Small Business Saturday: We all have a stake

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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) You'll find small businesses throughout our community, of course, but there are a few neighborhoods where shopping small is an everyday opportunity. Best known is Midtown.

Built around what a decade or more ago was an aging, frankly unattractive stretch of South Virginia, it's found a new life as an urban retail and entertainment neighborhood.

Each year it's built on its success with new shops, restaurants and bars. Local and small is its niche and there are always big expectations for Small Business Saturday.

"There's been a lot of talk on social media about customers supporting our businesses here in Midtown," says Nomad Boutique owner Allison Schultz, "and they're super excited about shopping local."

Parking's been the big issue down here, but this shopping season has brought an improvement. A hundred newly available free parking spaces up and down Virginia Street, opened to all who get the available sticker at the stores here.

There was a last minute glitch, we found. The stickers were late in arriving, but temporary passes and maps were being passed out in many of these stores the afternoon of Black Friday. Ask around and you'll find them.

Part of the experience of shopping small is that it takes you to interesting neighborhoods you'd miss if you restricted yourself to the big box stores. Midtown is known to most.

Less well known is Dickerson Road.

This dead-end street on Reno's west side is an industrial area transitioning to an artist's enclave.

Drop in to Reno Arts Work at the east end and you'll find some of the 18 artists working here and their creations.

"You're going to see a lot of artists doing their thing," says artist Laurent Hufft, "and it's going to guarantee that you're going to find a Christmas or holiday present for your friends and family that's unique, not something that you're going to find in the mall or a big box store."

"Everybody has something that's different," says P.K. Infinity, who we found working in clay. "So you never know what you're going to find here. There's something here for everybody if you walk this road."

But there's also a practical argument to be made for shopping small.

"When you support a small store you're supporting me, a small business owner and my awesome employees," says Allison Schultz.

"The money stays here and it just works out that way better. You don't have to deal with the crazy crowds at the mall. You have more personalized shopping here and I just think you should always shop small. Support your local economy."

Small business Saturday. A chance to discover and support some interesting corners of our community and our economy as a whole.