EVENTS: Twin Cities artists, makers prep for Small Business Saturday during tight year

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Small businesses are gearing up for their own Black Friday — Small Business Saturday — with the hope that consumers will continue to shop local despite high prices this holiday season.

American Express created Small Business Saturday in 2010 to bring more customers to local shops amid the recession, and in 2022, some store owners have noticed that continuous high inflation has altered consumer habits.

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For the 12 months ending in October 2022, the inflation rate was 7.7%, and November’s numbers are expected to be released on Dec. 13. Inflation has dropped since peaking in June at 9.1%, the highest Americans had seen in decades.

Small businesses are also dealing with rising prices on everything from rent and heat to products from their suppliers.

“Costs have risen for us. We have seen a lot of restaurants and a lot of businesses go down in the last year,” said Teresa Klettenberg, store manager at Good Things on Grand Avenue in St. Paul. “So I think it’s incredibly important to continue to support small businesses in the Twin Cities.”

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So far, Klettenberg said their store is seeing a steady stream of shoppers, despite inflation and concerns over a possible recession.

“All eyes are on the consumer right now, with how the consumer is going to react,” said Kim Sovell, a retail business expert at the University of St. Thomas. “We have a healthy labor market, which means people are working. That allows people to continue to spend. But finances are sort of in a precarious situation heading into the holidays, as 37% of American households say their financial situation is worse. So that is, to me, that is one of those trends that is maybe going to slow down purchasing.”

Sovell said uncertainty over the economy is unlikely to seriously impact holiday spending.

“You know, the predictions as of right now is that they will spend what they spent last year, so they will reduce their savings in order to do that,” Sovell said. “I still think people really want to have a normal holiday season. I think consumers are going to really want to continue to make the holidays really special.”

Diana Maas of St. Paul spent Black Friday shopping at small businesses along Grand Avenue instead of going to a mall or big box store.

“Times are pretty hard for small businesses. My dad’s a small business owner and so we like to be out and support our local businesses. I feel good when I leave, like, ‘Oh good! I’m helping my community.’ And I think it’s win-win. We want our small businesses to succeed,” Maas said.

Those in the Twin Cities metro have plenty of opportunities to shop locally on Saturday. Find a list of some of those options below.



Tree lighting ceremony and shopping – Shoppers can find food and entertainment along with goods during the range of activities Saturday at 50th and France.


Holidazzle – From noon to 9 p.m. Saturday, shoppers can support the small businesses set up in Loring Park. Those who stick around in the later hours can see fireworks at 7:15 p.m.

Unique Holiday Gifts – The Northrup King Building is hosting local creators and artists for Small Business Saturday. People can shop in person from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and visit artists’ websites if they want more.

New bookstore opensComma, a bookshop will open for the first time from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday.

Small Business Saturday marketMidtown Global Market is following its Black Friday event with more vendors from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.

Made-By-Hands Holiday Extra-VaganzaBauhaus Brew Labs will have more local makers and food on Saturday from noon to 5 p.m.

NE Makers MarketMinneapolis’ Northeast Neighborhood will have 48 local businesses on hand during a free event that runs from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday.

For ARTISTS’ Sake – The Solar Arts building is telling people to take a break from malls and support local artists from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday.


Holiday Art Crawl and SaleMontiArts on West Broadway Street is selling art from several local artists in an event that runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Friday through Sunday.

St. Louis Park

Local business reopensChoo Choo Bob’s Train Store, which closed up shop during the pandemic, is reopening on West End Boulevard in St. Louis Park. The store will be open for the first time in its new location on Saturday.

St. Paul

European Christmas Market – Friday marked the start of the first three-day weekend for the Union Depot’s annual European Christmas Market. Shoppers can shop, eat and choose from multiple forms of entertainment from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday.

Small Indigenous Business Saturday – Indigenous small businesses are offering a range of goods on Saturday. Gifts from Blue Hummingbird Woman will be available starting at 10 a.m.

Holiday MarketKeg & Case will be open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday with holiday cheer that will continue up until Christmas.