Local Business Owners Share What Shopping Small Means to Them

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Shopping small this year is more critical than ever before. In the midst of a global pandemic, small businesses around the world have been directly affected, and continue to struggle amidst bigger companies like Walmart and Amazon. Many beloved businesses were forced to close, many were forced to rethink their overall strategy, and many are still doing their utmost to keep their business thriving.

Shopping small means supporting your neighbors, friends, and your community. It means contributing to someone’s dream, all while enjoying local products and services.

Where you choose to spend your money makes a huge difference, especially when you consciously choose to invest in the small businesses that serve us throughout the year. And yes, you have legitimate people actually doing a happy dance.

Just as last year, we reached out to local Hoboken and Jersey City business owners with one question: What does shopping small mean to you? Here’s what they said:

shopping small hoboken jersey city

Jen Tripucka, Founder of Hoboken Girl.com:

“As 2020 has been one of the craziest and most difficult years for many of us — myself included, I would like to express my gratitude to all of our readers for supporting our small business — Hoboken Girl. What started as a fun outlet to chronicle my adventures locally has grown to an incredible, small-but-mighty team of contributors, and we are so grateful for the support. Whether it’s a like on Instagram, a RT on Twitter, a post share on Facebook, a click to our site to read an article, or a note letting us know how something resonated, it does not go unnoticed. A million times, thank you – we are so grateful for this wonderful community especially during this pandemic that has affected small businesses so greatly — including a media site like ours. Shop small, and read small, because it really does matter.”

Joe, The Shepherd & The Knucklehead:

“It helps keep our spirits alive to keep fighting and never give up.”

Adena, Studio A Images:

“I am so grateful to my clients – the returning clients who scheduled family sessions and wanted to make sure I stayed in business. And the new clients who hired me for the first time to capture life’s moments, b/c life continues throughout this pandemic. Shopping small is about building and maintaining a vibrant community of creatives and entrepreneurs. We wouldn’t survive without this loving community supporting us small businesses.”

Laurie Michelson, Hair Cult Salon:

I greatly appreciate the support of our community. This year during this pandemic brought out the best and true in people. Our guests could’ve easily shopped online for boxed color, but I would say 80-90% waited for us. That’s loyalty that we adore. We here at Hair Cult strive to give the same in return with amazing customer service and quality. We are grateful every day for each and every one of you who keeps us at the top of your shopping list.

Kiersten + Kristen Gormley, Shaka Bowl:

“Shopping small to me means food on the table, a roof over a family’s head, someone’s dreams, and passions coming to life, the American dream, love in all shapes and sizes. When you shop small you’re getting that extra love, that extra attention to detail, that feeling of comfort that you may not get when buying or spending with a large corporation. When you shop small you can ask the business owner to show you where your money is going and who is affected when you spend your money there, where at a multi-million dollar corporation you would never get that chance to speak to the owner. Shopping small is about making someone’s day, being able to share a smile and coffee and get back the respect from spending your money when you shop small. After all, every business started out as small and in order to keep that tradition alive, we need to appreciate our roots and where it all started, even the corporate moguls. Spreading love and light is what small businesses need to keep going.” – Kiersten

“Shopping small means more than we’ll ever be able to put into words. Shopping small means supporting one’s dreams, passions, and the individual uniqueness that makes each small community so special. It’s the heart that keeps pumping life and meaning into every town. It means that just one person can make one awesome change for someone else and their entire life, no matter how big or how small. It’s always the small pieces that make a big picture and that is what small businesses do, they make communities like ours so whole and so meaningful. Thank you for always shopping small, thank you for supporting our dreams”. – Kristin

Kate Jacobs, Little City Books:

“Amazon, like the pandemic, won’t be forever. It’s an era. When I was little my sisters and I lay on the floor with the fat Sears catalog dog-earring pages with dolls and clothes our parents would never buy for us. Who knew the Sears catalog would be a passing era. What is not passing is towns, communities, meeting on the avenue. Shopping small means nothing less than faith in humanity.”

