The Art Inventory

Shop Small In Fremont

by Kirby Lindsay Laney,
originally posted 23 November 2012

 Saturday, Nov 25th, 2017 is Small Business Day.  To celebrate this, wants to remind you of why shopping small (and local) is such a good idea – especially at the Center of the Universe.  (And yes, we are biased…)  Please consider this column from 2012.


In November ’12, the property owners, Gibraltar, spruced up their storefronts to help these small businesses greet shoppers during the holiday season. Photo by K. Lindsay

The day after Thanksgiving Day is called Black Friday, for the rampant consumerism that launches the holiday shopping season.

However, most merchants who see the flood of customers come in their doors are the big, corporate, national companies, or stores based in the commercial malls.

The day after Black Friday is Small Business Saturday, in an attempt to lure those same shoppers on an adventure to see the amazing selection of creative and/or conscientious gifts that can be found in community-based stores.

Particularly in Fremont.

Black Friday Bust

Fremont offers a wide variety for shoppers, strollers and sightseers – vintage shopping, delicious desserts and/or tasty Thai food. Photo by K. Lindsay, Aug ’12

For small businesses located in neighborhood shopping districts, like here at the Center of the Universe, Black Friday can be one of the most boring work days of the year.  The streets are often empty of shoppers, who wore themselves out seeking great deals from huge mega-marts.  Non-shoppers often stay home as well, hiding from the hysteria.

The Small Business Saturday model offers an innovative idea – a chance for everyone to experience the other, more personal side of retail, after a rest from the midnight mall openings.

Small business shopping has a lot to recommend it.  Smaller shops and restaurants hire local people that often know the product, and the customers, better than employees that punch a clock at a corporate brand.

Local, small businesses – like Frame Up Studios – can be more responsive to local events and issues, like with this display of Fremont Fair memorabilia in May ’11 Photo by K. Lindsay

Small businesses are the largest employer nationally – and provide the most jobs locally. \Everywhere, but most especially in Fremont’s retail shops, small business offer one-of-a-kind products created for specific, local interests, that show innovation and creativity.  A local, small business can take a risk on a small idea that can grow huge, if it gets the support of shoppers willing to look around rather than follow the pack.

According to Sustainable Seattle, for every $1 spent at a local business, $.45 is reinvested locally – for every $1 spent at a national chain story, only $.15 returns to our community.  A similar study, posted by the Seattle Good Business Network, shows that of $100 spent locally, $73 remains in our community as compared with $100 spent at a non-local business that leaves $43 locally and takes away $57.

Support micro-businesses by shopping at the year-round Fremont Sunday Market. Photo by K. Lindsay, May ’11

Also, the Seattle Network reported that small businesses give 250% more to non-profit organizations than large businesses.  Large companies can write larger checks, and make a bigger splash (as they do with their loss leader sales,) but with a majority of businesses being small, they do, ultimately, give more back.

Support Fremont Favorites

For Fremonsters, retirement (essentially) led to the loss of three long-time small businesses – Deluxe Junk, Gasworks Park Kite Shop and Costas Opa restaurant.  Yet, several other stores and restaurants closed their doors due entirely to a lack of income.

When shoppers fail to show support, storefronts shut down. Cool Whirled closed in fall 2011, but Frank & Dunya endures on-line. Photo by K. Lindsay, May ’11

The marketplace can be survival of the fittest, especially when shoppers disconnect where they spend their money from who they want to see survive.  If you want to see your favorite Fremont shops flourish – shop them!  Go in, see what they have, and buy if you find what you need – if you don’t see what you want, small businesses will often be more responsive to your requests.

Support our retailers, our restaurants and our service providers this holiday season, and demonstrate your values by where you choose to spend your money.  The majority of Fremont’s shops (and eateries, bars and offices) will have the owner standing at the cash register, anxious to help customers find what they need.

Become a part of this new tradition in holiday shopping – shop small this season, and know you’ve put your money to good work!

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©2012 Kirby Lindsay.  This column is protected by intellectual property laws, including U.S. copyright laws.  Reproduction, adaptation or distribution without permission is prohibited.


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