Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

57° Evanston, IL
Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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Evanston businesses talk shopping local on Small Business Saturday

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Beatrice Villaflor/The Daily Northwestern
Local businesses participating in this year’s Small Business Saturday included Booked, Evanston Stitchworks and Ten Thousand Villages.

Between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Small Business Saturday aims to increase economic activity a little closer to home. Small businesses nationwide — including some in Evanston — held sales and promotional giveaways to encourage shopping local this holiday season. 

Evanston resident Abby Dan (Weinberg ‘05), co-owner of Booked, a store that specializes in children’s literature, said Small Business Saturday is the most important day of the year for her business –– besides Independent Bookstore Day. This is Dan’s first Small Business Saturday. 

“It has been great — the community has really come out and supported us,” she said. “Main-Dempster Mile did an incredible job of getting people down here from downtown Evanston.”

Various businesses in downtown Evanston, the Main-Dempster Mile and Central Street participated in the festivities. Started in 2010, the event intends to boost small businesses’ sales. 

Dan said Booked had both first time visitors and regulars participate in gift giveaways where they received stickers, pens and tote bags.

Chicago resident Eli Malthouse said the uniqueness of local stores’ inventory sets them apart from big-box retailers. For example, Evanston Stitchworks  — where Malthouse is a part-time employee — stocks yarn locally dyed in Skokie and Rogers Park.

“We curate a lot of independent fabric and yarn designers, and we also carry a lot of locally dyed yarn,” he said. “By shopping here, you kind of also get to support different fiber artists from around the Chicagoland area.”

The store, located at 906 Sherman Ave., also offers classes in fiber arts like crocheting, sewing and embroidery. 

Malthouse said these workshops function as “a community space for people to come together and create textile arts,” especially since several fabric stores have closed in recent years.

While many stores saw high engagement from the community on Small Business Saturday, Co-Manager of Ten Thousand Villages Cheryl Nester-Detweiler emphasized the importance of consistent support year-round.

“While we’ve been in Evanston for over 25 years, (COVID-19) has been challenging to us,” she said. “So we always appreciate people making the extra moment to come here and not to shop Amazon.”

Ten Thousand Villages is a fair trade store located at 915 Chicago Ave. that partners with artisans worldwide to sell sustainably-sourced and handcrafted products. Wares are labeled with their country of origin and occasionally the craftsperson’s name, with most pieces being made of recycled or upcycled materials. 

Nester-Detweiler said shopping online or at a bigger retailer means it’s difficult to know where your gifts come from and who your purchases are supporting. 

“Knowing that you’re supporting an artisan and making a difference — to me, that is very different than just buying a gift and you have no idea who makes it,” Nester-Detweiler said.

In order to keep local businesses open, she said, it’s critical to patronize them.

Dan echoed the sentiment.

“It’s use it or lose it. If people aren’t shopping here, then we don’t exist,” Dan said. “Reminding people to shop small helps us keep existing throughout the rest of the year so that we’re here.”

Email: [email protected] 

Twitter: @beatricedvilla

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