Amy Franco, 6th Borough Salon:

“Shopping small is what I believe to be the fundamentals of keeping a community more like a “home”, not just someplace you live. I love to walk into a local coffee shop, restaurant/bar, hair salon and everyone knows your name, like Cheers. When people shop small they are contributing to a neighbor’s dreams. I’m so thankful and lucky that I get to wake up and live my dream day in and day out because of this community and people like you who support us through hard times!”

Clemence Danko, Choc O Pain French Bakery and Café:

“It means the world! It means people recognize the hard work we put in every day. We aren’t supported or directed by large corporations, we take our decisions ourselves, with our employees and customers in mind. It’s hard, but that’s why it’s so rewarding when people trust us and walk through our door for their coffee, rather than go to big chains, for their bread and thanksgiving pies rather than go to the supermarket. Customers chose with their dollars and by doing so with small businesses like us they allow us to do our job which we love, allow us to stay open, and serve more customers.”

Karen Mandell, Sattva Yoga JC:

“Shopping a small business means you are supporting a DREAM…a DREAMER, a real person and likely a real family in your community. You are contributing to someone’s life in a way that is essential today more than ever. You are making it possible for them to show up for their own families this holiday season during a year that so many of us have struggled. You are providing much-needed HOPE in this time of struggle, Dreamers plant seeds for the future and put their hearts and souls into building something to serve their community. Often they put the dream before their own self-care. Your support of the dream is what makes it all worth it.”

Emma, Milk Sugar Love:

“For me, shopping small is about creating community. I started Milk Sugar Love because I wanted to bring people together who understand the value of small-batch food made by hand, with simple, high-quality ingredients. I truly believe in the ice cream I’m making and I’m so grateful for every single customer who continues to help grow the Milk Sugar Love community by shopping small!”

Courtney Glashow, Anchor Therapy, LLC:

“Shopping small this year is more important than ever for our Hoboken community. Our town is so beautiful and made up of many incredible small businesses that we all love. During this pandemic, it’s more important than ever to support the small businesses that you love since this may be a rough winter for a lot of them. At Anchor Therapy, we are trying to support more Moms by starting a support group that will help them through this pandemic since it’s been so difficult to multitask all the roles that are required of them now. To help support other moms in the community, it would be so meaningful to us to help us spread the word about our upcoming group here.”

 Catherine Willhoit, The Hive:

“To us, shopping small means that you are supporting hometown neighbors and their commitment to improving their community in a meaningful way. Small businesses have a purpose and focus on making their customers’ lives better through human connections in ways that the big box stores could never recreate. That connection is something we all need more than ever, given the tough year we’ve all had, so to keep shopping small and locally means that those small businesses {and heartfelt connections to their customers} will stay alive for years to come.”

Melissa and Cassie, Little Hoboken:

“We wanted to create a space that was filled with tough to find and unique items. Not your average big box shop. A store curated for moms by moms with thoughtful price points in mind to fit all budgets and help you give a great gift! We are both children of small business owners. When you shop small, you help put money back into your community. Our kids take local classes, we shop local, eat local, spend local on beauty services, and work out locally. You shopping local helps us do the same. Real people helping real people. We literally celebrate every sale and have the texts to prove it!”

Dave Quevedo, Fit Foundry:

“It means the world to us that people put their trust in Fit Foundry, that we are doing the right things to keep them healthy especially during this time. When people shop small not only are they supporting a local business but a local family as well.”

 Joe San Philip, The Brass Rail:

“The support & patronage of the community is always vital but during this time it could very well be the determining factor as to whether we are able to continue to keep our doors open today, tomorrow and hopefully through to the other side of the pandemic. On a deeper level, we have always been very proud to have the support of the community. We are in our 16th year and we LOVE to see familiar faces! Hoboken is an amazing community blessed with choices and the resources to make them so it provides us with a sense of accomplishment that the service and experience we provide inspires loyalty to our establishments.”

Sara Khosrowjerdi, Acupuncture Atelier:

“It’s emotional and everything for small businesses. Shopping small is just further validation that what we provide to the community is necessary and supported. It drives us to keep going and to keep providing the best care we possibly can, despite all 2020 hurdles.”

