Keep dollars local by shopping small for the holidays

By: Mary Beth Almond | Rochester Post | Published November 21, 2022

 The push to shop small comes just before Plaid Friday, Nov. 25, and  Small Business Saturday, held this year on Saturday, Nov. 26.

The push to shop small comes just before Plaid Friday, Nov. 25, and Small Business Saturday, held this year on Saturday, Nov. 26.

Photo Brad Ziegler, provided by the Rochester Downtown Development Authority


ROCHESTER HILLS/ROCHESTER/OAKLAND TOWNSHIP — Some argue that it’s even more important to buy locally this holiday season, which in turn can help support the community.

The push to shop small comes just before Plaid Friday — which celebrates the diversity and creativity of independent businesses — and Small Business Saturday, held this year on Friday, Nov. 25, and Saturday, Nov. 26, respectively.

“We encourage all of our shoppers to avoid the mall and shop small,” said Jenna O’Dell, the events coordinator for downtown Rochester.

On Nov. 25, shoppers are encouraged to wear plaid and head to downtown Rochester for a day of shopping to support local merchants as an alternative to the consumer frenzy of Black Friday. Shoppers can enjoy store discounts, promotions and giveaways with the downtown merchants.

Now in its 13th year, Small Business Saturday serves as the ceremonial kickoff to the holiday shopping season for small businesses across the United States.

“There are so many places downtown that people don’t even realize what’s behind the doors … so go in, look and explore,” said Renee Perkins, who owns The Funky Frog Children’s Resale Boutique. “You don’t even have to leave Rochester to get all your Christmas shopping done.”

Small businesses often pour their energy, time and money into local events and organizations that help strengthen the ties within a community. Many support local nonprofits with holiday toy drives, raffles and fundraisers.

The Funky Frog is once again hosting a giving tree for Neighborhood House in Rochester. The nonprofit provides rent and utility financial assistance, operates a food pantry and clothes closet, offers transportation services, provides counseling, and facilitates educational programs for families in need in Rochester, Rochester Hills, Auburn Hills, Oakland Township and Addison Township.

Perkins said another local resale shop in town — Whoo: Upscale Resale for a Cause — is charity based, so when you shop with them, you not only support the environment through the reduce, reuse, recycle lifestyle, but each sale generates funds and in-kind donations to help Detroit and metro Detroit neighborhoods, various charities, and other local groups.

“When you shop with them, you’re not only getting something that is maybe really valuable and unique that you’re not going to find at the mall, but you are also giving back to the charities they are supporting that month,” said Perkins.

Bizzy Buzz Artisan Market — which features handmade goods such as jewelry, etched glass, string art, soaps, Detroit apparel and more, all made by local artisans — is a community of sorts within a store.

“Hundreds of people are impacted by your purchase in that store; it’s not just the store owner and their family, it’s all the artisans in there too,” Perkins said.

Pamela Walther, who owns the business with her husband, Ryan, said she considers Bizzy Buzz a small business incubator.

“We have 90-100 artists, depending on how full we are, and they are all within an hour from downtown Rochester,” Walther said. “When you’re shopping at Bizzy Buzz, you’re supporting your local community — it’s your family, your friends, your neighbors.”

Artisans who are interested in selling their goods at the shop can fill out an application at www.bizzy

Maryanne and Phil Munroe own The Spice and Tea Exchange in Rochester, which opened downtown in October. The specialty dry goods store offers over 80 custom spice blends for cooking, over 50 loose leaf teas, and between 30 and 40 different salts and sugars.

“The highlight of our store is that we custom blend everything in store, so it’s fresh ingredients and fresh blends,” Maryanne Munroe said. “It really is a sensory experience.”

The couple, who live in Rochester, paused their careers as a chef and an educator to work together and bring the business concept to Rochester.

“We brought in our daughter as our manager and my mom as a volunteer greeter, so it’s a family-centered location with an amazing team that are Rochester residents,” Maryanne Munroe said.

Ten percent of all store proceeds are donated to a local nonprofit — which are currently going to Gift of Giving, a nonprofit that supports Avondale School District families in need of food and gifts during the holiday season.

“As we get established, we are also going to be a training and work site for adults with disabilities. My background is in special education, so I really want to be a vehicle for adults with disabilities to be able to gain employment and sustain it in a positive and confident way,” Maryanne Munroe said

As an added bonus, the Rochester Downtown Development Authority is once again giving away a $500 downtown Rochester shopping spree. Shoppers will need to text SHOPSMALL to (866) 603-4005 and then will be prompted to text a picture of their receipt from a purchase made at a downtown Rochester business Nov. 25 or 26. The winner will be selected and contacted on Thursday, Dec. 1.

For a full list of Plaid Friday participating businesses and promotions, visit For a full list of promotions for Small Business Saturday, visit

For more information on all Rochester DDA events, call (248) 656-0060 or visit