A few years ago, someone came up with the novel idea of promoting Small Business Saturday, which is the Saturday after Thanksgiving. The idea was to encourage people to do their Christmas shopping in their hometowns instead of going online or driving an hour this way or that to the big city, which offers, of course, a much larger variety of shopping options. I thought that Small Business Saturday was a good idea, because, of course, the more we shop elsewhere, the fewer gift options we have here in our mid-sized town. 

So I became a Small Business Saturday fan and supporter and found that with a little creativity and thought, Christmas becomes less stressful. After all, you don’t have to plan for a day in the busy season to have to drive 60 minutes (or more) toward the west or 60 minutes toward the east to find appropriate gifts for those on the Christmas list. You can find perfectly fine gifts right here in town.

My first stop is always the bookstore, and not just because I am an avid reader. Taking a few extra minutes to nose around all the shelves can lead an intrepid and focused shopper to all kinds of surprises – children’s games and toys, candles, quirky stocking stuffers, and, of course, books. The best thing is that if a book someone wants is not there, the helpful and cheerful staff will order it. That means you have supported the bookstore here in Sedalia – and you are able to get exactly what you want in plenty of time for Christmas!

Then, I go to the hardware store. I know that sounds weird, but hardware stores are fun.  Westlake, for example, has all the “stuff” you might need to improve or fix your home, but just like the bookstore, walking through ALL the aisles turns up things you would never expect. The south wall toward the front of the store, for instance, holds all kinds of kitchen gadgets and things you would never know you need – but you do. And now that the store contains Hallmark items, such as Christmas wrap, cards, candles, and all kinds of perfect things to put under the tree, you could probably walk out with most of your list checked off.

I also make a trip to Sisters & Co., because, appropriately enough, my sister likes the merchandise it carries, whether that be a piece of clothing or jewelry, or a little something to brighten a dreary day. I usually walk out of there with something for Vida, too, and maybe even for me – when I wasn’t expecting it at all.

This year, I am excited about the artists’ co-op sale and cocktail hour on Small Business Saturday. Local artists are banding together to sell their creations – some big, some small – at 522 W. Seventh St. The way I understand it, starting at 4:30, the artists will host a cocktail hour and music for the enjoyment of their patrons who come to shop for affordable unique pieces of art. 

Because of the article in the Democrat, I know that Josh Rhoads and Sarah Keating are two of the participating artists, and I am looking forward to seeing what they have to offer, and to supporting artists whose life calling is to create. Of course, I have a special feeling about artists because my daughter is one, and I know the joy she shares through her work, some of which can be found on our living room wall. 

We can’t forget that over the past few years, our ability to shop at home has been enhanced by the addition of national stores, such as T.J.Maxx and Kohl’s, both of which give us much to choose from, and we have long been the home of “big box stores,” such as Walmart, Lowe’s, and Menard’s. But I really like the idea of supporting those in the community who have been brave enough to start a small business in this era of getting everything online and tomorrow. So on Saturday, do your best to get out and see what’s available in town. I think you’ll be surprised – and happy.


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