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Small Shops and Big Gains on Small Biz Saturday

What sets apart the last Saturday in November from any other Saturday? Since 2010, it has become a day that encourages people to check out local sales and keep money flowing in their own community.

Small Business Saturday, the Saturday after Thanksgiving, was created to advocate for local and small businesses amidst the big-box retail and e-commerce stores who partake in Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales.

Founding partner American Express footed the bill for an extensive ad campaign using hashtags such as #smallbizsaturday and #sbs to stir up social media support. Amex even offers small business tools for merchants and discounts on Small Business Saturday deals when customers use their Amex card.

In the last three years, thousands have taken part in Small Business Saturday by visiting local stores and “buying small.” This year, I knew the perfect location to participate- the Square in Denton, Texas. 

Denton’s Square is full of small businesses that range from coffee shops, clothing boutiques, wine halls and book stores to various restaurants. In the middle of the Sqaure is Denton’s Historic Courthouse, and surrounding that on all four sides are 30+ local businesses. The courthouse lawn has become a place for families to have picnics and students to study. There is an abundance of trees on the Square, and year round they are lit with lights, transforming Denton into a dreamlike small town setting after dusk.

You’re likely to find the owner of these local stores on the Square at any given time, and that was certainly the case for Small Business Saturday. Here’s a list of the ones I visited- ones that I will surely visit again.

 

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Yogurt Fusion: They offer a variety of frozen yogurts, toppings and they also have an extensive menu of coffee drinks. Denton resident John Punch bought the place recently and has spiced it up with a beautiful antique-looking espresso machine, making it the perfect cozy spot for a study session. Employee Kara Terrell was working that day and told me that it had been pretty busy, but that most days are with the most common customers being families.

 

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Mad World Records: Packed with vinyl, old and new, the store also sells apparel, CDs, cassettes, DVDs and random gizmos and gadgets. They also have an entire bookshelf that promotes local artists and musicians. The owner, Mark Burke, said Saturdays are always the best days for his store. “Denton residents like and shop at small businesses everyday, which is nice,” Burke said. Local musicians and artists like to hangout here and catch up on the latest tunes. The shop is also the place to buy local magazines that students and other artists produce.

 

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Atomic Candy: Welcome to any kid’s dream- an entire store filled with candy, and personal bags that you can fill all the way up to the top with as many varieties as you want. The shop is always packed with people looking for a sugar fix, and there’s always a plethora to choose from. Mix, match or stick to just one- Either way, your sweet tooth will probably get a little bigger just walking in.

 

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Jupiter House: Ranked Best Coffee Shop in Denton for four years in a row now, there’s certainly a reason! They serve a chai tea latte that’s the perfect blend of spicy and sweet. The sun comes in the windows just right and there are outlets at every table, making it a great spot for friends to catch up or to cram for a test. The coffee is also to die for, and it comes straight from growers at Hacienda La Minita in Costa Rica’s Terrazu River Valley. ¡Qué delicioso!

 

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La Di Da: This store not only sells clothing and shoes, but also one-of-a-kind jewelry pieces. Owner Diana Roblyer said the store was having a ton of foot traffic on Small Business Saturday. “Some people aren’t offering sales, which is a hard decision,” she said. “But I chose to have a sale as a way of thanking our customers.”

 

 

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Recycled Books Record CDs: Located in a former Opera House, this bookstore has anything you’re looking for- and more. With hundreds of genres to choose from, and a spot just for kids, it’s easy to get lost in their expansion of books. You can sell or donate your books anytime and the store is always growing with new titles. Oh- the best part is there’s a “rare book room”- that’s right, a room filled with rare books ranging from fine press books to signed and limited edition modern literature.

 

My #smallbizsaturday shopping was a success! I walked away with a tummy full of frozen yogurt and chai tea, a Coelho book and an old collector’s vinyl. Small Business Saturday highlights the importance of shopping locally to keep small businesses thriving—something to keep in mind as we buy year-round. And with a shopping success like today, I’m sure I’ll be back on the Square in no time.  

 

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