Support Small Business at These Atlanta Shops This Holiday Season
Support your community with these local deals.
While Thanksgiving typically gets the rep of being November’s marquee holiday, the end of this month is loaded with plenty of fun, mini-holidays as well. Of course, Black Friday arrives the day after Thanksgiving—even though it technically starts late Thursday evening—but there are also more mindful holidays that pop up over the following days, from Giving Tuesday to Choose Women Wednesday. One of those more conscious calls to shop is Small Business Saturday. Started by American Express in 2010, SBS has grown into an annual phenomenon in which patrons can redirect their sale-driven gazes from Black Friday to the amazing small businesses in their community. As usual, you can head straight to your favorite small businesses—or some from American Express’ Shop Small Map—to show your support, and this year, you can also support many of the city’s best artisans and entrepreneurs by heading to one of the many holiday pop-up markets scheduled for this weekend. Just in case you still need some help figuring out where exactly you should start, here are 10 different markets, shops, and experiences in Atlanta that you can check out in honor of Small Business Saturday.
Old Fourth Ward
This fall and winter, The Village Retail—a curated, culture-forward shop at Ponce City Market supporting rising Black-owned businesses—is bringing back its ongoing holiday market. The opening day just so happens to be Small Business Saturday, and for its first stint of the holiday season, Village Retail will be hosting a maker’s market that will feature clothing, accessories, and other products made by Black creators. And on the off-chance that you can’t make it on Saturday, you can bring that Small Business Saturday energy into Sunday and shop the second day of Village’s holiday market.
One of the most consistently cool small business experiences in the city is Cheffany’s Cake & Sip. A tasty cake decorating class with a boozy twist, the Cake & Sip is perfect for anyone looking for an expressive arts experience, an opportunity to pop open a new bottle of wine, and a foolproof way to secure some delicious post-Thanksgiving dessert. There are still a handful of bookings available for Cheffany’s Cake & Sip, so if you want to spend Small Business Saturday in the sweetest and most creative way possible, this is the perfect experience for you.
Little 5 Points
Atlanta is home to a wide variety of awesome record stores, and one of the most prominent ones is Criminal Records. The American Express Shop Small Merchant is a staple in the Little 5 Points Community, and this weekend, it’ll kick off the holidays with several highly anticipated Record Store Day Black Friday releases. While it’s highly recommended that you pull up to the local shop on Friday in order to have a shot at securing the really rare RSD releases, it’s also recommended that you go back for a visit on Small Business Saturday as well. After all, there’s no way that you’ll be able to thumb through all of Criminal Records’ crates with just one visit.
Another local business that’s featured on American Express’ Shop Small Map is 3 Parks Wine Shop. The Grant Park wine shop is the perfect place to go for all you wine needs and for all of the delicious wines—like orange wine—that you didn’t know that you needed. Every weekend, 3 Parks Wine offers Outdoor Weekend Wine Tasting Flights, and this holiday weekend is no different. For Small Business Saturday, head over to 3 Parks Wine Shop for one of the best wine tasting specials in Atlanta—just $15 for three half-glass wine pours—and make sure you grab a bottle or two before you leave.
Although it started much earlier this week on Monday, November 21, it’s not too late to get in on the fun of the Atlanta Indie Bookstore Crawl. Over the course of the week, local bookworms are encouraged to visit any of the 20 participating bookstores — including Brave + Kind, Bookish Atlanta, A Capella Books, The Listening Tree, Virginia Highland Books, The Story Shop, and several others. If you’re able to secure stamps and/or signatures from at least five different participating shops during the crawl, you’ll be rewarded with a coupon for 25% off a single purchase at one of the crawl stores during the month of December. The Atlanta Indie Bookstore Crawl wraps up on Small Business Saturday, but make sure that you don’t miss out on the The Georgia Center for the Book’s Bookstore Crawl Afterparty. The event will be held at the DeKalb County Public Library Decatur Branch on Saturday evening, and from 6 pm to 9pm, there will be bookstore swag for attendees and special prizes for crawlers who filled their passports up the most.
If you follow any creators on social media, chances are you’ve seen one of those cool customized rugs that bring everything from your favorite cartoon character to your favorite Air Jordan model to life. Needless to say, those things — while certainly impressive — can also be pretty pricey. Luckily, that’s where TuTu Tufting comes in. The Am-Ex-certified small business combines custom rug shopping with hands-on crafting to give patrons all the tools and materials necessary for them to take home their own custom rug creation. Interestingly enough, TuTu Tufting also offers classes in which you can make your own custom BearBrick, too. This Small Business Saturday, TuTu will be open from noon to 8 pm, but make sure that you book your rug-making session in advance.
Old Fourth Ward
From Black Friday and Small Business Saturday to Cyber Monday and Choose Women Wednesday, a lot of people are going to be doing a lot of shopping over the next several days. And if you’ve ever been shopping for long stretches before, then you already know that it can really wear you out. That’s why you should hit up Sip & Shop Small this weekend — rather than wasting time, gas, and energy while traveling from store to store, you can simply go to Tiendita at El Ponce. This Small Business Saturday, Tiendita’s Sip & Shop Small event will take place from 5 pm to 9 pm, and during that time frame, visitors will be able to shop women- and Indigenous-owned brands at Tiendita’s fair trade store. Furthermore, complimentary drinks will be offered to all 21+ attendees.
There are a lot of great movies in theaters right now, from The Woman King to Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. If you have a film that you’ve been meaning to watch for a while now or if you want to rewatch one of this fall’s biggest blockbusters with your friends, you should definitely go to a small independent theater like the Starlight Drive-In this Saturday. Another American Express-approved small business, Starlight is not only an Atlanta classic, but one of the best movie deals in the entire city. For $10 per adult and $1 per kid, you can catch a double feature with your closest friends, your family, or pretty much whoever you can fit inside of your car. For another awesome alternative cinematic experience, make sure you check out Plaza Theatre, which is also an American Express-featured small business.
Throughout this guide, we’ve rattled off several local shops and experiences that you can support in honor of Small Business Saturday. If you’re starting to feel overwhelmed by the sheer idea of trying to go to so many different places in one day, don’t even stress yourself out. For those of us who would rather chill at one general location and support several small businesses, there is another major holiday pop-up market being held this weekend. For the first time ever, in fact, the Piedmont Park Holiday Gift Market is taking over Midtown’s favorite outdoor hangout for a festive two-day open-air shopping experience. The market kicks off on Small Business Saturday and wraps up on Sunday, and attendees will be treated with hot cocoa and holiday music while shopping works from over 175 local artists and artisans.
If you haven’t gotten anything else from our Small Business Saturday guide, just remember that supporting local small businesses doesn’t have to be a chore. In fact, with small businesses like the Wylie Hotel, your support may result in some much-needed relaxation. Not only is Wylie Hotel another American Express-certified small business, but it’s also downright amazing. Nestled into Old Fourth Ward, the Wylie is a stunning and comfortable boutique hotel with modern decor. Plus, if you book a stay there this weekend, you’ll be supporting the Wylie Hotel right on time for Small Business Saturday, and you’ll also get a $50 dining credit per night as a part of the property’s Cyber Weekend Offer.
Joshua Robinson is an Atlanta-based contributor for Thrillist.