhead diverges a little bit as it’s a non-profit organization, rather than a retail business, but they still had a positive impact on my life all the same. Their whole mission is to nurture the startup community in Boise, which they do through offering co-working spaces, networking, education, and events. While I am not a business owner, myself, I did work for a startup before coming to Intuit and made proper use of their co-working space and networking events when I was trying to get a foothold in a new town. They are infinitely welcoming and just want to see you succeed!
Supporting small business & shopping local is a topic near and dear to my heart. Here in the Bay Area, there are many fantastic businesses covering all bases. During these extraordinary times, I have made a point to buy my food, coffee, and books from my favorite local small businesses:
A San Francisco institution, & destination for everything anyone could ever need to have the best day ever. Best ice cream in San Francisco, highest quality groceries including farm fresh produce, and prepared food for those days & nights when I don’t want to cook. Bi-Rite is a family owned business, and if you’re lucky enough to venture inside, say hi to Sam and his fam.
Four Barrel Coffee is my favorite roaster in the Bay Area. Aside from having the very best coffee, roasted right there in the store, they play vinyl records and have a stellar record collection. I’ve missed the experience of sipping my espresso while reading a book and listening to the cracks and pops of my favorite music on vinyl. However, the coffee is so delicious, I don’t want a day to go by without it. Now, instead of going into the store and cafe, I order the beans for delivery. I also ordered their incredibly delicious beans for friends & family as holiday gifts. All of them have since reached out to tell me they’ve never had better beans.
While I don’t begrudge the value in shopping for books that can be delivered within 2 days, I have been shopping for my books locally for years, and continue that habit into 2021. The best part of book shopping is walking into the book store and taking a whiff of the books. There is no comparison. Dog Eared Books has new and used books, and I’ve been known to spend hours cruising their aisles. Today, however, spending copious amounts of time in bookstore aisles is not an option. Thankfully, Dog Eared Books uses BookShop.org to deliver books. Every time my package arrives, I take a whiff, and take a moment to remember the joy of walking around the store. I look forward to returning.
During the pandemic, I moved to a different part of the Bay Area. I’m very picky about Italian food, and equally picky about ordering food from local, small business-owned restaurants. I learned about Marzano, a family owned Italian restaurant, but have to admit I was skeptical. Could the Italian food truly be authentic? The answer is Y E S. We are obsessed with Marzano in our home. We look forward to returning to Italy, but until it is safe to do so, we will continue to order Marzano as often as we can. Every bite brings us joy when joyous moments are more precious than we ever imagined they could be.
I’ve been making a concerted effort to shop local the past few years, so coming up with just a few small businesses to feature was harder than I thought it would be. But here are some of my favorite small businesses local to Tucson, AZ.
Yellow Brick Coffee - Yellow Brick is all about single-origin specialty roasts and has one of my hands down favorite cold brews in town. They do sell their coffee online, and I recently ordered a bag of their “Be Kind” blend, which is part of a partnership with a local non-profit organization. I plan on giving it a try this week and I can’t wait.
Birdhouse Yarns - Birdhouse is my go-to store for inspiration and gorgeous yarns whenever I am ready to start a new project. Their shop is a converted house near the University and that is exactly what it feels like when you walk in the door - a welcoming home. Holly, the owner, is always ready to help whether it’s with finding the perfect yarn or offering tips on a tricky stitch or pattern. They also offer online shopping and have Zoom appointments for those people who need to see the yarn a bit more close up. And finally, they have started doing “Gratitude Saturdays” where they donate 10% of all Saturday sales during the month to a local non-profit organization.
Mercado San Augustin - For my last pick I’m going to cheat just a tiny bit and recommend a shopping district rather than an individual business. The Mercado is an open air courtyard that features local small businesses and restaurants. Their mission is to “ give small artisan and food businesses a venue to showcase their work through our shops, restaurants, markets, and bazaars.” And, yes, they too are known for their work with local non-profit organizations to give back to the community. I have spent many a morning having brunch at Seis, or grabbing some delicious pastries from La Estrella, and I look forward to the day when I can make that a habit again.
http://www.bloommaven.com/ Bloom Maven is where I go to buy myself flowers on occasion. they have a wonderful selection, and the ladies who run the shop are so knowledgeable! I've also bought some plants there as well.
https://popcycleshop.com/ I also love Pop Cycle!! they have such fun, creative gift ideas. And they really focus on a promote local artists!
Community Chatter: Show some love for your favorite small businesses
I'm from a very small mountain town in Southwest Virginia, and I LOVE supporting local small businesses. I feel like in an area like this we really have to have each others backs, and you can just feel the heart, dedication, and quality of each business. Here are a few of my most favorite local shops:
TriciaCahoonHandmade I have a thing for collecting handmade pottery and Miss Tricia never disappointments! I love giving and receiving her pieces as gifts and they're perfect for any occasion.
My neighbor who was also one of my college professors and her daughter have recently began making jewelry. The sentimental value of vintage book pages, river rock, flowers, and more cast in resin just speak for themselves.
If you're an area native or even if you're not, Heart and Soul is the best place to find the latest fashion. Blouses, pants, dresses, skirts, shoes, loads of beautiful accessories, you name it - this is the spot.
After you've finished up shopping at the businesses mentioned above, you know you're going to want a cup of coffee. Located in a central city within our county, Lincoln Road is a favorite for coffee, brunch, and dessert lovers. Their online order and curbside pick-up is super handy!