Last week, I have ideas on how to spend Black Friday in different ways besides taking up time in the crowds. And although my days of standing outside in ridiculous lines to buy four dollar DVDs is over, I still enjoy shopping that Saturday after Thanksgiving. I actually enjoy spending time quietly shopping Small Business Saturday on the Mississippi Gulf Coast!
Small Business Saturday began in 2010 with an American Express campaign. It continued to gain exposure and popularity. It even boasted 112 million shoppers in 2016!
Why I Shop Small Business Saturday
For several years in a row, when I still worked as a school librarian, I would enjoy Small Business Saturday on Magazine Street in New Orleans. I would go and stroll from local business to local business enjoying the cool weather. (One of the few months I could enjoy New Orleans without sweat stains.) Whoever came with me would enjoy stopping to sample and snack on all the great food along the street as well.
There is a deep community impact of shopping Small Business Saturday. It is estimated that 48 percent of tax dollars stay within the local community when shopping at small businesses. That small business is also more likely to support local charities, schools, and sports teams. There is also an opportunity to find a gift that is truly unique and/or handmade.
Small Business Saturday on the Mississippi Gulf Coast:
There is a range of places to check out on Small Business Saturday along the Gulf Coast. My list shares some of my favorites, and some I would like to check out this year. I recommend following them on social media or checking out their websites for a better idea of the hours they are open.
Like my coffee shop article, I have included their location from Bay St. Louis heading east on Highway 90.
Bay St. Louis
The downtown area of Bay St. Louis has grown so much post-Katrina. There is a range of local businesses all in walking distance. You can find antiques, gifts, and clothes all in the shame three to four block area.
I recommend checking out Social Chair for funny gifts or unique jewelry. Another great spot, that happens to be next to The Mockingbird Cafe, is Century Hall. Century Hall is set up with booths ranging from art, antiques, and more.
Pass Christian has a smaller downtown area, but a few businesses have popped up recently. Enjoy books at Cat Island Coffeehouse. I recommend walking down the block to check out gifts for the men in your life.
- Cat Island Coffeehouse and Bookstore-Great selection of local books and authors.
- Brush Outfitters-Fishing gear and outdoor wear
- Martin Hardware-They have a great selection of Yeti cups and grilling equipment.
There are a few art and boutique shops on Jeff Davis Avenue in Long Beach. You can also buy some locally roasted coffee as well.
- Bankhouse Coffee-I love the southern flavor blends like Praline and Wedding Cake.
- Sister Swank Boutique-Cute outfits for women.
Downtown Gulfport is a wonderful place to stop for a bite to eat. I have been dying to check out the new Dolce Cafe. Soon the Gulfport Historical Society will be opening a small museum in the train depot as well. However, there are not a lot of shops downtown right now.
Don’t be discouraged. There are some wonderful local businesses off of Cowan Lorraine and Pass Roads.
- Paper Moon-Stationary and gifts galore. They have relocated to this location.
- Pecan House-Homemade edible treats and sweets. (Don’t forget their McHenry location as well!)
- Heritage House-A selection of gifts from local artisans.
- The Island Garden Shop-Looking for a plant for grandma? Here is your place.
- Vintage Flamingo– Is only opened certain days out of the month. Local vendors sell their wares like antiques and crafted items.
- Everything Kayak and Bicycle-Located by the Prime Outlets. You can find equipment and accessories for biking and kayaking.
I love seeing the events that the Howard Avenue’s West End Merchants have sponsored lately. Just this past weekend they had a Polar Express Day in order to kick off the holiday season. Everyone is so cheerful and helpful in these shops. I look forward to stopping in on my way to and from the library.
- Howard Avenue’s West End Merchants
- Southern Bound Books-They do not only carry new and used books, but also gifts. (I am planning on purchasing some of their book candles!)
- The Fashion Carriage-This is where I have found some cute outfits for last winter, including my Sherpa pullover.
- Howard Avenue Emporium-Antiques with some great examples of furniture and housewares.
- Gallery 782 Co-Art (Also in Downtown Biloxi on Jackson Street.) Here you can find a group of gifts to buy made from Local Artists.
D’Iberville has made a name for itself by opening up the Promenade in 2009. There are a few boutiques off of Big Ridge, and I hope to see more in the future. Auto Mall Parkway also has some large antique shops including the giant Century Antiques.
Although another Peter Anderson Festival has come and gone there are still plenty of crafts, art, and gifts to purchase in Downtown Ocean Springs. This is just a quick list of a few favorites. I focused on shops I have recently purchased from or visited. There are so many more to see and I encourage you to enjoy them by allowing yourself plenty of time to browse.
- Poppy’s-Gifts and ornaments
- Hillyer House-Some of the most beautiful housewares you can find on the coast handmade.
- Realizations-Find prints from local artist Walter Anderson on all merchandise from throw blankets to baby clothes.
- Ocean Springs Mercantile-I little further down Government, but worth the visit for all the wares in one spot.
- Marina Soap Cottage-I love her Naughty Nat bug spray that smells like vanilla instead of DEET. All items in this shop are made with natural ingredients in order to be use don sensitive skin.
- So many more! Just take a walk this is the starting point.
Other Places to Check Out Further North:
I could not forget to mention these two as well. I sometimes visit Mississippi Mercantile when I have a Saturday off. (Rare as that is.) It has booths, and a lot of times my favorite local honey by Miss. B is set up there as well.
During Peter Anderson Festival this year, I spotted some beautiful pottery from Red Creek Pottery. They are sometimes available at Hillyer House in Ocean Springs. I recommend checking them out on Facebook and Instagram. The creator, Jacob Craig makes wonderful pieces that I know my grandma would have loved.
I would like to emphasize, there are some other wonderful places to visit on the Gulf Coast for Small Business Saturday. This list is just meant to be a sampler and not at all comprehensive. If you can think of anyone I missed, please mention them in the comments below!
Where would you like to shop on Small Business Saturday? What is your favorite small business?
Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission is you click through and make a purchase.