The trees are starting to look barren, and the leaves are gathering on our lawns. We’re starting to take our winter clothing out of storage as we prepare for the colder months ahead.
The temperature keeps dropping, but as the holiday season approaches, there is much to look forward to in Southern Maine. From family get-togethers with delicious food and great company to streets lined with holiday decorations and lights – there is much to love about this time of year.
The Holiday Season (and Shopping Season)
Of course, we all love Thanksgiving. It’s a holiday centered around food and family, after all. It’s a day for spending quality time with loved ones, and to reflect upon the things we’re thankful for each year. The next day (or later that evening in some cases) many of us enjoy taking advantage of the sales happening on Black Friday every year. We brave the crowds and long lines to get the best deals on holiday gifts.
And then there’s Cyber Monday, which is very convenient for those of us who would rather not deal with the crowds or the lines. For those who would rather shop from the convenience of their couch, with a cup of tea in hand, Cyber Monday makes it easy to shop for everyone on your list with just a few clicks.
However, the shopping day that the Ouellet team is looking forward to most is the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Small Business Saturday is November 25th, and we’re excited to shop small this year. There’s just something about supporting small businesses that make the holiday season that much more enjoyable.
Why Shop Small?
The Ouellet team decided to discuss our favorite local small businesses, and what we love about shopping small in southern Maine. Here’s why we love shopping small:
1) Support the Local Economy
Supporting the local economy is important to the members of the Ouellet Construction team. We’re a small business ourselves, and supporting other small businesses of all types is not only in our best interest, but it’s also in the best interest of our local economy. When the economy is good, the quality of life of the members of our community is better. It’s a win for everyone.
2) It Feels Good
Along with the economic benefits of supporting local small businesses, the “good” feeling we get when doing so is priceless. Knowing that buying goods and services from business owners in our community is boosting the economy and also helping local shop owners succeed is a fantastic feeling. Instead of buying from big-box stores on Small Business Saturday, you can make it a point to shop locally. That’s all you have to do to make a difference.
3) Give Unique Gifts
While big-box stores certainly offer a greater variety of products and services to choose from, there’s something a bit more genuine about shopping small. At Ouellet, we find that gifts purchased from a local small business are often much more unique than whatever we may pick up at the nearest mall. Not only are unique gifts more fun to give, but we also enjoy receiving them.
4) Check out Local Talent
In addition to shopping for local products and services, we also like to support local talent. We are surrounded by great artists, musicians, actors/actresses, etc., and enjoy supporting them every chance we get. Without them, our community wouldn’t be as exciting, inspiring, and filled with culture as it is.
5) Eat at Local Restaurants
Let’s not forget the plethora of savory dishes that our local restaurants serve. Every type of cuisine can be found in Southern Maine and beyond, and many restaurants offer stunning water views to boot. Whatever type of dish you may be craving, there’s bound to be a local restaurant, café, pub or coffee shop to satisfy your palate. While there are many chains in the area, there are also many locally-owned eateries that are just waiting to be discovered.
Where to Shop Small?
If you’re looking for a list of places to shop small this year, American Express offers a handy tool for searching in your area. To see a comprehensive list of places to shop small in our community of Brunswick, ME, click here. In addition to the local Brunswick businesses listed, our team recommends checking out the following:
1) Wilbur’s of Maine Chocolates (Freeport and Brunswick)
If you like chocolate, Ouellet recommends Wilbur’s of Maine Chocolates – an 8-time consecutive winner of Down East Magazine’s Reader’s Choice Poll for Maine’s Best Chocolate and Best Candy Shop.
2) Old Port Shops (Portland)
The Ouellet team recommends a visit to downtown Portland. The Old Port is a particularly popular place to shop and is full of unique small businesses to explore, all within walking distance to the waterfront.
3) The Music Center (Brunswick)
The Music Center is a great local place to find new and used musical instruments and accessories. They also offer rentals, lessons, repairs, studio sessions, and more.
4) The Big Top Deli (Brunswick)
Offering breakfast all day, build-your-own sandwiches, burgers, vegetarian options and more, The Big Top Deli is a local favorite worth checking out.
5) The Press Hotel (Portland)
Located in the historic Old Port District, The Press Hotel offers 110 guest rooms decorated with local artwork and a journalistic flair. If you’re visiting the city, you’ll want to stay here if you can.
6) Royal River Grill House (Yarmouth)
The Royal River Grill House offers a comfortable, yet stylish atmosphere, along with great water views and a mix of seasonal and contemporary dishes, many of which are locally sourced.
Supporting Our Community Beyond the Holiday Season
While Small Business Saturday is a great event, many of the Ouellet staff members like to shop small all year long. Even after the Thanksgiving weekend is over, and long after the gift-giving season has come and gone, many of us try to avoid shopping at big-box stores in general, for the reasons stated above, and more.
In addition to shopping small, we also enjoy serving small and local businesses. By offering quality construction services at fair prices, we can support the unique needs our fellow small businesses. Our approach to construction services helps keep operating costs low and maximizes savings for our customers. We build long-term relationships with a goal of providing the most efficient results, every time.