I love shopping. Now I prefer to shop in name brand stores and national franchises, but for my The Gonzaga Bulletin article this week, my editor-in-chief Amy Busek challenged me to check out the quirky, surprisingly cool things Spokane local businesses have to offer for the holidays. I'm really glad Amy pushed me to do this, because I discovered some pretty awesome things. Read the article here, or below.
Small business Spokane shopping
Originally published in The Gonzaga Bulletin
In an effort to combat the capitalism of Black Friday, business owners across the nation declared the next day Small Business Saturday just four years ago.
Now it’s become trendier than ever for people to support their local business by buying novelties and handcrafted goods these stores offer.
Now you could go the safe route this holiday and buy your family gift cards from Safeway, but that’s about as thoughtful as forgetting to take the trash out of your dorm room before you leave for Christmas break.
Or, you could be the coolest person in your family by giving them the quirkiest local gifts ever.
Let me help you all out with this scary shopping journey. After all, they don’t call this lovely place “Spokanistan” for nothing.
Start at the mall, the good mall that is: River Park Square. The bright branded lights should make you feel at home, but don’t pay attention to that, you’re on a mission.
Check out the adorable To Market, a holiday-themed kiosk that features handcrafted Spokane products like sweet-smelling soap, jewelry and anything you would expect to see at a farmers market. Only in this setting it’s winter and you’re not crowded by sweaty people. Well, that’s a variable depending on how avid the shoppers are around you.
At To Market, I recommend buying an infinity scarf by Lexi Lou Jewels for the woman in your life. The scarves are offered in quite a variety of colors and they have a leather cuff on them, making them completely unique and fashion-forward.
If you, or the people you’re buying for, are a sucker for puns (I know I am), take a look at the Sew Happy Sew Sweet collection of aprons. These aren’t your typical aprons, they’re kooky and have four pockets for all your cooking needs. One of them even had a bunch of chickens and eggs on it; I don’t know what that’s about, but I almost bought it. I wonder what the original creator sewed on first, the chickens or the eggs?
Once you’ve scoured To Market, walk a couple blocks over to Atticus Coffee and Gifts. You’ll probably run into a few Zags getting their study on this weekend, but don’t say hi, especially if you happen to be looking for a present for them. Atticus has a ton of beautiful books and coffee mugs to please the bookworm in your family.
Since Atticus has amazing coffee, you might as well get a pound of beans for the coffee critic on your list.
Take about 10 to 20 steps farther down the street to Boo Radley’s, the quirkiest of stores in the area. You’ve been working up to this, so you won’t be shell-shocked when you see some of the stuff in there.
Boo Radley’s has novelties from Santa mankinis, creepy wall art, comical picture books and drinkware that will look perfect holding your bestie’s booze.
My personal favorite items from this store were the highball glasses that had “Spokanistan” and “Spokompton” written on them. It’s a great way to embrace the weird this city has.
Other small businesses with great gifts include Artemis, Tangerine, Anemone, Lolo and Roost. If you run out of time to shop before you leave, I’m sure the airport has some overpriced candy that you can give to people. That or the free peanuts.