I’ve been fortunate to visit hundreds – probably thousands – of small businesses all across America as part of the Small Business Revolution. I’ve seen firsthand the way that every dollar spent at a small business goes to improve a local community, whether it’s helping families put food on the table or being invested back into programs like the local Little League team.
I love to shop local for the holidays and if you’re like me, you’re always looking for new shops to explore. Here are some of my favorite small businesses, right here where I live, in the Twin Cities.
From winter flannels to wear by the fireplace to the perfect tank top to bring to the lake, Sota Clothing has something for any Minnesotan. The company began in 2011 when Spencer Johnson sketched a few designs as part of a class project and has steadily grown into a household name across the state. To learn more about Johnson’s story, check out this episode of Small Talks.
Minnesota Nice Spice
This local small business’s mission is what “Doing Well by Doing Good” is all about. Every time someone purchases one of its hand-crafted blends of spices, sisters and co-founders Debb and Lucy Masterson donate a portion of the proceeds to Interact Center, a one-of-a-kind organization that supports more than 125 theater and visual artists with disabilities. Their spices are available online or you can find them at your local grocery store.
Larissa Loden creates and sells incredible handmade jewelry in the Twin Cities. I discovered her work at MSP Airport, but have since seen her pieces in a variety of retail shops in the area and of course in her studio, located in northeast Minneapolis. With 5 percent of her profits benefitting Cookie Cart, a local nonprofit, you can’t go wrong with Loden’s jewelry.
MakeShift offers beautiful gifts that tell a story. Owner Devin Johnson creates each piece from 100 percent upcycled materials. From a money clip made from a WWII shell casing to a cuff made of a vintage silver tray edge, every piece makes for a sustainable and unforgettable gift.
The Twin Cities is full of wonderful boutiques, and Kisa on Nicollet Mall is no exception. While studying abroad in Turkey, Emily Kisa fell in love with local fashion. She and her husband Calgar founded the shop, which celebrates their passion for both Turkish and Minnesotan culture and style. Anything from this wonderful store would make great gifts for the bold and adventurous.