Chrishelle Griffin spent Thursday helping her mom prepare food for their small family’s celebration, but her mind was focused on plans for a pop-up shop from noon to 5 pm Saturday inside the Flagstar Strand Theatre, 12 N. Saginaw St. in Pontiac.
More than 30 entrepreneurs, all of whom have home-based businesses, will be on hand and hoping to see people supporting Small Business Saturday on Nov. 26. American Express in started the campaign to shop locally in 2010 and the US Small Business Administration became a co-sponsor in 2011.
It’s an annual effort to showcase small businesses, locally based outlets, rev the engines of commerce and showcase communities as places people want to live and work. This year, many are still recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Saturday’s pop-up shop is one of many shop-local campaigns in Oakland County and the first of its kind at the Strand, said Griffin owner of Consult Chris, LLC. She praised the Strand’s president, Alex Resnik, for being so supportive. Griffin organized the event with fellow entrepreneur Mia Brooks.
“Pontiac has an abundance of amazing entrepreneurs and small businesses,” Resnik said.
Griffin said home-based entrepreneurs face stiff competition from bigger stores, brick-and-mortar small businesses and online shoppers.
“I don’t think there’s such a thing as Cyber Monday anymore. I think it’s all weekend now,” she said, adding she shops online to avoid winter weather and wandering around a mall.
Another vendor is Griffin’s mom, a New York native who operates Harold’s Italian Ice, with such unique flavors and one that blends cherries and pineapple.
Another vendor makes custom all-natural raw juices, while Mia Brooks, who owns Luminosity Naturals, sells handmade body butters and oils.
Other booths will have handmade candles; another vendor’s new take on the traditional Philly cheesesteak sandwiches and Asian wings, other food vendors who make small cheesecakes, custom chocolates and specialty desserts. Shoppers will also find clothing and accessories not found elsewhere.
Shoppers will hear music by DJ Monk, Go Farr Selfie Station, and get a chance at giveaways. Pontiac District 1 Councilwoman Melanie Rutherford will emcee the event.
Oakland County is promoting the “Shop Small and Local” campaign for the 2022 holiday season.
Ingrid Tighe, the county’s economic development director joined small business leaders last week at Dearborn Music in Farmington to encourage local holiday shopping on Saturday..
“Small businesses are the backbones of our communities, providing residents and visitors with a welcoming and vibrant environment for shopping, dining and visiting with family and friends,” she said. “These are the businesses that employ our neighbors and continue to contribute to a robust and thriving economy.”
Farmington Executive Director Kate Knight said nine of 10 downtown Farming businesses are independently operated. The 150 small businesses downtown are all within a 5-minute walk.
Knight said 67 cents of every dollar spent locally stays within the community.
The county is showcasing ways people can shop locally, find events, activities and community partners at www.OakGov.com/ShopSmall.
Oakland County’s Local Gems sweepstakes continues through Nov. 26. Anyone can submit a selfie photo taken at an Oakland County small business that they consider to be “local gems” for a chance at winning a $1,000 first prize or $500 second prize. The prize money is being provided by Genisys Credit Union, which also supplied Main Street Oakland County communities with shopping bags and other holiday season items.
Other communities are drawing shoppers out Friday and Saturday, often organized by downtown development authorities.
Friday has its own nickname, Plaid Friday, created by a California woman, Kerri Johnson, to encourage family and friends to resume leisurely shopping. The campaign has been adopted and amplified by the American Independent Business Alliance.
Here are just a few:
Carter’s Luxury Events, 45810 Woodward Ave. in Pontiac, is hosting pop-up shops from noon to 8 pm today for Black Friday.
Downtown Rochester is hosting Plaid Friday today and Small Business Saturday. Learn more at DowntownRochesterMI.com. Shoppers who buy from downtown Rochester business to text a photo of the receipt to SHOPSMALL to 866-603-4005 and receive a confirmation text. Winners will be notified by Thursday, Dec. 1.
Downtown Holly, which is recovering from a devastating fire earlier this year is also hosting Plaid Friday: https://www.mainstreetholly.com/
Downtown Royal Oak has a wealth of activities and diversions planned for shoppers. Get details at www.romi.gov/1567/Downtown.
Downtown Birmingham hosts a Santa Walk at 9:30 am Saturday, with pre-registration required at ALLINBirmingham.com/events. Free homemade hot chocolate from 10 am-2 pm, courtesy of Hazel’s, at the corner of Maple Road and Old Woodward Avenue. Free horse-drawn carriage rides are 11 am-3 pm and leave from Shain Park,