Great businesses help to make great cities, and as we approach Small Business Saturday (November 25th) — a day carved out to honor mom-and-pop shops across the country — I’ve put together a list of places to eat, shop, and hang in Spokane that are keeping greatness alive and well in our city.
Take a moment to think about your favorite cities (it’s okay if you include Spokane). What makes them special? Incredible neighborhoods? Delicious food? Accessible transit? Amazing things to do? When you think about the characteristics of communities that draw us in — neighborhoods we enjoy perusing, spots we like to go — there’s a lot of overlap:
The best places cultivate connectedness. They expose us to art & culture. They help us find community, and offer a sense of home. They are places where we feel nurtured and inspired. Spaces where we feel like we belong.
Small businesses are almost always at the heart of these places — that coffee shop where the barista knows your favorite drink, the local venue who books your favorite bands, the boutique owner who calls when something new comes in, the watering hole where the staff know you and your dog by name.
Local Coffee & Tea
If you’re like me, starting the day off right involves a great cup of coffee (or tea). And with all the small business support-ing you’ll be up to, you’re going to need a pick-me-up. Be sure to try the Lemon Cardamom latte at Thomas Hammer’s LTD Reserve (3173 S. Grand), the Alyssa at Emma Rue’s (15 S. Howard), the Lemon Lavender at Indaba (518 W. Riverside), the Dirty Chai at Hatch (19 W. Main), the Brown Sugar and Clove latte at Ladder (1516 W. Riverside), and the Earl Grey Old Fashioned at Revival Tea Company (415 W. Main Ste. 100).
Local & Unique Shops
Now that you’re well caffeinated (and hopefully well pastry-ied) it’s time to get out there and start shopping local! You better buckle up and put on your comfy shoes, there’s A LOT to see and do!
Looking for something weird, wacky, and just plain fun? Boo Radley’s has you covered. From t-shirts to prayer candles, greeting cards, to incense, they have a little something for everyone. (232 N.Howard). Be sure to head next door to Boo Radley’s sister store Atticus (222 N. Howard) for another great selection of curated gifts. If you’re looking for high-quality items that also make the world a better place then Kizuri (35 W. Main) is your jam. All of their items are fair-trade, eco-friendly, or local, and they too have a little something for all tastes.
Local Vintage & Antique Stores
Raise your hand if you love the thrill of the hunt. Well, you’re in luck because Spokane is home to a bunch of vintage and antique stores. Be sure to check out Chic & Shab (2321 N. Monroe). I particularly love their vendor's Abode and Jones Home Decor. Teleport Vintage (917 W. Broadway) is also great — Jones Home Decor sells out of here too — and has some of the best vintage clothing in town. In fact, Teleport has been a wardrobe supplier for “Dreamin Wild” the film being shot in Spokane starring Casey Affleck and Zooey Deschanel. If you are a lover of all things mid-century you must — MUST — follow Howard House who sells out of 1889 Salvage Company (2824 N. Monroe). Down in Vinegar Flats, Lucky Vintage and Pretty Things is, well, one of the prettiest shops in town. The owners of Lucky travel the world to bring gorgeous items (both vintage and new) to Spokane.
Local Shops & Locally Made Goods
Are you one of those hyper-local, locals? Do you know someone who is interested in not only shopping locally but locally-made? Be sure to check out From Here (inside River Park Square), a retail shop run by my arts nonprofit, Terrain. We sell one-of-a-kind gifts designed and handmade by 100+ Spokane artists & makers. We’re talking jewelry, apparel, home decor, paper goods, and more. If you’re a hyper-local local who is also a proud Spokanite, From Here is home to a new Spokane-themed apparel and accessories collab between Terrain and local artists called Terrain X that will drop November 27th.
Other locally-made musts include Pottery Place Plus (203 N. Washington), an artist cooperative inside the Liberty Building, and Saranac Art Projects, and Trackside Studio who both have shows in December focused on gift-giving season.
Houseplants! They’re all the rage these days and I must say, Spokane is doing right by the houseplant trend. The Chop Shop (2808 N. Monroe) is chock full of beautiful, pet-friendly varieties and has upcycled pots, a potting supply bar, and other fun oddities that make this plant shop extra special. Pro Tip: The Chop Shop is doing 20% off houseplants and 10% off collector plants for Small Business Saturday. Fern is another beautiful plant store with 3 different locations (2 in Spokane and 1 in Coeur d’ Alene).
You know that saying “reading is sexy?” Well, it’s true! And Spokane has small, independent bookstores that rival the best. I’m looking at you Auntie’s (402 W. Main), Giant Nerd Books (607 W. Garland), 2nd Look Books (2829 E. 29th), and Wishing Tree (1410 E. 11th). I mentioned it already, but Atticus has a great, highly curated book collection as well. In addition to selling those magical things that expand our knowledge, develop our thoughts, and increase our imagination (NBD), Spokane’s independent bookstores also offer an array of events like author talks that build community. Pro tip: Be sure to check out Vintage Vending when visiting Giant Nerd Books.
Local Resale & Vintage Clothing Boutiques
If you’re like me and need a little inspiration to ditch the sweatpants you’ve been wearing the past 20 months (welcome to my personal pep talk), Spokane’s finest resale and vintage clothing boutiques might help. Fringe & Fray (1325 W. First Ave.) is one of my faves with a mix of modern and vintage clothing (and decor). Their prices are right and the selection is good. Garland Resale (11 S. Howard) is a thrift and consignment store with a focus on sustainable style. They also sell a handful of home goods and locally made products. Veda Lux (1106 S. Perry St) is also a local fave. Pro Tip: Check our Veda Lux’s daily Peep Show to see what’s new on the racks.
Local Events & Entertainment
Spokane is a city that LOVES events and there are a couple coming up that aim to support local businesses. BrrrZAAR (December 16th), also put on by my arts org Terrain, is Spokane’s largest, all-local art market, featuring 70 local vendors, live music, and kids' activities. Located on ALL three floors of River Park Square, BrrrZAAR is the city’s premier holiday shopping experience.
New Local Restaurants
Speaking of restaurants, Spokane’s culinary scene is most definitely something to brag about. While there are a TON of restaurants worthy of support, I thought I’d shout out a couple of newer businesses to hit the town. The Bad Seed (2936 E. Olympic) is located in a beautiful historic library in Hillyard and focused on Tex-Mex and Kismet (3020 E. Queen) is also in Hillyard and focused on Latin-inspired cuisine.
So back to thinking about great cities. When you attend that Christmas show at Lucky You or connect with friends over coffee at Thomas Hammer. When you find that Spokane-themed gift at From Here or see one of your favorite authors at Aunties. I hope you not only get excited about supporting small, local businesses, but you recognize the unique experiences these businesses provide, making Spokane not only a wonderful place to visit, but my favorite place to call home.