It’s been a rough year. And no one knows that better than small business owners, who have weathered the pandemic storm and various restrictions with grace, innovation and resourcefulness. So for Small Business Saturday, we asked our colleagues at AAA Northeast to tell us about some of their favorite small businesses. Some are restaurants, some are coffee shops, some are bookstores, some are online – and all are owned by neighbors who count on fellow community members to stay afloat during these uncertain times.
Happy shopping! Support small business!
Note: Due to the ever-changing nature of the COVID-19 crisis, please see official websites before visiting to check for restrictions or closures.
Sierra Barter, Social Media Manager
756 Hope St., Providence, R.I.
“Best cooking gadgets, housewarming gifts and local food! Jan, the owner, is super knowledgeable and best of all, it’s dog friendly!”
30 Child Street, Warren, R.I.
“The best spot for gifts for your friends, mom and kids in your life, featuring local Rhode Island artists and handmade jewelry.”
2 Market St., Warren, R.I.
“Homemade pasta … say no more! The best ravioli and pasta sauces, plus a great assortment of artisan cheeses and fresh bread for the perfect pasta dinner.”
488 Main St., Warren, R.I.
“Best bookstore in the East Bay.”
Marisa Perjatel, Editor
Custom Pet Portraits by My Rainbow Veins
“I recently got my husband a portrait of our dog and was so impressed by this shop. The artist, Jordan, paints all types of animals on tiny, 3×3 canvases with such detail. She captured Koba perfectly, from her curly hair to her expressive eyes. It’s a special little piece of artwork that we’re proud to display.”
Kristen Griffie, Senior Social Media Specialist
Blue Hippo Coffee Company
62 Bloomfield Ave., Verona, N.J.
“They have the best coffee, brunch/lunch, and sweet treats. They also have boards and graze boxes full of delicious cheeses, meats, crackers, and fruits. I try to get there at least once a week!”
David Dhanpat, Senior Digital Marketing Specialist
41-11 49th St., Queens, N.Y.
“Great food and drinks with a warm and welcoming atmosphere! Family run bar with an emphasis on hospitality!”
Louis Orellana, Director of Publication Operations
282 Main St., Farmingdale, N.Y.
“The food at Vespa is always great. It’s a nice, family-style Italian restaurant. The staff is also very friendly and the management really focuses on a fun relaxed family atmosphere.”
211 Main St., Farmingdale, N.Y.
“The coffee is great and the staff really takes their time with each customer. And it’s really involved with the community.”
Matt Robertson, Advertising Sales Rep
The Bean of Patchogue
62 W. Main St., Patchogue, N.Y.
“I love the personal touch from the baristas remembering regular customers and having my coffee order ready as soon as I walk in the store.”
Jenna Ewing, Senior Manager, Creative & Brand
Park Street Books & Toys
504 Main St., Medfield, Mass.
“This place inspires kids to read. They have carefully curated selections of books by ages, as well as fun games, puzzles, crafts and toys that make great gifts. Their merchandise is arranged into small rooms, and our favorites areas are the used books rooms upstairs, where you can find like-new treasures for a fraction of the cost. There’s even a small pottery studio where kids can make one-of-a-kind art or host birthday parties. (We’ve done both!) The staff is always friendly and smiling. It’s an old house converted into a store, and it feels like home!”
Andrew Sheldon, Content Producer
Brands Cycle & Fitness
1966 Wantagh Ave., Wantagh, N.Y.
“They are incredibly knowledgeable – and friendly! – no matter how experienced you are at cycling. When I was just starting out and knew very little about bikes, they helped me find the perfect one. Now I go back once a year for a tune-up and they continue to do great work. That same bike keeps running smooth many years, and miles, later!”
Andrew Rosen, Vice President, Brand & Content Marketing
Matty’s Toy Stop
19 Covert Ave., Floral Park, N.Y.
“As brick-and-mortar toy stores continue to teeter on the edge of extinction, local shops like Matty’s Toy Stop give me hope that the local toy store can and will survive! Each aisle is packed with fun and games…and gift wrapping is always free! Sometimes I’m not sure who enjoys going to the toy store more, me or the kids I drag along for the ride!”
Dana Laverty, Copy Editor
Frog & Toad
795 Hope St., Providence, R.I.
“Frog & Toad is the unofficial gift store of Rhode Island. It’s where you’ll find one-of-a-kind gifts with an Ocean State vibe. And the owners have the best social media accounts – you’re guaranteed to get a laugh. They’ve managed to stay open and develop new pandemic-themed products in 2020 – no small feat! If anyone on my Christmas list is reading this, I would love a dumpster fire sticker to go along with my “Knock It Off” T-shirt.”
820 Hope St., Providence, R.I.
“This coffee shop/bakery has some of the best baked goods, pastries and bread you’ll ever have. It’s all homemade. I highly recommend trying a croissant and the kouign amann, a sweet pastry made with croissant dough and vanilla sugar.”
1084 Hope St., Providence, R.I.
“Words cannot convey how much my daughter and I love this intimate Japanese restaurant. The owners and waitstaff are so sweet and friendly, and make the best sushi in the state (in our humble opinion). Make sure to try the new dessert option: shaved ice with your choice of homemade sweet sauces and topped with jellies and fruit. It’s amazing!”
You can find small businesses almost everywhere you look. You can even find them on Amazon! Some of our favorite small business and handmade items on Amazon include this novelty hockey goal mug, these personalized sterling silver rings, state-shaped cast-iron skillets, festive scented candles and more. Check out our Amazon Storefront for some of our favorite things from the internet’s small businesses and creators.
Got some more shopping to do? Check out AAA.com/Discounts to search for the best holiday gifts this year.
Do you have a favorite small business that you’ll be supporting this holiday season? Let us know in the comments below!