It’s easy to shop small on San Juan Island thanks to the San Juan Island Artisans’ Holiday Market. The event has been a venue for local artists to sell their work for nearly 40 years.
“It’s a wonderful gift-buying event, a lot of locals come out, some visitors here for the holiday,” said Paula West of Paula West Pottery.
One day of the market takes place on Small Business Saturday, a holiday that promotes local independent retailers on the Saturday following Thanksgiving. That’s important to island shoppers like Bev Champlin.
“First of all, it’s here, it’s convenient,” said Champlin. “We like our local artists and our local store owners and we like to see them do well, so we try to shop here as much as possible.”
According to recent national surveys, about 48 percent of independent business purchases recirculates locally, compared to less than 14 percent from chain stores.
That community support is important to islanders like Dan Tucker, who hand carves cooking utensils for his company Pippen Hedge.
“Living on an island means that you depend on your neighbors in a way that may not be the same on the mainland where you have big box stores in any direction you chose to go,” he said. “People here really feel the importance of supporting their local businesses.”
Plus, with more than 200 on-island members of the local chamber of commerce, there are plenty of small shopping options this holiday season.
For more information on San Juan retailers, visit www.sanjuanisland.org.