Dr. Laura Brayton, Hoboken Chiropractic:

“As a woman-owned practice for the last 15 years, shopping small means everything to us. For us, it means that our community is investing in their families’ health and their own. These are gifts that keep on giving. We hear all the time at our office how chiropractic has changed our patients’ lives, whether it is being able to exercise again, their gut health issues have resolved, or their children are hitting their milestones. Staying open during this pandemic has been crucial for so many people and we appreciate all the support from our community.”

Jennifer Hartshorn, Hartshorn Portraiture:

“Throughout this challenging year, there were specific clients that we worked with- the words were not spoken but I knew. They were working with us because they wanted to support our family-owned business. I was so very appreciative- it warmed my heart and will not be forgotten. As we move into the holiday season- we enjoy the connection with each family as well as gratitude for their patronage. Shopping small means they are supporting both our family and our employees’ family.”

Djenaba Johnson-Jones, The Hudson Kitchen:

“Here at Hudson Kitchen, we would be nothing without our small businesses. Our commercial kitchen hosts over 15 small food businesses {and growing} that are supported by customers who choose to shop small every day even during a pandemic. And for that, we are forever grateful.”

Erin Kumpf, Erin Kumpf Acupuncture & Herbs:

“Shopping small and locally, for us, means being an integral part of the pulse of the local community.  The pulse that makes a community a living breathing self-contained organism.  When the people of our community come into Erin Kumpf Acupuncture & Herbs {EKAH} for treatment, we get to help them heal, to feel more alive and more vibrant. The foundation of a healthy community really starts with the individual. So shopping small and local, to us, means, helping us raise the vibration of each individual and that has a beautiful, positive, direct impact on the whole.”

Jessica Witte-Dyer, Joey No Nuts Café:

“Small businesses each have something distinctive and personal to offer their unique and diverse communities, and we couldn’t have asked for better customers, neighbors, and friends, especially throughout these tough times. As a small business in Hoboken, that’s just over a year old, shopping small means that residents come together to support our endeavor, which is to consistently provide customers great coffee and offer delicious treats that are free from nuts, providing those with allergies the peace of mind they deserve. By being a regular customer, or supporting us by purchasing gift cards, our community has helped us immensely.”

Jennifer Bunce-Timmons, Hudson Cakery:

“When you shop small, you are supporting someone’s passion…and that can be priceless. Small business is hard but throw a global pandemic on it and it’s been QUITE the year. We are always grateful to our clients who have supported us over the years but especially this year. Even in 2020, you all still wanted to celebrate with a small cake and that gave us hope. When you shop small, you become part of our extended family and we cannot thank you enough!”

Danielle Kohn, Our Whole Heart:

“Shopping small with Our Whole Heart means helping me support my mission of donating back to congenital heart defect research.  Whether it be a personalized Swarovski birthstone bracelet, or an opal creation to add to your stack, each and every piece of jewelry is handcrafted by me!  Thank you for shopping small, shopping local, and for letting me be a part of your gifting this holiday season!  Enjoy 30% off of Etsy through Tuesday!”

Tamara Tosun, Real Hot Yoga:

“Small businesses are rooted in the landscape and charm of our communities. We all have our businesses we frequent. We get to know the friendly faces and develop relationships. Small businesses make us feel like we are “HOME”. For Real Hot Yoga, support in shopping small means we get to keep doing what we love, in providing a space of wellness to keep our community healthy- inside and out.”

Asha Surti, Reiki Traveler:

“I don’t think I ever really knew what community was until I moved to Hoboken! Being surrounded by powerful entrepreneurs who think creatively and want to do good together- was truly a blessing for four years. I try my best to support our Hoboken tribe as much as possible- because I’ve really seen the souls of so many beautiful people who feel connected to a greater purpose. Personally, those who invest in Reiki Traveler also provide me with a deep connection during this time- through our energy healing and soul chats- during a time that can be so dark and isolating. I recently moved to Sedona, and I’m in awe of how the relationships I built in Hoboken still serve my work at a distance and feed my soul & growth. Forever thankful!”

