Cottage industry shows up for Small Business Saturday

LaGRANGE – Storefronts weren’t the only ones holding sales for Small Business Saturday this year: the cottage industry showed up for the event, too.

Vendors chatted happily as they compared their work on Saturday in the Thrifty Kids parking lot in downtown LaGrange where local cottage industry makers gathered for Small Business Saturday.

“You give these people hope so that – we’ve got 17 small businesses in here right now – and people don’t generally think of the home businesses as small businesses,” said Amanda James, the owner of Thrifty Kids, who had invited local makers to use her store and parking lot for the event. “They think of my store. They think of people on the square as small business, but they don’t recognize those as small business, but they are. That is how people are making their money, how they’re surviving.”

All of the vendors at the event were passionate about buying from their friends and neighbors because of what that support does for their community.

“I want to support other people,” said Abbey Stilwell of Bonnets and Booties. “This (business) allows me to stay home with my children and still help out financially. There is something special about buying from your neighbor. There is just that feeling of knowing you are helping your neighbor pay their rent just like they’re helping you. … When I buy from (small business), I may be helping buy her son a birthday present.”

The customization made possible by buying local is also a benefit of buying from local vendors who can customize their products to meet your wants and needs.

“I would much rather my money go to somebody local then one of the big businesses,” said Amanda Lake, who was selling her metal work at the event. “… I enjoy buying handmade. It’s different. It’s unique and you know nobody else is going to have it. I enjoy that.”

Even when they don’t make much from their craft, the vendors commented on how much fun they have getting to meet new people and form new relationships.

“Just meeting people, getting to know people that is what’s important,” said Beth Sun of Sew Loved by Granna.

James expressed hopes of making the gathering of the different vendors at Thrifty Kids an annual tradition and said that she planned to begin to carry items from two of the vendors after the event. Thrifty Kids is located at 119 Ridley Avenue and is open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdaythrough Thursday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays.