Saturday, November 30, is the annual "Small Business Saturday" nationwide shopping event conceived three years ago by American Express to help small businesses generate sales.
Sandwiched between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the promotional event, which began as an effort to bring some of the millions of dollars spent on the busiest shopping weekend of the year to small businesses, has steadily grown since its inception in 2010.
Held on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, the event generated an estimated $5.5 billion in revenue for small businesses in 2012, with some participating businesses reporting up to an 80 percent increase in sales from the previous year’s sales, according to data compiled by American Express and posted on their website.
Locally in the Northshore area, we have plenty of options to help support small businesses and nonprofits. Here are some ideas to consider when thinking about what to buy for that special person on your holiday gift-giving list:
Did someone say food?
Who doesn’t love the gift of not having to cook a meal? Gift certificates to a local restaurant are an easy gift to give, whether it’s to a great spot for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Luckily for Northshore residents, there is a wide variety of cuisines to choose from and levels of extravagance depending on tastes and budget. There are terrific Chinese, Thai, Mexican, Cuban, French and Italian restaurants in our area. There are also eclectic restaurants that offer unique dining experiences for the foodies on your gift list.
And, if you want to give the entire holiday meal as your gift, consider Woodinville’s Gobble, where the turkey, the side dishes, and dessert can all be ordered for the big feast.
By giving gift certificates to one of your favorite dining establishments, you’re helping ensure it remains a fixture in the local community.
Does that special someone on your list love live theatre or attending concerts? We are fortunate to have a couple of venues located within the Northshore area that provide quality entertainment.
For plays, consider buying season tickets to the Woodinville Repertory Theatre’s 2014 season. For just $60, a season ticket is for all four productions scheduled next year, beginning with "Shirley Valentine" in January. Season tickets are for sale online at www.woodinvillerep.org.
The Northshore Performing Arts Center Foundation has several upcoming performances that appeal to a wide variety of people, from The Nutcracker ballet in December, Grammy Award winning duo Tingstad & Rumbel with David Lanz in January, the Mud Bay Jugglers with The Tune Stranglers in February, Dancing with Your Stars, featuring local celebrities (including BHS football coach Tom Bainter!) in a hometown version of "Dancing with the Stars" in March, and finishing with Mark Twain on Stage in April. Tickets are available on the Foundation’s website, by phone or at their office in Country Village. For more information, visit their website: www.npacf.org or call (425) 984-2471.
Gifts that serve a purpose
Some people on your gift-giving list are either hard to shop for or just don’t want anything. You can turn this challenge into a win-win when you support a local nonprofit that appeals to that person’s interests.
For the animal lover on your list, Homeward Pet Adoption Center is one nonprofit that offers a couple of options: You can make a donation or purchase their 2014 calendar at their center, located at 13132 NE 177th Place in Woodinville, or on their website: www.homewardpet.org.
You can also purchase a locally produced music CD that benefits Homeward Pet. Local musician Neil Sturgeon, who recently released Bleu Sturgeon’s second album, Monica, will donate a portion of the sale proceeds to Homeward Pet Adoption Center. Sturgeon recorded most of the album in Woodinville, and wrote, produced and performed the entire album solo, with the special exception of drums performed by Heart’s drummer for the past 19 years, Ben Smith. "It is a full band sound, but only one musician," Sturgeon wrote by email.
Monica is the perfect gift for rock music lovers who appreciate the guitar tones of the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s, and provides a mix of love songs and powerful rock songs. The harmonica plays a major role in most songs. The CD is available for purchase online through iTunes or Amazon MP3. Buyers who bring in their receipt to Homeward Pet Adoption Center will also receive a hard copy of the CD.
Little Bit Therapeutic Riding Center is another local option to make a donation for those who love horses and children with special needs. They also offer merchandise for sale with their logo. Visit www.littlebit.org for more information.
Want to support a nonprofit that rescues horses and a small business at the same time? Hope for Horses, based in Woodinville, is a nonprofit focused on helping abused, neglected and abandoned horses. You can support them by making a donation toward the purchase of Timothy hay at Snohomish’s Dayville Hay & Grain, alfalfa at Woodinville’s DeYoung’s Farm & Garden, or equine senior grain at Bothell Feed Center. Each store has an account for Hope for Horses. Ask for your donation to go toward the Hope for Horses account.
That perfect gift
There are many unique small businesses in the Northshore area to find that perfect gift for someone. The best part is getting out and exploring these cool shops while shopping.
Atop in the WOW factor in Woodinville during the holidays is Molbak’s.
If you need to get into the holiday shopping spirit, this community jewel is a must. Whether it’s for a special poinsettia, tree or wreath, ornaments or decorations, or the Danish Kringle, (a Molbak’s holiday tradition and a personal favorite, too!), there’s something for practically everyone on your list.
Throughout the holidays they also have several special events on tap which are listed on their website: www.molbaks.com.
For the adults on your list, don’t forget the many quality small wineries to choose from to find a special bottle or two of wine as a gift.
For those who don’t prefer wine, consider the craft distilleries or breweries in the area as a gift idea. Warning: the only reason why these potential gifts could collect dust is if the recipient chooses to let that special bottle age a bit more before consuming!
Probably the best place to visit several small businesses all in one setting in the Northshore area is Country Village in Bothell.
Not only do they have over 40 shops and restaurants to visit, they will also be hosting the Chick N’ Coop Crafts Holiday Bazaar in the Courtyard Hall on November 29 and 30 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
While by no means is this a complete list of small businesses or nonprofits to choose to support on Small Business Saturday, hopefully it will encourage you to visit, support and shop at one of your favorite small businesses on November 30 and during this holiday season.