Samantha Cuddihy, Accent on Résumés:

“We are so appreciative of every customer who chooses to trust Accent on Résumés with their career search. As a local business, we understand how important finding the right job is, whether you are unemployed or unhappy where you currently are, everyone searching for a job is looking for something better. When you shop small with us, there is a personal connection and it is our goal to customize the best résumé for our clients.”

Brooke + Sam, Brooke & Bel:

“At Brooke + Bel, shopping small means promoting growth and strength within our community. Shopping small gives us an opportunity to support our neighbors and empower one another to follow their passions and pursue their dreams. It goes beyond shopping — it is about connection. Each connection helps us sustain each other through these uncertain times. They give us a reason to smile (under our masks, of course. Thank you to our community, because shopping small means we live out our dreams every single day.”

Dr. Randy Kansky, Eye Shapes Hoboken:

“The doctors and staff of Eye Shapes appreciate everyone who chooses us to care for their eyes. We thank you for your support. As a small business, we consider your neighbors and friends as well as patients and customers. We work hard to provide the best care and service, and to be good neighbors back by supporting the other small businesses and community activities that make Hoboken a special place.”

Jon Bevacqua, Crossfit Hoboken:

“Shopping small is rewarding in many ways. From creating a connection to the community, providing jobs for the community, and so much more. Small businesses have the opportunity to be creative and offer a product that’s unique to their clientele. Getting to know your clients on a personal level is most important, it’s not always about turning a revenue. It’s about preserving the quality of the area you live in.”

Chisa, Seazen Soap:

“The community support means so much. It gives us not only to stay in business but gives us the strength to go through this difficult time. Their support will energize us to service more people in our community and inspire us to give back to our community and how we can give back. It’s essential for our community to survive and strive.”

Diana, Revival Vintage Boutique:

“When shopping at local small businesses, it’s helping to put energy and life into your local community.  Most small business owners put their blood, sweat, and tears into creating something meaningful and trying to contribute to their neighborhood.  It provides jobs for local people, creates a local economy, and helps attract other small businesses to perpetuate that growth.  We care, from the bottom of our hearts.   When I see customers in my shop, excited and happy with their finds,  my heart literally is full.  It’s uplifting + inspires me to keep working through this pandemic.  And financially, it’s helpful for survival.”

Jacey Lambros & Danielle DeAngelo, JaneDO:

“As a female-owned, self-funded business, it’s our community that keeps us strong. This year’s challenges only solidify the importance of a local support system. Thanks to our Janes, other small businesses, and local governments, we have been able to keep our doors open and our community moving. Our mission is to create the largest community of the most powerful women and despite these challenging times, we’ve been able to do just that.”

Esra Yuzer, La Bouche:

“Shopping small business is financially compelling to our communities. The benefits of our environment are equally impressive. Shopping small businesses reduces the processing of goods, packaging, and transportation waste, which leads to less pollution, less maintenance, and more resources available to beautify our community. Because locally-owned businesses often purchase from other local businesses. Shopping small businesses helps grow other businesses as well as the local tax base. We have always been  grateful that our loyal customers have stayed with us the whole time!”

Alessia Aron, Beyond the Plate Food Tours:

Shopping small means more now than it ever has in the past. It means being able to continue sharing my food community with more and more people. For those who have been lucky enough to keep their job and salary, you have the power to make a difference by choosing to spend those dollars locally, reinvesting them into the communities we all love to be a part of. Small food and hospitality businesses like Beyond the Plate Food Tours need your help to survive. A gift certificate to a future food tour has no expiration date and directly supports 7-10 other small, locally owned businesses in Jersey City, Somerville, or Red Bank.”

Lorrie, Blo It Out Lounge:

“When you support a local business you’re also supporting your town and neighborhood. It means the world to owners to shop local. It helps us grow and stay in business to continue to service our city.”

