Manifest Boston Stories

5 Ways to Shop Small in Boston on Small Business Saturday

Written by Lindsay Gearheart | Nov 25, 2019 3:36:34 PM

With the biggest shopping weekend of the year coming up in just a few days, it's time to make your plans for the holiday gifting frenzy. While Black Friday deals at major national retailers are always tempting, think about investing in your community on Small Business Saturday, November 30.

Small businesses are central to the cultural fabric of our neighborhoods. Did you know that for every dollar spent at a small business in the U.S., approximately 67 cents stays in the local community?1 Whether you grab a latte at your local café, eat lunch at the sandwich shop on the corner, or score a new necklace from a local boutique, you can make a contribution. 

Last year, total reported spending among U.S. consumers who said they shopped at independent retailers and restaurants on Small Business Saturday reached a record high of $17.8 billion.2 With your participation, another record-breaking year could be in the making!

We recommend shopping small in these corners of the greater Boston area:

Bow Market

If you attended HubWeek Open Doors: Union Square, presented by BNY Mellon, back in June, you're already familiar with this entrepreneurial hub. Somerville's Bow Market is a unique shopping and dining experience with over 30 independent food, art, and retail shops in the heart of Union Square. Starting at 9:00 a.m. on Small Business Saturday, more than 50 local makers, including a team of local Etsy artists, will be selling locally-made products, art, home decor and gifts.

Our gift suggestion: A plant you can't kill, the Crochet Cactus from Homeslice for $25. 

Small but Mighty Seaport Shops

Show some love to the local shops and restaurants that occupy the Seaport, from a retail space hosting digital-first local brands (For Now) to a bakery with all-natural treats for only the goodest boys (Polkadog Bakery). You can also choose from the ever-evolving lineup of brands at pop-up host The Current

Our gift suggestion: Visit the Beanie Bar at Sh*t That I Knit, where you can purchase monogrammed knitwear handmade in Peru and take advantage of custom gift-wrapping.

Boston Public Market

Start shopping small even before Small Business Saturday at the Boston Public Market. Starting Friday, November 29, the BPM hosts its third annual Cr[EAT]or Market, welcoming 25 local pop-up artisans offering specialty foods, jewelry, artwork, photography, and home goods alongside 30+ permanent BPM vendors. Cr[EAT]or Market will take place Friday – Sunday for four consecutive weekends, with artisans spread throughout the Market floor. Ready to grab your tree and start decorating? Stillman’s Farm will also be selling a variety of locally-grown Christmas trees on the BPM plaza.

Our gift suggestion: Help your friends and family keep produce fresh and crisp with B-Organic's organic cotton produce bags, starting at $6. 


From 11:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. on November 30, SoWa welcomes shoppers to discover and support the independently owned boutiques, design showrooms, galleries, and artists studios of Boston’s vibrant Art + Design District. Over 200 independently-owned businesses and local artists make up the SoWa community. You can even start your day with a special Prix Fixe brunch at Cinquecento (menu here). 

Our gift suggestion: Purchase a class at specialized crafting store Bead + Fiber. Offered at every skill level, these in-house lessons are individually priced. Plus, on November 30, enjoy 15% off the entire store, including all trunk shows! 

Roslindale Village

Head to Roslindale for some local shopping illuminated by the 35th Annual Holiday Tree Lighting in Adams Park on November 30 from 3:00 - 5:00 p.m. Not only will there be live music, hot cocoa, and ornament-making, the day kicks off with a "Reindog" pet costume contest, judged by The Pet Cabaret.

Our gift suggestion: Search through vintage clothing, furniture, household goods, books, jewelry and artwork at the Thrift Shop of Boston to benefit some of the state’s most vulnerable children and families. Take advantage of 50% off jewelry and accessories on Small Business Saturday.

1 Estimate from data on businesses with under 100 employees, as reported in Amex-commissioned 2018 Small Business Economic Impact Study,