This year, on Black Friday, The Book Table donated 10% of all in store sales to West Suburban PADS.

Careful Peach threw a huge party in September to benefit The Children’s School.

Green Home Experts sold bird houses all summer and the money went to Hepzhibah.

And right now you can pick up luminary kits at Magic Tree Bookstore that help out The Oak Park and River Forest Day Nursery.

There are countless other small businesses in our area that give all year long. Small donation opportunities for silent auctions, food donations for pasta fundraisers, and gift certificate requests for simple school incentives: those requests are fulfilled all year by our small local beloved retailers.

In this season of giving I really do plan my gift purchases to support those organizations. It’s my, “Thank you.” It’s a conscious decision that takes some careful planning.

The easy thing would be to log on to and make all of my holiday purchases with free shipping; pay with paypal; and be done with it. The easy thing would be to expand a grocery shopping trip into a “multi-dimensional” gift purchase extravaganza and get it all done in a 2 hour big box trip.

Truthfully, I don’t mind the hustle and bustle of the big box. I enjoy the rush of the shopping season. Everyone is high energy, friendly (mostly), and happy to be busy (mostly). So a little bit of big box shopping isn’t beyond me. And if you know me, our household income depends upon a very nice big box, so I support them too. I go for a fair balance.

But let’s be honest, we don’t get that much of a chance to say thank you these days. And my way of saying thank you to The Book Table, Careful Peach, Magic Tree, Bead in Hand and countless others, is to plan my gift giving budget. I have to plan ahead though. I have to make the effort. I have to find a parking space.

I often feel like I should say to the people at The Eastgate Cafe as I make a purchase, “I’m here because you let the Ukelele Meet-up group play here, and even though I can’t participate, I want to support their creativity and say thank you.” Arcade Jewelers in Riverside supports each special section we develop here without question and Robin’s customer service is outstanding. I’m planning a purchase there this holiday season too: “Thank you for always supporting us at Wednesday Journal so we can be creative.”

Thank you small and local retailers who make a point to give all year by supporting the wonderful efforts of our communities. Thank you for supporting our commitment to delivering local news. Thank you.

Join the discussion on social media!

Sarah, a life long Oak Parker, enjoys supporting local small business as much as possible.  With over 20 years in big box and little box retail, she brings a unique perspective to our local business community. ...