Every year there's a mad dash to scoop up the deeply discounted deals at chain stores on Black Friday. The frenzy has even started to gobble up Thanksgiving Day as many stores that open their doors just as most families are sitting down to dinner. Don't get us wrong, there's a unique thrill in Black Friday sales, and attempting to capitalize on that surge in consumer excitement, stores have decided to launch a dizzying array of pre-Black Friday sales as well as post-Black Friday sales that go beyond Cyber Monday, the traditional capstone to the first official holiday shopping weekend.
Nestled in between is the American Express-created, government-backed Small Business Saturday, an event organized to highlight and promote local small businesses. Some North Jersey towns have even created large-scale events surrounding the day. From 10am to 2pm, Morristown is holding a Scavenger Hunt starting at b.Jones Organic Spa, featuring a passport that gets stamped by every small business you visit. Take your fully-stamped passport back for a free swag bag. Montclair knows the way to every shopper's heart is through their stomach, with most of the businesses offering treats like cocoa, cider, even wine and cheese, in addition to specials and discounts on their products and services. Ridgewood is hosting an Instagram drawing, asking shoppers to take selfies outside of their favorite stores and tagging the photo with #shopsmallridgewood for a chance to win $50 gift cards to four Ridgewood shops. From 11am to 3pm at 408 Springfield Avenue, Summit is hosting a "pick a card and win a prize" event where yes, everyone wins something! Walk away with "snowflake dollars" to spend at downtown area shops, gift certificates, tote bags, and more.
So, are you looking for that one of a kind gift and want to give back to your community at the same time? Forget the big box retailers and consider doing some of your shopping at local, mom-and-pop operations this Saturday, November 26. The list of participating businesses in the Northern New Jersey region is extensive, but find some highlights below for your shopping consideration.
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For the Fashionista...
While department stores are offering great door buster deals for Black Friday, West Village Clothing Company in Maplewood is doing shoppers one better. The already affordable prices for its stylish, brand name consignment clothing and accessories will be slashed by another 20%! The few exceptions to the additional 20% off storewide discount will be on jewelry and designer items kept in a glass case at the front of the store. Scout out some brand new J. Crew boots or a cute gently used Betsey Johnson crossbody bag to add a touch of rocker-chic to any outfit. Don't pass up the opportunity to pay a fraction of the price and support a homegrown Maplewood business. West Village Clothing Company is located on Ridgewood Row, nestled between two other consignment stores that are also participating in Small Business Saturday, so make it a tour. Grab sustenance for your day of shopping at Cedar Ridge Cafe (we recommend the cafe's signature "Sconewich") followed up by a delectable gelato or sorbet at Lickt, two more small businesses on Ridgewood Row. 410 Ridgewood Road, Maplewood; 973-762-1700; Open 10am to 5pm on SBS
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For the Bookworm...
Aren't you mourning over the slow disappearance of brick and mortar bookstores? There's something magical about stepping into an independently-owned book shop, with its selection of new and used books curated by the affable and well-versed owner himself. Here's the Story... in Union is just that type of store. The shop has been a fixture in the town center for over two decades, and will lead the way once again this year in observing Small Business Saturday. Promotions will be in full swing. You'll be transported right into the holiday spirit with the festive decorations, too. Stop by on Saturday to find out what wonderful worlds Here's the Story... has in store for you. 1043 Stuyvesant Avenue, Union; 908-688-2665; Open 10:30am to 5:30pm on SBS
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For the Chocoholic...
At a loss for what to give this holiday season? You can rarely go wrong with chocolate. And what's better than chocolate? Customized, homemade chocolate! Wayne's own Laurie's Homemade Candies is the kind of place that evokes childhood memories of baking brownies and eating cupcakes at school on your birthday... if those brownies and cupcakes were gourmet. Not content to rest on its laurels of superior taste, Laurie's is full of wall to wall colorful creations. It can be difficult not to want to buy out the store, but try the seasonal Happy Apple confection in the shape of a turkey, appropriately named the Gobble Apple. You'll also find gift baskets, bulk candy, and a plethora of individual candies to satisfy your sweet tooth while perusing this local gem. 600 Berdan Avenue, Wayne; 973-696-7255; Open 10am to 6pm on SBS
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For All of Your Gift Wrapping Needs...
So much attention is given to the holiday gifts themselves that we often find ourselves scrambling to find a card at the last minute or frantically running out after realizing that we don't have enough wrapping paper to wrap all the gifts. The Papery has got you covered. This lovely family-owned stationery store has four locations in New Jersey, with stores in Summit, Shrewsbury, Sea Girt, and Princeton. Laura, the owner, described The Papery's involvement in Small Business Saturday: "We will be offering all different specials for the holiday weekend including free holiday card personalization on in-stock cards, 20% off holiday wrap and trim, [and] 20% off Vera Bradley as well as some other lines." The paper products are themselves works of art, making this the one-stop shop for high quality gifts as well. 371 Springfield Avenue, Summit; 908-608-9300; Open 10am to 6pm on SBS
Where are you shopping for holiday gifts this year? Will you support any businesses on Small Business Saturday? Tell us on Facebook and Twitter.