‘We Are Your Friends, We Are Your Neighbors’: What Shopping Small Really Means

by Amy Hughes
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Village Green originally published this article, written by Maplewood Mercantile owner Amy Hughes on December 15, 2018. Despite — or indeed, because of — the fact that shopping local has taken on an entirely new meaning since the pandemic, with many small businesses struggling and closing their doors, we believe this article is more relevant than ever.

While shopping, patronizing service businesses, and dining out look very different in December 2020, there are still many ways to support local businesses, and by extension, the whole community. We encourage readers to shop local as much as possible this holiday season, and beyond.

I chose Maplewood as my home six years ago largely because of the downtown’s independent spirit. I was charmed by the candy counter at No. 165, the readings at [words] Bookstore, and the winter wonderland that is Perch Home at the holidays. One bite of the avocado toast at The Laurel cafe, which I now miss terribly, and I was hooked.

A diverse downtown is a reflection of its surrounding community—its values, its tastes, and its residents’ devotion to supporting the local economy. It’s a good sign that there’s a line for coffee at The Able Baker with a Starbucks right down the street. I, for one, am happy to wait an extra minute for my cortado. Come to think of it, Starbucks has yet to figure out how to make my favorite espresso drink.

Salvage Style

I practice what I preach…most of the time. Overnight delivery from Amazon Prime has gotten me out of plenty of pickles. And I don’t hide my face at the Short Hills mall (I know, it’s the Mall at Short Hills, but you can’t make me say it). But I find far cooler and more affordable clothes from my Maplewood Mercantile colleague Emma O’Shea at Collector. The styling advice from Julie Perlow-Greene at Retail Therapy trumps any “must have” sales jargon from Madewell. And my husband wouldn’t have a clue what to get me for our anniversary if it weren’t for Marichelle Hills at Meus. Those hand-hammered brass hoop earring were spot on, by the way!

While I sincerely hope you spend a little holiday cheer—and coin—at my place, Maplewood Mercantile, what matters most is that you think of your local merchants first before going the big box route.

We are your friends. We are your neighbors. We support your schools, civic organizations and charities. We hire from within, and we pay a living wage. We are artists, makers, entrepreneurs, and professionals. We are stores, but also community resources. Most of all, we are passionate about Maplewood and South Orange. This is what buying local is all about.

deVine Plantery co-founders, Maya Haynie and Kelly Brown (Instagram)

So as you plan your holiday shopping, remember us. Your support is everything. It’s revolutionary, even. We will pay it forward.

Maplewood Mercantile is a co-op style design showroom featuring vintage furniture, art, clothing, and handmade home goods. The 2500-square-foot space at 145 Dunnell Rd is home to Salvage Style, run by Amy Hughes; Sarah Gee Interiors; Collector run by Emma O’Shea; deVINE Plantery; and the studio for Anna Herbst Photography. Get the latest on new arrivals, events, and special holiday hours on Instagram and Facebook @maplewoodmercantile and at maplewoodmercantile.com.

Maplewood Mercantile
145 Dunnell Road, Maplewood, NJ 07040
Fall Hours: Thursday-Sunday 10 a.m.- 5 p.m.

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