Forget Black Friday, ‘shop small’ on Saturday
It is already almost Thanksgiving, and for many, that means stuffing their faces while spending time with friends and family. Others are preparing for the rush of Black Friday. For large retail companies, (except REI, which is “opting outside” and closing their doors on Black Friday), this consumer holiday is probably the biggest day of the year for sales. But what about mom-and-pop shops? The small businesses in our community that gives our area life and vibrancy?
Well, this Saturday is all about them. Various small businesses in Winston-Salem will be celebrating Small Business Saturday with the Small Biz Crawl hosted by Jasper & Fern, One Crafty Miss, Southern Comfort Boutique and Fearless from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. in the West End district of the city. The Small Biz Crawl is not all about shopping; it is a day of community, product demos and prizes. Beginning and ending at either Jasper & Fern (located at 469 W. End Blvd.) or Fearless (located at 1002 Brookstown Ave.), these two brick-and-mortars will house 18 vendors offering gifts, artisan products and service experiences to sample or purchase. Along the route from Fearless to Jasper & Fern, there are several brick-and-mortar businesses that will also be participating.
Participating vendors and brick-and-mortars include Annabelle Beet Designs, @BowBow by Kyle, Camel City Hemp, Collage, Colony Urban Farm Store, Fearless Winston Salem, Honey & Woodbine, Janet M. Holmes Artist, Jasper & Fern, JZumps Creations, Knitting Knurse, Lucky Duckling Baby, Mossy Rock Massage , ReLove It Clothing, Sass & Ink, Sassafras Family Farm, Scented Balance, Southern Comfort Boutique, The Geek In Heels, LLC, The Humble Bee Shoppe, The Tap West End, North State Tattoo and West End Coffeehouse.
At the end of the crawl, shoppers who have completed a percentage of stops can turn their maps in at their final destination and be entered into a drawing to win “a fantastic prize basket filled with items from our local businesses.”
Danielle Hoover, the owner of Southern Comfort Boutique (shopsoutherncomfort.com), came up with the idea for small businesses in the area to get together for Small Business Saturday. Hoover wrote in an email that Southern Comfort Boutique is tucked at the foothills of North Carolina just West of Lewisville and is quickly outgrowing the space.
“We offer everything from women’s clothing and accessories, jewelry and gift items,” she wrote. “We like to marry the best of trendy fashions with the soul of country living, so much of what we carry has a Western/boho twist to it.”
Hoover began looking for a pop-up space to sell her merchandise for Small Business Saturday.
“Being online only it’s difficult to get your name recognized and to gain trust from shoppers,” Hoover said of her business. “After speaking with Jen about renting Fearless, I mentioned that it would be fun if we had other small businesses pop up as well to share the space. We pulled in Taryn [Jerez] and Alyson [Rorem] to brainstorm the idea and it just evolved from there.”
Hoover wrote that shopping small is important to Winston-Salem because small businesses are the “paramount of growth” in communities.
“Small business owners bring back the more personalized shopping experience that big box stores just cannot provide,” she wrote. “That personal experience often leads to personal relationships where the customer feels more like family. Personalized experiences bring return customers. Every purchase made is directly putting money back into the community helping fund growth, innovation and development. Small businesses can boost the local economy by creating hotspots that draw in tourism to Winston-Salem.”
Alyson Rorem is the owner of Jasper & Fern and said that attendees could expect a massage demo from Mossy Rock Massage as well as aromatherapy by Scented Balance as some of the vendors that will be present at Jasper & Fern. Rorem said that the West End can get forgotten sometimes, so she hopes the exposure from the crawl will boost awareness of the small businesses in the area.
“Downtown and the arts district, they have their things, like the gallery hop, which is great,” she said. “There is a lot to offer, so we wanted to highlight the brick-and-mortars in the area as well as let table vendors, people who don’t always have the opportunity, [get exposure].”
Rorem said The Small Biz Crawl is giving away 50 free bags for the first 50 people who show up (25 at Fearless and 25 at Jasper & Fern) with “goodies” from local businesses. She said there would be 100 goodie bags (priced between $10-$15) for sale as well.
“We are going to have shopping bags with goodies from not just the people involved in the Small Biz Crawl, but businesses from all around the community in Winston-Salem,” she said. “We didn’t want to eliminate the rest of Winston-Salem because even though we all have our separate parts, we are in this together.”
Jen Brown, the owner of Fearless, wrote in an email that collaboration and connection is the best way to make something larger.
“So I, of course, reached out to other female entrepreneurs I know (Jasper & Fern and One Crafty Miss – Alyson and Taryn) to make it a bigger event!”
Brown wrote that she, along with the other participants, are excited to work together and create “a community that’s tapped in.” She wrote that initiatives such as the crawl are good ways to educate the community on how to support small businesses.
“I think working together with other businesses is also what is so necessary in this community,” she wrote. “In order to grow and to continue to grow, we have to work together, which isn’t something we always immediately think of – we spend a lot of time siloed and trying to figure out the ‘what next’ – and sometimes you have to get out of the trees to see the forest of the what next.”
Brown wrote that she wants this event to be two-fold; in that, it teaches people how to shop small and teaches local business owners to work together instead of competing against each other.
At Fearless, Brown wrote, there will be “vendors, coffee, cider and community love.” She is also encouraging attendees to talk with one another and network to make lasting connections.
“When you support small business – you’re supporting the person next to you in the line for coffee, or the person that got her haircut right before you,” she wrote. “You’re helping a family pay their bills. You’re helping the person next door! Shop small and support local people – it’s not just a cute saying, it’s a huge difference.”
Katie Murawski is the editor of YES! Weekly. She is from Mooresville, North Carolina and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in journalism with a minor in film studies from Appalachian State University in 2017.