For the past 10 years or so, my two sisters, my niece, and my mom and I (and sometimes my aunt and cousin) have had a ritual: on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, we spend the day shopping in one of the many quaint towns that dot the Ohio Valley (they all live in Northern Kentucky and I’m in Cincinnati). I know we’ve each been tempted over the years to suggest just meeting at the mall, but there’s something about walking a Main Street lined with antique shops and funky boutiques that just feels right. Basically, we created our own version of Small Business Saturday, before it was a thing! But it is a thing now, and I think it’s awesome. Like all of the localism movements, it’s just about supporting the people in your community. Malls and chain stores provide jobs and help the local economy too, so I’m not saying they’re bad or anything. But shopping at independently-owned stores, with their vintage charm and enticing shop windows, is a pretty perfect way to kick off the holiday season (it helps to be with funny ladies you really love, too, and to have a mother who says lots of silly things and makes everyone giggle). This year, we decided to return to Milford, Ohio, a historic downtown district just a few miles from where I live. I’m not going to pretend that I looked up any history of Milford, but I know it’s really old. And I don’t need to read the history to see that it’s cute as a button, and full of some lovely shops. Our first stop was the Mercantile Mall, where I found some vintage ornaments and handkerchiefs (I always have my eye out for hankies), and a very cool reproduction of a 1931 McCall’s cover, framed and made into a clock (I can’t believe that I forgot to take a picture). My sister, Nancy, was on the fence about buying a necklace. But I reminded her that it was Small Business Saturday. “Well, my husband is a small business owner . . .” she said. And I reminded her that I was small business owner, too. So actually, if she didn’t buy the necklace, it was basically slapping us in the face (how’s that for spin?) She bought it though, and it looks great! After a delicious lunch at Padrino (I had the Cortez pizza: goat cheese, red onions, bacon, pesto, and spinach—amazing!), we browsed the Main Street shops some more. I found feedsacks at Gayle’s Vintage, looked at the holiday decorations (like those candy canes above) at Primitive Gatherings, and picked up a few things at That Shop In Milford (including a vintage Richard Scarry Christmas book). I really wanted this book of Vogue magazine covers from 1900 - 1940, but I couldn't talk myself into the $40 (although I'm still thinking about it, and wondering how I can orchestrate things with my husband to make that book wind up under the Christmas tree . . .)
Feedsacks at Gayle's Vintage.
I feel that I am going to start compulsively buying owls very soon.
My mom, browsing at Primitive Gatherings.
It was a great afternoon (it always is). American Express calls it Small Business Saturday; I call it quality time with my people, which just happens to boost the local economy. Good deal all around.