Keeping It Local on Small Business Saturday

downtown olympia shopping
Small Business Saturday, slated for the Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend, is a chance to explore downtown Olympia. Pop into stores like Compass Rose.


By Lisa Herrick

descoI adore our small, independent, local shops. I love the unique, artisanal, wholesome products they offer. I appreciate how many of these shop owners and their goods and services contribute to making our community economically vibrant and distinctive. I relish in supporting family owned, local shops.

As I considered how I might spend my time on Small Business Saturday (the Saturday after Thanksgiving), I have decided to stroll through the quaint shops in downtown Olympia or maybe even stop in a store I have never been to before. Along the way, I’ll detour to some other local favorites.  I might even take advantage of special Small Business Saturday offers.  Actually, I might just do it all.

downtown olympia shopping
Small Business Saturday, slated for the Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend, is a chance to explore downtown Olympia. Pop into stores like Compass Rose.

Small Business Saturday is a day dedicated to supporting small businesses nationwide.  The annual tradition, held on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, is sandwiched between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which promote shopping at giant retailers, big box stores, or e-commerce sites instead of patronizing small, local businesses. By contrast, Small Business Saturday encourages shoppers to stay local and small.

Downtown Olympia offers a plethora of local shops from one of a kind items at Compass Rose to the newly expanded Wind Up Here that offers a selection of toys that promote creativity, interaction, cognitive thinking and positive play to Archibald Sisters who offer exclusive fragrances and quirky gift items to Matter! Gallery which is a contemporary fine art gallery featuring artists using recycled and reclaimed materials.

Shopping in downtown Olympia is fun, diverse and rewarding. “I encourage people to shop at the unique downtown businesses to keep dollars local and save on gas money,” says Connie Lorenz, Executive Director of the Olympia Downtown Association. “It is worth coming downtown just to wander by to see the window displays and view the creatively decorated windows. Downtown will be all lit up this season.”

New this year is a “Light Up Downtown for the Holidays” decorating contest sponsored by the Parking Business Improvement Area (PBIA). Brian Wilson, from Olympia’s Community Planning & Development Department shared that decorations will be up during Small Business Saturday.

downtown olympia shopping
Small Business Saturday is also a chance to try a new store. The author shopped at Olympia Honey Baker to pick up some pies.

“Patrons are encouraged to stroll, drive and vote for their favorite decorated business. Voting will take place between December 1-15 and can be done online at One lucky voter will win a gift basket full of gift cards for downtown businesses,” says Wilson.

Small Business Saturday also offers the opportunity to explore beyond the downtown and to make that stop at a place you have been intending.  Since the start of the school year, I have driven by this quaint little bakery that is nestled on State Street between Ralph’s Thriftway and R.L. Ray Violin Shop. I finally stopped the other day to pick up some cookies for my book club as well as some savory treats (chicken sausage and apple handpies) for my kids’ after school snack.

Julie Robinson, owner of Olympia Honey Baker shared her business with me. “We make excellent baked goods, using only local raw honey – NO SUGAR.  I am striving to offer some unique items in Olympia, such as hand pies, pie jars and savory bread puddings, as well as offering gluten-free items.  I bake gluten-free on Thursday mornings,” Robinson describes while noting that she will only be open Thanksgiving weekend for special orders.  I am so glad I stopped in to the Olympia Honey Baker, which is now inspiring me to visit other “new” shops on Small Business Saturday – the kind I frequently drive by and think I should stop there one day.

spuds produce
Dave and Karrisa Jekel opened Spud’s Produce Market, a small neighborhood grocery store, last August.

I am going to visit Spuds Produce Market in the expanding Wildwood Building on Capitol Way that now also houses Olympia Coffee Roasting Company and soon to be opened Vic’s Pizzeria and Lucky Lunchbox Sandwich Shop from owner Nicole Butigan of Swing Wine Bar. I love that Spuds is a small neighborhood grocery and a purveyor of many other local businesses.

There are some iDevices on the wish list this year.  I plan to investigate the best ways to link up my technology from Desco.  I appreciate that the technology super stars are locally owned in West Olympia. It can’t hurt that their annual demo sale will be held both Friday and Saturday with their showroom demo equipment at rock bottom prices.

Some businesses are celebrating Small Business Saturday by offering discounts on their services or specialized products. Jessica Rae Photography is offering a $50 discount when you reserve a session on November 30.  Jessica says, “We all have a story to tell. And it is my pleasure as a photographer to be able to come into my client’s life and capture their story; so for years to come they can share their story in photos.”

Shipwreck Beads will be hosting Winter Artisan Market on Small Business Saturday as a follow up to their successful summer event. The Winter Artisan Market will give shoppers the opportunity to buy handmade gifts for the holiday season.

I encourage you to go for the unique and unexpected in your adventures on Small Business Saturday – and keep it local.


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