While Black Friday may have better deals, Small Business Saturday makes a bigger difference:
- $68 of every $100 spent at a local small business stays local (compared to $43 spent at national chains).
- 99.4% of all Wisconsin businesses are considered small.
- Nearly half of all Wisconsinites work at a small business (a company with less than 500 employees).
Convinced to shop small? Great!
Travel Wisconsin, the state’s official tourism website, compiled a list of four can’t miss small towns with celebrated shopping scenes.
Here are its picks…
1. Spring Green
Where It Is: 40 miles west of Madison
What It’s Known For: Its Frank Lloyd Wright connections (Taliesin, for one) and the American Players Theatre. Spring Green’s Main Street area also has great shopping!
Where to Shop: The Spring Green General Store. The old 1910 cheese warehouse is now a brightly-painted café and retail space selling clothes, gifts, toys, and gourmet food. Prairie Flowers & Gifts sells jewelry and has a floral cooler for customer flower arrangements. Convivio specializes in home goods, as well as gourmet food products and a curated selection of wine. Bookworms will love Arcadia Books, and art aficionados should check out the Jura Silverman Gallery.
Don’t Miss: Nina’s Department & Variety Store has a little bit of everything—pharmacy goods, kitchen items, a large selection of toys and old-timey candy.
Where It Is: 20 miles north of Milwaukee
What It’s Known For: More than 200 preserved buildings with historical significance. One must-stop is the Shops of Cedar Creek Settlement, a collection of specialty stores and restaurants in a converted wool mill!
Where to Shop: The Olive Sprig specializes in exquisite olive oils and aged balsamic vinegars. Bohemia sells handmade gifts from some of the area’s most notable artists and craftspeople. Up The Creek sells a combination of vintage products, as well as modern home goods and clever signs. The Alpine Gift Haus has beautiful European blown glass ornaments!
Don’t Miss: Cedar Creek Winery, a local business that offers tours, tastings and of course, great gift ideas in their Wisconsin-made wines.
Where It Is: 25 miles west of Milwaukee
What It’s Known For: Its walkable downtown with easily-accessible and timelessly charming colonial buildings.
Where to Shop: Element Style showcases the latest trends (blankets, scarves and fringe handbags, anyone?), while Oliva Di Vita is perfect for the gourmand who appreciates a fine olive oil, aged balsamic vinegar or specialty vinegar. Clear Water Outdoor specializes in apparel and outdoor gear—check out their “gearage” filled with equipment for kayaking, cross-country skiing, and stand-up paddleboarding.
Don’t Miss: The Hidden Staircase bookstore is a hidden gem and carries beloved book series like Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys, and Dick and Jane as well as New York Times’ bestsellers, cards, and gifts.
Where It Is: 60 miles south of Green Bay
What It’s Known For: Its serene scenery, as well as the exquisite The American Club, Whistling Straits, and The Shops at Woodlake.
Where to Shop: ARTspace, which also has a companion gift shop in nearby Sheboygan, is filled with handcrafted items made by North American artists. Movers & Shakers Kids Toys is filled with plush toys and books, while With Child has maternity items as well as baby shower gifts and clothes. The Kohler Gardener is filled with— you guessed it— gardening goods. And stop by Scentualities for apparel, jewelry, and luxurious bath and body products.
Don’t Miss: The Wisconsin Trader, a celebrate of all things Midwestern. Find home décor, Wisconsin-made food products, and Sconnie-themed clothing!
Want to keep going? Check out even more destinations for spectacular small-town shopping.