Shopping Small is Big

Shop local movement continues to grow

 
Black Friday may be suffering an awkward drawn out death but the Shop Local movement is gaining ground. If you didn’t see Christmas decorations on store shelves before Halloween was over with your own eyes, your ears surely heard someone complaining about the rush. Online retailers have turned Black Friday into a week and “we can’t wait until Black Friday to offer you these great deals” advance sales. Yet while retailers are panicking and pushing doorbusters up the calendar, economists aren’t preemptively blaming consumers this year, predicting holiday sales will rise. Without those one-day only special savings, its hard for more and more shoppers to justify spending a precious extra day off from work sitting in traffic and standing in long lines getting jostled and poked by crowds.
 
It’s not far fetched to guess that the more shoppers have heeded the call to buy from local sellers, the more they have remembered what a rewarding experience it can be to interact with people instead of corporate systems. In best cast scenarios, these sellers are also manufacturers, having crafted the goods they are selling with their own two hands, often taking custom orders.
 

Grain sack utility apron by Bachestinks, a Holiday on the Square participating vendor

After the dishes are done Thursday, you’ll still see that group of anxious shoppers pour over glossy big box store newspaper circulars while the rest of the family watches football, dozes off or plays games. And for as many people who conscientiously boycott shopping on Thanksgiving day, there will be bargain hunters defying family traditions for better deals. But slowly growing is a small army of smart and savvy community-minded adventurers who will hold their money a little closer and hold out in hopes of finding one-of-a-kind and handmade works of art and craft at one or all of this season’s holiday markets or independently owned boutiques and gift shops.
 
Holding its grand opening on Black Friday at 10 a.m., NOTE Fragrances is the latest brain child of scent-inspired entrepreneur Danielle Fleming of Danielle and Company. It’s located at the corner of Wyoming and Spruce (where Fanny Farmer Chocolates used to be and more recently Caferazzi and Jersey Subs) and is described as a “custom perfume studio and fragrance bar.”
 
“I realized that there really isn’t a place where you can go to explore scents on deeper level. A place where you can take your time, learn the world of perfumery and experience the wonders of scents and aromas,” Fleming writes in an announcement for NOTE. The shop will also stock the full line of Danielle and Company products. Call (570) 343-2100 for more information.
 
The Pocono Chapter of the Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen will open its third annual Holiday Store in Stroudsburg’s ArtSpace Gallery on Friday, Nov. 29. A special reception will be held Thursday, Dec. 5 from 5 to 7:30 p.m. and the show will run through Dec. 24. Exhibitors this year include Groundhog Blues (pottery), Louise Mehaffey (jewelry), Claire Marcus (jewelry), Linda Schwartz (multi media), John Saunders (pottery), Vicki Byrd (bronze jewelry and art), Larry Buss (pottery). Visit poconocrafts.com or poconoarts.org for more information.
 
Small Business Saturday statistics estimate that “52 percent of what you spend stays in the community when you shop at locally owned independent businesses.” The national, increasingly-recognized day founded by American Express in 2012 follows Black Friday will be touted by mom and pops across The 570 and in downtown Scranton at The Vintage Theater, in particular.
 
The venue will hold its second annual Small Business Saturday “Cheap Art” showcase on Nov. 30. from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. A variety of vendors local vendors will showcase original and/or handmade works including mixed media art, refurbished accessories and vintage jewelry, photography, candles, books published by local authors, baked goods, crocheted pieces, and tie dye. All items will be affordably priced at less than fifty dollars. Call (570) 507 9671 or visit www.scrantonsvintagetheater.com for more information.
 
Also on Saturday, Nov. 30 and Sunday, Dec. 1 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. the Wyoming Valley chapter of the American Red Cross hosts its 20th annual Holiday Craft Show at the Kingston Armory in Wilkes-Barre. More than 100 crafters will offer unique handcrafted items such as jewelry, fine art, holiday and country crafts, glassware, handmade soaps and lotions, clothing, pet accessories and more at this benefit for Red Cross programs. This year the event will also feature wine tastings by Pennsylvania wineries including O’Donnell Winery, Ferrone Family Winery, Capra Collina Winery, and Maiolatesi Winery. Catering is provided by Maer’s BBQ. It’s estimated that more than 2,000 shoppers attended last year’s show. Admission is $5 or free to children age 18 and younger. Sunday special admission is $3 after 2 p.m.
 

