The shopping season’s here. I know it. I’m just not feeling it yet. Black Friday didn’t thrill me. Cyber Monday left me uninspired. But in between the two, I did muster up some shopping mojo for Small Business Saturday, “a day to come together in support of the small businesses we love.” It sounds like such a homegrown idea that I was surprised to find that it’s sponsored and promoted by American Express. I don’t have an AmEx card, so I wasn’t able to take advantage of their $25 statement credit for shopping locally, but I wasn’t going to let that stop me. My goal on Saturday was twofold: shop local, and find some small businesses I’ve never visited before.
I started the day at the annual Holiday Market at the Fort Collins Senior Center. I know, it’s not a business per se. But the post-Thanksgiving Holiday Market has been drawing crowds for years, and I’ve always been curious. For a mere $1 admission, I was able to browse tables displaying the wares of dozens of crafters and artisans. The selection was diverse, from quilts to funky purses to toys to elegant jewelry. It’s the kind of sale that draws you in, and only when your stomach starts growling do you realize that you’ve been there for hours. Too bad I didn’t have hours to spend. Maybe next year.
I’m not sure how I’ve missed The Metal Forest (#1 Old Town Square, Suite 107, along E. Mountain Avenue), but I’m very glad I dropped by. Not only is this a local business, but owners Mike and Nina Stanton also design and manufacture the products they sell, including ornaments, light fixtures, napkin holders, and other beautiful and functional items for the home. The Stantons are friendly people who take pride in their work, as they should. I was glad I had the chance to chat with them.
Link Lane is off the beaten path, but I’ll give you four very good reasons to make it a destination: Butter. Sugar. Almonds. Chocolate. I’ve had Vern's Toffee for years (they’ve been making it since 1976) but this was my first visit to their candy kitchen. It was fairly quiet on Saturday, as all the toffee-making elves had been given the Thanksgiving weekend off. I was sorry I couldn’t see the “old-fashioned copper kettles” in action, but the world map with pins marking the many mail-order destinations was pretty impressive. This year, Vern’s has added a dark-chocolate version of their toffee, so of course I had to buy some.
Around the corner from Vern’s, I discovered Simply Beautiful (426 Link Lane), a consignment store specializing in quality home furnishings. I had fun browsing through the cluster of rooms filled with an eclectic selection of pre-owned items, from furniture to small accent pieces. With a wide variety of prices and styles, Simply Beautiful has something for everyone. Owner Edie Barton couldn’t be nicer, and buying resale is such a great way to shop ‘green.’
I found some places I’ve never shopped before, and they’re all places I’ll visit again. Small Business Saturday: Mission Accomplished.