Monday, November 25, 2013

Shop Small Saturday in Fairfield, CT

Shop Small & Expect Stylish Savings in Downtown Fairfield

While Black Friday has traditionally signified the official start of the holiday shopping season, in recent years, the giant-that-is-Black-Friday has been forced to share the stage with another holiday tradition: Shop Small Saturday.

Riding on the heels of a hectic, competitive, elbow-throwing shopping day, Shop Small Saturday offers a more community-themed shopping environment. Blessed with the charm and excitement of the early holiday season, shoppers are invited to show their support of small businesses by visiting their favorite local shops. The Shop Small trend started a few years back, and is picking up speed in local business districts (thanks, in part, no doubt, to a big push by American Express; more about that later*).

Take Fairfield, CT for instance (yup, I'm gonna go ahead and highlight my hometown in this post. And who can blame me? Fairfield rocks!). This bustling seaside town has a vibrant downtown shopping district, featuring a unique blend of historic buildings, delicious restaurants, chain retailers, and, of course, one-of-a-kind local boutiques. At first glance, a budget shopper might be intimidated by the high-end vibes of downtown Fairfield, but, never fear, these shops offer a variety of perfect products for any budget.

Small Business Saturday in Downtown Fairfield

As you'll notice below, some Fairfield shops are running big sales, some have simply registered with American Express Shop Small, and others are just there, ready to welcome you with open arms while you complete your holiday shopping. But whatever your reason, I urge you to shop small on Saturday and help to support local businesses. These shops give our towns character and personality, and, as you'll see below, they offer us unique and personalized experiences that won't ever be replicated by the big-box stores.

Island Outfitters, 1189 Post Road (in the Brick Walk Promenade) 
Island Outfitters has an amazing sale this weekend: from Friday-Sunday, the entire store will be 20% offIf brands like Lilly Pulitzer, Vineyard Vines, and Patagonia aren't normally in your budget, this is a great opportunity to scoop some up at a great price (and those labels are sure to please the preppy-style high school and college kids in your life). But if you don't want to fight the crowds this weekend, you don't need to wait until Saturday to take advantage of great sales: they're currently running the following promotions: 40% off cashmere for men and women, 30% off loafers and boots, and 40% off their remaining beautiful Jack Rogers sandals. In addition, there's a rack full of summer clearance items at 60% off (and FYI, I spotted some Lilly Pulitzer on that rack--I doubt that will last long--act fast)!

Dash N Drizzle, 11 Unquowa Road

Dash N Drizzle, a gourmet Oil & Vinegar bar, is a sure bet for gifts this holiday season (and I dare you to try to walk out without picking something up for yourself, too). Rustic wood shelves are lined with endless varieties of oil and vinegar, and the friendly and knowledgeable owners will help you sample and select the perfect combinations for anyone on your list. Your taste buds will be spinning as you try and decide which ones to take home. 

This weekend, Dash N Drizzle is offering a great promotion: buy any two 375ml bottles, get one 50ml bottle free (see the pic below)! This is a great way to double-up on gift-giving, and a stop for a relaxing, tasty break in the middle of your busy holiday shopping. They also offer sampler packs, which make great corporate or employee gifts. Dash N Drizzle offers affordable, unique, and gourmet gifts for any time of year. Got guests coming over the holidays? You're certain to impress them by drizzling some Italian flavor-fuzed aged balsamic vinegar over a plate of soft cheese, or even as a topping to your favorite sorbet. The options are endless. Stop in to learn more!

The Tennis Spot, 1510 Post Road

The Tennis Spot, located in a prime location right downtown is running a great sale this weekend; they're doing 25% off all in-store apparel and select footwear! Many of their racquets are also 10-30% off, so it's a great time to trade up! They've got a great selection of shoes and apparel for men, women, and kids, so now's the time to grab some name-brand tennis gear for a lot less. While you're at it, when's the last time you had your racquet restrung? Bring it along and set up an appointment with a Master Racquet Technician.

Snappy Gator, 1438 Post Road

You can't miss Snappy Gator as you stroll the streets of downtown Fairfield; among the many gorgeous window displays in town, theirs is the only one adorned with a stunning yellow Vespa! Step inside and you're instantly greeted by a cool color palette complimented by beautiful clothes and accessories. Got an Alex and Ani fan on your list? Pick up some bangles after selecting the perfect dress for your Christmas dinner... and speaking of dresses, ALL DRESSES in Snappy Gator are 20% off on Friday and Saturday!

Palooza, 1636 Post Road

Looking at Palooza from the street, it's slightly deceiving. Sure, it's obvious that you're going to find gorgeous, shabby chic home decor inside (I mean, can I please take that whole window display and transport it to my living room?), but I had no idea how big it was until I went in. Upon entrance, you're immediately greeted by the soothing smell of a fresh burning candle (even my 4-year old commented on how good it smelled inside), and everywhere you look you'll find gorgeous displays full of gift ideas and home accents. It's the perfect place for home decor (Sugarboo, anyone?), gifts, framing, and rugs. Yes, I said rugs. And not just any rugs. Palooza carries my absolute favorite brand of rug, Dash & Albert (you can catch of glimpse of my Dash & Albert dining room rug in this past post). And if you haven't been in lately, you'll be pleasantly surprised by the new their selection of designs. The owner, Carol, is a great source for design ideas; after only a quick chat with her, I found out that Dash & Albert runners can also be used stair runners (and at a much more affordable price tag than traditional options). So guess what project just got added to my beach cottage "to-do" list? I just can't decide between the turquoise criss-cross or the lobsters!