Chainmaille earrings by Jill LaPierre

The Scranton Cultural Center’s Buy Local Holiday Marketplace is back for its second year on Sunday, Dec. 1. Local businesses, artists, and crafters will sell on four floors of the historic Masonic Temple from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Among those vendors chainmaille artist Jill LaPierre, based in Elmhurst. Her bold, statement jewelry designs are inspired in part by an appreciation that developed for indigenous artwork while living in Lima, Peru for 10 years.
 
“My jewelry came about with the desire to mesh the design motifs I was exposed to in Peru with traditional chainmaille weave structures, thereby offering an unexpected twist on hand-woven, contemporary jewelry,” she explains on the Jewelry by LaPierre Facebook page. Pieces include necklaces, bracelets and earrings in sterling silver, bronze, and 14K gold filled metal. Works are made upon request, and can be customized according to buyer preference of length and materials. Visit www.jewelrybylapierre.com. Admission and gift wrapping at the Buy Local Holiday Marketplace are free and the first 100 patrons will receive a free reusable shopping bag. Food will be available for purchase. Call (570) 344-1111 or visit scrantonculturalcenter.org for more information and a list of vendors.
 

Alchemy Home Company

Returning to the event for the second year is Alchemy Home Company, which plans to reveal a new Winter Atmosphere Spray in balsam, cedar, citrus, and myrrh on Dec. 1. Alchemy is likewise one of the vendors shoppers will find at Holiday on the Square in downtown Scranton Friday Dec. 6 and Saturday, Dec. 7. A joint initiative sponsored by ScrantonMade, Lackawanna County, and Scranton Tomorrow, Holiday on the Square is inspired by this summer’s notably successful Arts on the Square. While the main draw is Scranton Made-curated vendors braving unpredictable weather to sell outdoors under tents headed by forced air propane heaters, the outdoor marketplace imagines “downtown as a whole moveable space,” explained Deputy Director of Arts and Culture for Lackawanna County Maureen McGuigan. More than 30 businesses are cooperating with the fair through a Shop Scranton initiative that extends Holiday on the Square through Scranton’s entire downtown Friday and Saturday. Details of the special attractions these shops have planned will be made available online as the event draws nearer.
 
“The Commissioners have always wanted to make Lackawanna County’s annual tree lighting a larger Courthouse Square event and so it make sense to merge ScrantonMade’s plans for a holiday fair into a winter version of Arts on the Square,” McGuigan said. The tree lighting will be held at 6 p.m. on Friday, shortly after the event opens at 5 p.m. Hot chocolate will be served and carriage rides will be available, McGuigan said. Vendors will sell under heated tents until 9 p.m. that night in conjunction with First Friday Scranton.
 
Several shops are donating to goody bags that the first 150 HOTS attendees will receive. In addition to the expected coupons the bangs contain some real prizes such as fingerless gloves donated by Modish. Lackawanna County Library System and the Everhart Museum are cosponsoring an activity tent on Linden Street and The Lackawanna County Vistors Bureau hosting an ugly holiday sweater contest on Saturday at 2 p.m. (register at the ScrantonMade Booth by 1:30) for a chance to win gift cards to downtown Scranton businesses including LAVISH Body+Home, Freedlove, Pierre’s Scranton, Northern Light Espresso Bar, The Fanciful Fox, Carl Von Luger Steak & Seafood, Modish LLC, Backyard Ale House, Burlap and Bourbon and more. Categories include ugliest, most festive, most creative, weirdest, and judge’s choice. The full entertainment schedule was not yet announced at press time but is expect to include live music by Sweatheart and Coal Town Rounders.
 

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