Shop small. Shop local. We’re sure you’ve heard these in the past several days as an encouragement to patronize locally owned businesses wherever you live. Some have called it a made up holiday. We call it a way of life in Fondren.

Small Business Saturday on November 24, 2012, in its third year, recognizes the efforts of the “mom and pop” and asks you to make at least one purchase that day from a business that isn’t headquartered in another state or country. In Fondren, it’s easy to do. Our merchants and restaurants, for the most part, are independently and locally run by people who live in this area. They are givers to local charities, pay local taxes and invest in the community into other small businesses.

Need more reasons to shop small and local? Convenience, a selection you won’t find elsewhere and personal service. Kaye Simmons of the Shoe Bar at Pieces says Fondren has it all. “Come to Fondren and park at the door,” she touted of her Mitchell Avenue shop in what was once a home. Joel Brown, co-owner of Brown’s Fine Art and Framing says he believes that what Fondren offers cannot be found anywhere else. “It’s not on County Line Road or Lakeland Drive,” he says of the two most highly trafficked areas of town during the holidays. Indeed, there is a more laid back feel in Fondren.

Liz Spratlin, owner of Blithe and Vine in Fondren Corner says her shop is an oasis. “I want my store to be a respite from the madness & a place where you know you’ll find that very cool item for yourself or someone else,” she tells us. “We know our products & we’re eager to help, which is not always what you get in big box or large department stores.” Spratlin goes on to say she believes people are over giving the same old-same old gifts.

And that won’t be a problem at Interiors Market. Owner Barry Plunkett reiterates that shopping in Fondren is personal. “Most of the time, we know you and care that you select the perfect gift,” he says.

If we can help you remember three things that should influence your shopping choices for small business Saturday — and throughout the year, it would be these: 1) Fondren is laid back and relaxed. Park your car, stroll this historic neighborhood and leisurely make your way from shop to shop. No one’s camping out for a limited number of items here. 2) Service is personal, attentive and appreciative. Often, you are waited on by THE shop owner who truly cares that you have a pleasant experience. 3) The merchandise and food here is unique. Sure, you can get a belt or biscuit anywhere in town, but not like what we have here.

Shop small this Saturday — and every day of the year. Locally owned businesses are working to earn your dollars and provide you with the best selection and service. They are the heartbeat of who we are in Fondren and we salute them this holiday season.

Fondren Shopping and Dining Directory