Vintage Garden Gifts, 1189 Post Road (in the Brick Walk Promenade)

While Vintage Garden isn't running any specific sales for Small Business Saturday, they've registered with American Express, and the store is packed with gorgeous gifts ideas. Vintage Garden may ring a bell with some of you; their beautiful ornaments were featured in my Secret Santa Series a few weeks ago. They're also a full floral and design shop, so if you're really feeling organized, go ahead and place your Christmas flower orders while you're out!

Party Party, 14 Sanford Street

When you visit Party Party, you're welcomed into a sun-filled, cheery room with bright colors and engaging displays. You'll find everything from custom gifts and stationary to unique and fun party supplies. See those melamine platters, plates, and catchalls in the photos? Each one is original and finished by a local artist. Customize it even further with a monogram, and you've got a the perfect personalized and affordable holiday gift. Prices on that line (including monograms) start at a very reasonable $25! Stop in to Party Party and you sure to get inspired this holiday season (actually, any season, for that matter)! P.S. Need help planning a party? Get in touch with owner Mary, an event planner with access {clearly} to all the best stuff!

Chic Jolie, 1215 Post Road (in the Brick Walk Promenade)

Chic Jolie offers chic, casual French styles, and gives true meaning to the word "boutique."  Find one-of-a kind looks for your winter wardrobe and holiday attire. Stop in on Saturday and enjoy holiday savings, complimentary gift wrap, and refreshments

Jenny Boston, 1300 Post Road

Stop into Jenny Boston to find great styles among their selections of clothes, accessories, and jewelry. Interested in hosting a fundraiser? Partner up with them for a fun fundraising-party experience, anytime of year. 

Zane's Cycles, 1215 Post Road

A new bike on anyone's Christmas list this year? Zane's is the perfect place to find one. The selection, prices, and customer service at Zanes is hard to beat. If you've got kids, you'll definitely be interested in their Re-Cycle program, in which you trade in any 12 or 16 inch bike purchased from Zane's and receive full credit towards the purchase of a new bike (kind of a no-brainer here; we're currently using it for both daughters)! Zane's also offers a 30-day test ride program to ensure that you're completely happy with the bike you chose. There are plenty of other perks offered to customers, so be sure to stop in and learn more. As an aside, Zane's follows a super-cool business model which you can learn more about in Owner Chris Zane's book, Reinventing the Wheel.

La Moda Fashions, 1434 Post Road

La Moda offers a wide range of hip clothing and accessories. A great place for women's gifts, or simply to shop for yourself! They're not running any special Shop Small promotions, but if you "Like" them on Facebook (and bring your smart phone to prove it), you'll receive 10% off your purchase! Nothing not to "like" about that ;)

Flip Flop Shops, 1552 Post Road

Flip Flop Shops mentioned that they were definitely planning a promotion for this weekend, but they weren't able to fill me in on the details just yet.  Visit the shop and find a huge selection of casual footwear for men, women, and kids, and expect some special deals while you're there! 

The Beehive, 1561 Post Road

As soon as you set foot into The Beehive, you'll see why it's known as a one-stop-shop for all your gifting needs. From unique and beautiful plates and cutting boards to high-end baby products, after one trip, you'll be able to check plenty of items off your holiday gift list. The shop has a cool, crisp, nautical feel, and offers a selection you won't find anywhere else.

What do you think? Excited yet? I am! And this is just a small peek at what Fairfield has to offer. Not in the neighborhood? You don't need to be. There are hundreds and hundreds of small businesses out there ready for your patronage this holiday weekend. If you're traveling for Thanksgiving, why not venture out and explore some new small businesses, I know I will!

As if you'd need another reason to come out to Fairfield this weekend, Santa Claus will be making a special visit to the town green at 10am! Check out more details on Suzy Said.

Happy Shop Small Saturday!

Are you heading out to shop on Saturday? Let us know what deals you find in the comment section, and help spread the Shop Small love!

FYI, I wasn't able to make it into every downtown Fairfield business, but please don't take it personally if I missed you. Feel free to contact me if you've got a current promotion to highlight or if you'd like to be included in similar posts in the future. Likewise, if you're one of the shops that was still working out the details and you've now got new information, let me know and I'll get it posted!

*Now, about American Express: You've probably seen commercials or gotten the emails about American Express and Shop Small Saturday. You may have just blocked them out (like I did initially), but it's actually a pretty cool perk for Amex card holders. Basically, for it works like this: shoppers register their Amex cards online (before Saturday). When you make a purchase of $10 or more at a participating "Shop Small" this Saturday (Nov. 30, 2013), you'll receive a $10 credit on your credit card. Each store has to register, too, and most of the ones I visited were participating, but if you want to check to be sure, you can use this map tool on the Amex website. And no, I have no affiliation with Amex. I just like to save money... and the Amex perks are generally pretty cool. One final note on this; the shop owners don't get any perks out of this deal, so when they register, they're just doing it for us. So take advantage, and maybe say 'thanks!'

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