Small Business Saturdays

Listening to the radio this week tuned me into a new “shopping holiday” being promoted this year. Conceived by American Express, Small Business Saturdays will be having its second go around on November 26th across the states. (That’s last year’s image above)

This is a fantastic idea!

I’m no huge fan of American Express, one of the down-and-dirtiest credit companies in terms of fees, customer support and terms of service, but I think they’re doing the right thing here.

Why don’t we see more of this?

There is so much focus, politically, in journalism, in the news media on big companies, huge, leviathan organizations operating on an international scale, that often the small, local businesses get overlooked, particularly these days. And that’s not right. Running a small, locally oriented business takes guts. It takes skill. It takes belief and money and time and more hard work than you can imagine.

And almost no one cares.

It’s amazing that big business is finally getting some of the criticism it deserves, but I worry that smaller business owners get caught up with the herd, or overlooked entirely. That’s the issue that Small Business Saturday (by function if not by intent) is trying to address.

So, on November 26th spend some time and some money with small, local, independent retailers. If you celebrate a winter holiday by exchanging gifts may I please offer you the following suggestions? The following are Montreal independent merchants who have, in the past, knocked my socks off with awesome:

briimstone chocolatesBriimstone Chocolates: The woman who runs this store is a delight and the chocolate is amazing. She   makes her own marshmallows. ‘Nuff said.

Argo Bookshop: Small, selective, cozy, store cat. I love this bookshop for the catered, old-book feeling. The place really is small, so the owners have made sure that ever book is a friend.

Boutique Fly: The proprietor of this shop has excellent taste and is a master of sales. After three minutes of conversation, she’ll hand you a pile of garments to try that fit perfectly and make you look ten times cooler than you thought you could.

Friperie St-Laurent: Old Luggage, cool hats, cowboy boots, Bakelite and tons of vintage clothes make Friperie St-Laurent one of my go-to places when it’s time to go shopping. There are actually several killer Friperies on the same block, so it’s always worth a trip.

La Jolie Boutique: I think we all have a soft spot in our hearts for Toystores, and La Jolie Boutique is one of the best. The staff really curates the products they sell, and the service as always fantastic.

These are five of my favourites, but the list needs more. Which are your absolute favourite local retailers? Let us know in the comments. Please provide a link so that we can all visit them online!

PS. Please don’t use a credit card! Especially not Amex!

Megan Dougherty is a Montreal blogger and marketer trying to carve out the smallest bit of respect for new writers, freelancers, interns and the otherwise entry-level over at She likes fall vegetables, skirts that reach her knees and chubby felines.

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