15 Boston Small Businesses to Support This Holiday Season
Shop local for decadent chocolates, vintage finds, and more.
Small businesses are the heartbeat of our retail scene and the embodiment of our city’s entrepreneurism. So while it’s easy to get suckered into online shopping on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the place to find truly unique gifts this holiday season is at Boston’s small businesses.
We’ve picked out 15 of our favorites around town that reflect the geographical and artisanal breadth of our local shopping scene. From dispensaries to trendy sneaker outposts and bookstores, there’s something for everyone on your holiday shopping list, so go forth and spend while supporting the best artists and small businesses in Boston.
This speakeasy sneaker shop hasn’t missed a step in its 25 years of existence. Hidden behind an unassuming facade that appears to be a run-down bodega is a store shelving the most cutting-edge sneakers on the market. It doesn’t stop there though: shop women and men’s clothing and accessories are also available, as well as boots and outerwear, so there’s something for everyone on your shopping list.
Imagine a second-hand consignment boutique so popular that there’s sometimes a line to get inside—that’s just how good the collection is. Both locations of Covet feature the perfect selection of designer shoes and bags, designer sunglasses, and in-style dresses and separates—all of which rotate with every season so you and your giftees can be stylish and eco-friendly at the same time.
These aren’t your everyday chocolates—these are confections in the grandest, most indulgent sense. With bon bons, caramelized peanut butter cups, artisan candy bars, and extravagant solid barks, there are plenty of incredible gifts if you can manage not to eat them yourself first. Plus, if you shop on Small Business Saturday, you can secure a luxurious advent calendar before December kicks off.
This community bookstore puts Black authors at the center of its collection and has an especially impressive selection of young-adult books dedicated to activism, history, and race. Have we mentioned that co-owners Leonard Egerton and Clarrissa Cropper will order any book for you that you don’t see in the store? Bonus: A little birdie tells us they’ll be hosting a holiday pop-up on Small Business Saturday; keep an eye on Instagram for details.
Why buy your giftee a candle when you can make them one instead—with wine? The bright new space inside the Charles River Speedway hosts regular organic candle-making workshops for beginners, including one on Small Business Saturday; the gift shop also sells the all-natural candles made by owner Steysy Clark.
If we had a bottomless bank account, we’d just furnish our entire apartment at Lekker and call it a day. The South End home institution celebrates modern European-inspired design in housewares both large and small—and in fact, many of the designers are actually small-batch makers from places like Montana and Upstate New York.
South End and Somerville
How lucky are we to have an indie boutique dedicated to the art and care of the indoor plant? Whether you’re a seasoned green parent or just looking to learn more about how not to kill live flora, Niche is a one-stop shop for houseplant browsing and education, from cacti to oversized ferns. We say all this with a little sniffle, as the South End shop is closing on December 24, so take the time now to visit the original location before devoting yourself full-time to the Davis Square shop.
Looking to add a European flair to your closet? This bright shop offers unique finds from Denmark, Italy, and Belgium, along with a curated selection of cutting-edge stateside designers. Even the sweatpants and PJs manage to be stylish AF—perfect for the WFH life.
2022 was the year of the hat—but it’s not too late to jump into the fray. Salmagundi in Jamaica Plain sells an equal number of jaunty hats for men and women, including many that are locally made.
There is but one place to go when you’re shopping for a dude in your life, and it’s this cozy subterranean space with a perfectly curated collection of clothing, home goods, outerwear, woodsy accessories, and manly candles. There’s also a smaller collection of women and children’s clothing and accessories, and the home accessories and gift ideas are spot-on.
Jamaica Plain’ first adult-use dispensary was well worth the wait. The collections of edibles include gummies, chocolates, and more. Don’t leave without visiting the Core Social Justice Cannabis Museum housed inside, which explores the consequences of the war on drugs and the country’s cannabis laws, especially their disproportionate impacts on communities of color.
It’s the little shop that could. For more than 20 years, the longtime North End storefront has offered a little something for everyone: home accessories (wall decor, stationary, pillows, charcuterie boards) and candles along with jewelry and a curated collection of women’s clothing.
The tiny jewelry boutique spotlights the work of independent makers who work in sustainable materials. Owner Sophie Hughes is a jewelry designer herself, often working in gold to forge rough-hewn yet delicate splurge pieces, including custom-designed engagement incorporating recycled materials. The store also makes its own custom pieces, including taking an existing heirloom from a customer and turning it into something far more modern and wearable.
You don’t need to use a shopping holiday as an excuse to pop inside this divine BIPOC-owned wine shop. Spend an hour or more chatting with the employees and finally overcoming your oenophile fears; the entire experience is welcoming even as the labels go far beyond anything you’ll encounter at your local packie. Co-owners Hadley and TJ Douglas have even launched their own label, Progressive Wine Co, celebrating small purveyors from Sonoma County. Regular in-store tastings, especially around the holidays, mean you’ll be the hit of your parties this season.
Calling all analog geeks: The record store is a liquorice pizza paradise, with albums both vintage and new and evening DJed events that spotlight all sorts of staff picks. And did we mention that they serve drinks inside the store? If you want to be the coolest auntie or uncle in the world this holiday season, sign the kid in your life up for the Kids 45 club, a monthly 7-inch record subscription.