In the wake of the conglomofuck that is Black Friday, a lesser known but -- in my opinion -- far more important day emerges. Today is that day, better known as Small Business Saturday.
Almost exactly four years ago, my life was drastically changed (I could even argue "saved") by the small business that I currently call work, home and family. We are a tiny knot of wackos in the great twine that is local and national economy. Our large and yet strangely cramped Victorian house in its downtown location supports 40+ years worth of the business's history, as well as more nutrition-y crap that you could swing a grass-fed burger at. The people I seldom refer to as "coworkers" and more often "those weirdos that I hang out with all the time and no Laura is not my sister" comprise some of the most intelligent, passionate and caring people I could ever have hoped to call my own.
Until my indoctrination at the health food store, I had little concept of the importance of small business. But in case you didn't know, it really is that important. Small business drives local economy, creates jobs and overall is the backbone of our country. We are the singular stores, the ones run by its founders and those that you visit for the people as much as the product. And no, WAL-MART DOES NOT COUNT.
As much as I love me some Starbucks, I have found more genuine connection and identity in the small businesses that make up my everyday life. Here are a few that get me hot and heavy:
Le Petit Marche (Dawn's Bread) -- Crystal Lake
Ehrmegerd, BREAD. And CAKE. And PIE, WINE, SOUP, WINE, COOKIES, and WINE. Need I say more? Not to mention that I can never just "stop in real quick," because guaranteed Imma get at least three or four hugs on my way out. Ladies, this is your wine night come true.
Moxie -- Dekalb
When I journey to Dekalb, I will never EVER leave without popping in to drool over the vintage goodies oozing out this place's walls. For real, these wonderful people spend a hell of a lot of time looting through estate sales and vintage markets just to make me pee my pants in excitement. Walk through front door. Run to stairs. Don't plan on leaving for several hours.
Duke's Alehouse & Kitchen -- Crystal Lake
Ah, the drunken debauchery that has occurred here. I'm already steeling myself for the 12 beers of Christmas, in which I spend a month working my way through overly large, ridiculously high-proof beers in order to claim my hard-earned Duke's t-shirt. But trust me, this will never occur until AFTER I have eaten my grass-fed giant beefburger made with all local ingredients and vegetables grown ON THEIR OWN FARM. Other Towns of America, don't even try.
The Backdrop -- Woodstock
Despite the fact that Greg likes to gnash on The Mother and my egos, The Backdrop has been a loyal member of our family since day 1 (he just loves us that much). Go. Just walk in. Prepare to spend a lot of money on things you instantly cannot live another second without.
Enjoy your Small Business Saturday, everyone!