Thanksgiving hasn’t passed yet, so on principle, we can’t mention the holiday season that comes after it. Let’s just say, we’ll be ringing bells and hanging lights a week from now. But since some of our favorite businesses are getting a head start on the-holiday-which-must-not-be-named, we wanted to give them a shout-out and remind you to shop local this year.
The fun kicks off tonight with Mass Ave Midnight Shopper. The shops along Massachusetts Avenue will stay open until midnight, and many are offering special deals. The local shopping fun continues into next week with Small Business Saturday on November 28.
And now, to celebrate the holiday season we can’t yet mention and show our local businesses some love, the Pivoteers present a few of our favorite small businesses in Indy.
Ryan Abegglen: James Dant—A Store for Men
This men’s clothing and accessories store in the heart of Irvington focuses on unique, local, and heritage brands. Need something built to last that looks great? Tommy, the owner and CEO, will hook you up.
Almost everything they sell is something you won’t find anywhere else in town. They also just became one of the only (if not the only) retailers in Indy to stock Shinola watches, a Detroit legend. I go for Imperial hair products, Deus Ex Machina clothing, and Onyx candles. And their selection of local clothing brands is the best around. (Full disclosure: I’m a little biased because James Dant also stocks Dead Ace Co., my line of vintage-inspired apparel.)
Let’s face it, for every square foot of retail space dedicated to menswear, there are probably 1,000 dedicated to women. And the majority of what’s actually available is ugly, ill-fitting, or poorly made. Tommy makes shopping nice and easy by only stocking the good stuff. No guesswork required. Plus, it always smells great in there.
Erin Walgamuth: Silver in the City
Silver in the City has become my go-to gift shop. They have a little bit of everything. Imagine the little book section in Urban Outfitters, but with more things you actually want—and then some. That’s pretty much this shop.
They have cookbooks, picture frames, socks, and everything in between (read: unnecessary but awesome desk items). And I’m a total nerd for cards, so when I don’t want to make the trek to Paper Source, this is my spot. They also have really unique mugs.
Everything in this store is a smile item—something that will brighten your day. You’ll see a tiny wooden squirrel and pick it up thinking, “Who needs a tiny squirrel?” Then you imagine someone (in this case, my friend Breanne, who loves squirrels), laugh to yourself, and think, “Oh yeah, Breanne needs this tiny little squirrel!”
Union Williams: Mass Ave Toys
Mass Ave Toys sells upscale toys along with other odds and ends. Let me be clear: This is not the kind of stuff you see at Wal-Mart. No wonder it’s become a staple stop for my wife and me when we’re buying gifts for friends’ kids or just looking for something unique and fun. Plus, it’s conveniently located near our gym, our favorite restaurants, and great bars. We love it.
Joshua Cook: Wildwood Market
This specialty grocery store offers the freshest, most delicious local and seasonal produce, dairy, meat, cheeses. Every day for lunch they craft a limited number of tasty sandwiches, soups, and salads. They source ingredients locally from folks like Amelia’s Bread, Batch No. 2, Smoking Goose, Circle City Sweets, Big City Farms, Tyner Pond Farm, and Growing Places Indy (just to to name a few, then post a photo of their daily offerings on Instagram at 11 a.m. Then it’s a mad dash to grab a bite before it’s gone.
Wildwood is a favorite of mine because they have quality stuff. Whether I’m grabbing a quick bite to eat, ordering a cheese board, or buying coffee beans and flowers for my wife, I love being able to support Wildwood and a handful of other local shops. Side note: I’ve yet to make it down on a Saturday, but their Saturday breakfast sandwiches look fantastic.
Ashly Myers: Nicey Treat
Nicey offers all-natural, handmade popsicles. They frequently rotate flavors, so you can always try something new when you go. Even though it makes a rare appearance on the menu, my favorite is pistachio (dipped in dark chocolate, of course). But you can’t really go wrong. I mean, they’re popsicles—what’s not to love?!
There are so many great things about this business, from the recycled-billboard insulated bags for bulk purchases to the free popsicle you get if you bring in 10 sticks from previous purchases. The popsicle makers are fearless in their flavor experiments, giving us goodies such as sweet corn, sour cherry cola, and key lime pie. And the name doesn’t lie—the folks who run the shop are some of the nicest people you’ll ever meet.
Josh Taylor: Vardagen
Vardagen offers awesome shirts and sweaters with really great designs. Whether it’s monsters or tigers or wizards melting an oncoming skeleton horde, every illustration is killer. And they’re always creating cool new products. Last year, they designed and sold Gen Con-themed shirts. I thought that was pretty awesome since I go to Gen Con every year. For a standard store item, my all-time favorite design of theirs is the Bling Bear.
Dawn Olsen: Homespun
Homespun is located on Mass Ave and is devoted to contemporary handmade goods. You’ll find clothing, jewelry, soap, candles, coffee, sweets, stationery, kitchen utensils, children’s toys, canvases, you name it. If it’s crated, it’s there. Many of the designers are local, but they also stock items from Chicago, Ohio, Kentucky, Michigan, New York, and even Idaho.
Homespun isn’t just a store. It’s a workshop. Learn how to knit. How to make candles. Soap. Jewelry. Homespun is a destination for creativity and inspiration.
I love visiting Homespun because I know I’ll walk out the door with exactly what I need and more. If I’m looking for a birthday present for my mom, I’ll also pick up some soap and a few funky magnets. If I’m in search of a get-well card or an engagement card, I find it there. I’m proud to support a local business and, in the process, support independent designers and creators. Plus, there’s always some new trinket to discover. Or some 240 Sweet marshmallows to sample.
Jordan Hunt: Yonder Clothing Co.
Yonder Clothing Co. offers handcrafted, high quality clothing that’s distinctly Indiana-made. Why do I love it? Well, duh. The clothing looks awesome, plus it’s super comfortable. (Admittedly, I’m a little biased because I’m friends with the guy who runs it, but I’m pretty sure I’d love this place even if I didn’t have an in with the owner.)
Keri Kirschner: CITYOGA
CITYOGA sells inner peace. Oh, and yoga classes and soft yoga clothes and things that smell amazing. They have classes for everyone: Couples yoga. Gong meditation. Teacher training. Yoga for kids. Even Y12SR (a yoga version of 12-step recovery for addiction).
The teachers make this place great. Adrienne Lovell and the owner Dave Sims are incredibly inspiring. The studio’s emphasis on meditation and mindfulness is unlike anything else offered in Indy. When you walk in the front door, you instantly feel better. Ommmmmmmm.
Derek Hulsey: Arthur’s Music
Arthur’s selection of new and used instruments is extensive, always rotating, and always interesting. If you need a left-handed banjolin, check there first. Betcha five bucks they’ve got it.
Arthur’s is cool because the people are cool. When I walk in, I get a casual “Hey, how’s it going?” and then they leave me alone to browse to my heart’s content. But when I have a question about a guitar, there’s always someone around with a friendly answer. And, most importantly, that answer won’t include selling or upselling me on anything.
Melissa Rowe: Tomlinson Tap Room
After shopping around town for Christmas gifts, treat yourself to a pint at Tomlinson Tap Room. They’re located on the second floor of the City Market, and they feature a rotating selection of Indiana-only craft beers. I love the cozy atmosphere and friendly staff. They’re always happy to help recommend the right brew for you. Don’t leave without filling a growler to bring to your next holiday party.