Small Business Saturday – Jersey Style

While many people look forward to Black Friday for a good deal on a television set, I look forward to Small Business Saturday.

Small businesses are the driving force behind the nation’s economy. According to the Small Business Administration, in 2013, New Jersey small businesses employed over 1.7 people. More than 50 percent of those companies have more than 500 employees. Whenever possible, I work to support local businesses, and Small Business Saturday is a perfect time to get out and support businesses in your community.

Here are some great small businesses in New Jersey to check out:

Starting at the top of New Jersey in Sussex County, Peters Valley in Layton offers a number peters-valleyof wonderful hand-made goods, so not only are you supporting a small business, you are supporting the arts. There’s always something new to check out. Whenever I am up in Sussex County, I stop in to see what it new and rarely leave empty handed.

Moving down Sussex County, check out Whitewater Flies. If you have someone on your list that enjoys fly fishing and the outdoors, check out this great little fly shop. Greg and his team are incredibly helpful and can guide you to make the best picks possible.

Entering Morris County, I love going to downtown Denville. The main drag is almost completely small businesses. Faith and Begorra offers some great Irish and Catholic gifts, such as handmade sweaters and Irish jewelry. Kevin’s Fine Jewelry has beautiful jewelry in a variety of different price ranges. If you need a lunch break, head to Sergio’s for an Italian treat and then to Mara’s for some dessert.

If you have a book lover on your list, I recommend you check out the Old Book Shop in Morristown. They have a great selection of old and limited edition books as well as magazines and vintage post cards.

shop-chester-njAnother favorite small town in Morris County is Chester. The historic downtown retail district is lined with great shops filled with art, antiques, and more. I always enjoy walking around Chester Crafts, Collectibles & Antiques. There is always something unique and interesting and is a great place to find that special gift for someone on your list. Objects of Desire is another great shop full of handmade jewelry and a variety of accessories.

Growing up in Essex County, I used to love to go to Bloomfield Avenue in Montclair. One of my favorite stops was always The Inner Eye. This was always a unique place and you never knew what you were going to find. Just off Bloomfield Avenue on Church Street, you’ll find That Little Black Dress. There is always something unique available and it was voted a favorite New Jersey boutique.

Frenchtown1-smA great spot in Hunterdon County is Frenchtown. I wrote about a visit to Frenchtown during the summer. Of course my favorite spot is The Spinnery. If you have a yarn lover on your list, this is the place to go! If you have someone with a sweet tooth, check out Minette’s Candies. They have not only all the hard-to-find candy brands we grew up with, they have great stuff like truffles and chocolate covered pretzels.

At the tip of the state, you’ll find Cape May; a favorite spot of mine. Check out the Whale’s Tale and Splash for great unique gifts with a “down the shore” feel. If you want a sweet treat with a real Jersey feel, pick up a gift at James Candy Company. I’ve picked up Fralinger’s Original Salt Water for something different as a hostess gift when going to a party.

These are just a few of the different and wonderful small businesses you will find in New Jersey. I hope you will use Small Business Saturday as a good excuse to check out the great businesses that are in your area. What are your favorite businesses? Please add to the list in the comments section below.

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Show Your Jersey Pride

Anyone who knows me is keenly aware I am not someone who is into fashion trends. What I am into is showing off my Jersey pride. I wanted to share with everyone some great finds you can wear or display to show off your Jersey pride!

Alex-Ani-NJAlex & Ani: OK, like I said, I generally am  not a “fashion trend” type of person, but I really like the A&A bracelets. My favorite, of course, is their version of a Jersey show off. As soon as I saw it, I had to have it!

The Home T: I saw this awhile back on Shark Tank. I thought it was a really good idea. It is simple, the shirts are great quality and it is a neat way to show off your state pride. I was a little disappointed with the price, but it is still cool.

Watercolor Art: There are lots of great ways to show off your love for New Jersey I love original artwork and the horseshoe crab is synonymous with the horseshoe crabJersey shore. I absolutely love this piece highlighting this ancient creature everyone has seen at least once in their life at the shore.

Cape May Diamond: You know what they say, diamonds are a girl’s best friend. Something that Cape May is known for is their own unique version of the diamond. It actually isn’t a “real” diamond. The “diamonds” actually start in the upper Delaware River and wash down river, brushing against rocks along the way, to create the smooth looking stone. The best beach to locate these diamonds is Sunset Beach in Cape May Point, NJ. Sunset beach is located on the Delaware Bay. There is also a small shop there with the stones cut and displayed as beautiful jewelry. I have a lovely solitaire necklace!

What are your favorite ways to show off your Jersey pride?

Business Spotlight: Sisters

Sisters Denville, NJSince I started a new job I have been able to head down to Denville’s town center much more often than in the past. They have a great little center full of small locally-owned businesses. Today at lunch I had the opportunity to check out a shop I’ve been wanting to visit for awhile – Sisters.

This adorable little boutique has a great collection of items for sale. Handbags from Vera Bradley and Brighton, beautiful wraps, and a great line of New Jersey t-shirts, just to name a few.

When I went in the shop, there were a few women decorating for the official start of the Christmas shopping season. I am sure they will be busy this Small Business Saturday. They were very pleasant and made themselves available without being pushy – certainly a retail trait I wish more businesses wound understand. The store offers great products in esthetically pleasing presentations.

As the shopping season gets underway, I highly recommend you check this shop out. You can definitely find something unique there and you will be supporting a local small business!

Shopping Small Online

I love to shop small whenever possible. One shop I really enjoy is The Urban Muse in Denville. It is a relaxing day spa with a truly unique shop attached. They have the absolute best stuff! Every time I go in there I always find something I love.

Georgene Novak

Copper Cuff by Georgene Novak.

Well now they just launched an online shop, so you can shop small online! They carry highly regarded brands as well as original work from various artisans. One of my favorites is Georgene Novak, a North Jersey native. She makes beautiful jewelry and also offers jewelry making classes. I definitely want to take one of her classes in 2014!

So if you like to shop online (like I do), make sure you try to shop small on the Internet as well. I am sure you won’t be disappointed!