Kerry, W. Kodak Jewelers:

At W. Kodak Jewelers, we feel lucky to be part of such an amazing community. We cannot thank our clients enough for their continued support over the years, especially during covid- we are beyond grateful and appreciative. This holiday season, the well-being of our community is our number one priority. Whether you choose to shop small with us in-stores, curbside or online, we promise to always go that extra mile to give you excellent service while shopping for that perfect gift! Your support means the world to us! Happy Holidays from the entire W. Kodak Jewelers Family.

Lauren and Rachel, Lo and Rae Swimwear:

“A small business is a direct reflection of a real individual’s heart, passion, and countless hours of hard work. Your support is the sole reason we are able to continue creating, improving, and growing our dream with Lo and Rae Swimwear. When you shop small you are giving life to the quirky, high-quality, bold, unique, and creative small businesses that truly feel the impact of each sale and would not be here without you!”

Judy Nunez, Tails on Trails:

“It means we can keep doing what we love! Pet Sitters are the hidden secret to all city life: we are the connectors in our community to our new & current client’s furry family life. We are experts at transitions, as we help welcome families opening their homes & hearts to a pet in need. We are the experienced teachers & trusted nannies of an entire community of fur babies. We help the home RUN. We LOVE being an essential & activated part of our vibrant JC community, our home since 2012. Thank you sincerely for your continued support!”

Abbe Rivers, Empire Coffee + Tea:

“We’ve been a family-owned & operated business here in Hoboken since 1994 and have seen many ups and downs! Moving from Washington St. to 4th & Bloomfield St. in 2005 was a pivotal point for us, sink or swim. I was also pregnant, fun times. It turned out to be a good spot, near schools, parks, and the hospital. Fifteen years later, we manage to survive and keep our amazing town caffeinated and treated up with goodies, gifts, and love. The pandemic turned us ALL upside down! Those first few months were intense and my fearless staff, as an ‘essential business’, persevered astonishingly. As we quickly put sanitizing, distancing & safe Customer service into place. The business has shifted for sure. Customers who worked in town now order beans from our website and people who live here & have been working from home are our new “regulars”. We are very grateful & fortunate to survive in these unprecedented times & proud to serve the town we live in and love.”

Daisy Arroyo, Daisy’s Wearable Art:

“When it comes to shopping small, the first thing I think of is support. Support can come in different ways, for example, the tight-knit relationship I have with both the unique artisans I work with and the customers I have. As a small business owner, I personalize my services by going the extra mile and providing the best options for my customers, making sure they’re content with their purchases.” 

Marisol Page, ONE/SOL:

“As a small business, it is super challenging to compete with Black Friday deals and larger big-box stores.  When you spend money with small businesses, you are helping a real person keep their business alive, support their families, and give them the ability to pour back into the community.  Every purchase is a big deal and means so much, especially during these challenging times. Literally, every time something sells, it elicits tears of gratitude and we are so thankful.”

Christine Gatto, Salon Gatto:

“I make a concerted effort to shop small both personally and through my business in order to support our local economy and to be a part of the character and fabric of our community. A strong and vibrant community of businesses helps shape the community’s culture and drives the betterment of the community for residents, employees, and all visitors. Additionally, my business makes it a point to incorporate small business products and services into the Gatto experience for each client. This helps create a unique customer experience while also promoting other small businesses. For a few examples, we host client appreciation events that feature local pop-up shops, the beverage menu includes 5 locally sourced drink choices, and floral arrangements are designed and provided by local florists. We see the spirit of shop small in our clients from their ongoing referrals to friends and family, continuing patronage despite moving out of Hoboken, and purchasing of gift cards during the quarantine.”

Michelle Berckes, Busy Bee Organics:

Shopping small means so much to us at Busy Bee Organics. With a hardworking team of strong women and men, shopping with our company helps to keep these amazing individuals employed. When you support small, you support local families and encourage our creative team to keep creating delicious, healthy meals for all of us in the community. Our team is passionate about keeping our bodies and minds strong through healthy meal creation, with the best quality ingredients possible. YOU keep that vision possible when you shop with us. Thank you!”

 

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