I know Small Business Saturday was last week, but I have a new idea–let’s make it Small business Saturday until Christmas (and beyond)! See, Covid isn’t just dampening our spirits, it’s taking a toll on small businesses, but a girl’s gotta gift, right? So, I’m suggesting we support those retail establishments who aren’t big and Amazon-y, but special and magical. When you purchase gifts from the following stores, you’ll not only be giving cool gifts to your loved ones, you’ll be helping these stores get through an unprecedented season of crazy. All of the following stores just happen to be owned by women (except Good). This is a tough time for any retail establishment, but small in particular, so if you’re buying, please consider how you spend your money. It’s never been more important. Here are my personal favorites.
Portobello Road However long this store has been open is however long I’ve loved it. Super cool jewelry, from affordable to splurge, cozy cashmere, tops and bottoms and scarves, leather bags and belts. Always a great bowl, or book. To die for pillows by Kevin O’Brien. Curated by Marina Kalb and Kristina Lyons, this is a shop to shop. If you go: Check website first, for hours, and when it’s sunny, you’ll find a great array outside, including sale items (I love a sale, don’t you just love a sale?!) . Or just hit the internet for a plethora of gifts you’ll want to keep yourself! (LITERALLY, AS I WAS WORKING ON THIS LIST, I GOT AN EMAIL LETTING ME KNOW PORTOBELLO ROAD WOULD BE CLOSING PERMANENTLY ON DEC 31. This is devastating news, because for 13 years, it’s been a go-to for gifts to give, and gifts to get (my family could always make Christmas or my birthday easy, by just walking in the door). Treat yourself by heading in or shopping online before the doors close. SAD FACE EMOJI HERE.)
Nesting on Main This second floor shop is like a winter wonderland and each Christmas, they decorate every square inch of this second floor space to compete with Santa’s workshop. You’ll find some holiday treasures in the form of candles and decorations, clothing, and lots and lots of the unusual. If you go: You’ll feel like it’s really Christmas. If you don’t, you’ll still get some holiday spirit online.
Thistle Hill is a new find in the last few years for me. Kelly Hochsprung has a great eye. Her store is full of bedding you want to curl up on ASAP, and clothes you want to live in, for, well ever. A drool worthy line of Il Bisonte bags gets me every time (one of my fave Italian stores). Candles and creams and jewelry, too. If you go: Check hours, and enjoy yourself! Kelly is as nice as they come. Shop online, too.
Shake the Tree Marian Klausner, owner of Shake the Tree nestled in the amazing North End knows how to mix up fab jewelry with cute clothes, perfume, cards, books, housewares and decorations at price points you’ll appreciate. Who knows how she does it, I’m just glad she does! If you go: work up an appetite, and hop around the corner to Mike’s Pastry for a Lobster Tail to go! (MY TRULY FAVORITE DESSERT)!
Kodomo What’s prettier than Charles Street at the holidays? Kodomo’s hand picked, comfy and cozy, stylish and ethical kid’s store. Jasmine Punzalan has such a keen sense of style, I wish she’d open a store for adults. (Pretty please…….) Meander in for an eye candy stroll, or shop online–her site and Instagram feed are good fun, too.
Good Back on Charles street, where it belongs, this long-standing store is always a must-shop. From jewelry to home goods, apparel, scarves, wraps and hats, this is one of of my hall-of-famers. And if you go, you can do a two-fer with Kodomo, since these two special shops are within blocks of one another. Win-win. Online shopping works, too.
Curds & Co. You like cheese? You like cheese boards, things that go well with cheese, like jams and nuts and wines? You like a great looking store? You like really smart sales help who know what they’re doing? Then I’ve found your favorite new place to shop. I go to the one in Brookline Village, but there is also one at the Boston Market and now a cute cafe in Brookline Booksmith, too! And talk about a great gift–we’re talking the CurdBox. I recently bought a vintage cheese board that’s bigger than my downstairs powder room! Jenn Mason has the goods. And I have a new addiction!
Hello, my name is Toni and I have an addiction to Curds & Co.
Joanne Rossman, Purveyor of the unnecessary & irresistible A hidden gem, in Roslindale Village. If you’re lucky, Joanne and her new pug rescues, Nana & Nicco–Miss Rita Rose passed away last May :(–will greet you. Unique finds, great books, decorations, apparel and one-of-a-kind vintage gems await you. If you go, do a few loops of the store because you’ll keep finding new stuff. If not, Jonne’s imagination is online, too.
Elements/Jill Schwartz If you like jewelry (and I do), head over to Elements and take an online shopping trip. This whimsical brand has been churning out must-have earrings bracelets, necklaces and ornaments for decades, with a vintage eye and a bring the bling. Mega talented Jill Schwartz has a way with a bead! Great stuff and Instagram feed, too.
Brookline Beauty Nails & Spa.Ok, this isn’t a retail shop and maybe you’re not having your manis and pedis as usual because these are the sacrifices (I’M KIDDING, here, of course), but after walking by this place 50 times (my dog route) and peering in the window to see large acrylic dividers separating client and manicurist, I decided to give it a try. (My old nail salon didn’t look like they were doing much of anything to keep people safe, so i abandoned ship). So, I took my claws and dry as a desert feet in, for just one treatment. Just to see if I felt safe. Helen and Celine, sisters, own BBN&S and are not only incredibly nice, they offer one of the best mani pedis I’ve ever had (and that’s saying something). And they are also obsessed with safety. Masks are mandatory, washing hands upon entering is a must. There are the dividers, and an air filter system, too. When weather allows the door is wide open. The salon is spotless and the pedi chair is super comfy. Only two customers are allowed to be in the space at the same time. And I gotta say, I feel completely safe. And seriously, they nail the nail art! Not that I’m a nail art person, but you should see the stuff Celine can do! This girl is an artist. It’s amazing! I love seeing how she’s done her own nails–different everytime I’ve been in. We’re talking pearls, and stripes and flowers and yesterday she had a butterfly on one of her opalescent nails! My manis and pedis have lasted much longer than any other salon I’ve been to. They have a whole slew of other offerings, like massage and facials, but none are available now, until Covid is more under control, but I can’t wait until they are, because this place is pretty amazing.
Drive-By Pies. If you like pie and I LOVE PIE, then leave this post and run, don’t walk to this tiny sweet spot in Brookline. The owner, Fran, who is awesomeness, makes the most sublime pies you will ever sink your teeth into. They’re all delish, but I’m partial to the Pear with Caramel. We had four for four people this Thanksgiving and well, guess how many were left by Saturday…..Order now. Seriously, this minute! There’s also lots of other great food, too. Like, try the chicken salad, for instance, or really ANYTHING! It’s all mouth watering and made from scratch!