Beyond Black Friday: Supporting local business and artisans


UPDATED 12/4/2013 


It’s the most wonderful time of the year … especially for retailers and those who love to shop. “Black Friday” remains the biggest shopping day of the year, but now “Brown Thursday"  or ("Gray Thursday” depending on who you ask) is becoming a thing, as retail stores across the country opened their doors and offered holiday sales on Thanksgiving. "Small Business Saturday" and "Cyber Monday” keep the commercial drumbeat going. We’ve highlighted a few local businesses, organizations, and artisans in the Twin Cities that could use your support this holiday season and all year long —  and we invite you to add your favorites in the comments, or by tweeting them at us with hashtag #tcbuylocal. 

MN 2020 has a handy MN Gift Guide of Minnesota owned shops and restaurants, and also recently released its 2013 Made in Minnesota Report, which highlights how fair retail wages strengthen local economies. Buy Local Twin Cities provides another useful business directory, with entries for MetroIBA independent, local businesses. 

Related articles and blogs:

Teresa Boardman encourages you to shop local, if you must shop

Erik Hare reflects on the mindset behind “Black Friday”

A few Twin Cities businesses and artisans that could use your support :

CityKid Java, Cookie Cart, H&H Coffee Cozies and Swiss Colony Gift Boxes

3024 Fourth Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN

(651) 202-8379

CityKid Java, a local coffee shop that gives100% of its profit to Minneapolis kids, is partnering with local businesses for their gift boxes this year. More information as advertised:

“Socially-conscious consumerism is more than just a trend. CityKid Java (CKJ) is working towards changing buyers’ habits by purchasing local, sustainable and cause-driven products with its premium coffee and cocoa. CityKid Java prides itself on “Good Coffee, Good Cause,” as we give 100 percent of profits back to youth in Minneapolis.

CityKid Java sells gift boxes during the holiday season to raise money for kids in Minneapolis. New this year is our new single serve coffee, available in Lake Street Blend (Rainforest Alliance certified), French Roast (Rainforest Alliance certified), and Highlander Grogg.

CityKid Java is partnering with other local companies to create an irresistible gift box:

  • The Cookie Cart: A North Minneapolis nonprofit bakery teaching teens work, life and leadership skillsChocolate chip and chocolate chocolate chip cookies are included. 
  • H&H Coffee Cozies: A Minneapolis entrepreneur who creates custom-made accessories to add something pretty to your cup of coffee.
  • Swiss Colony: A family-owned business located in Monroe, Wisconsin, who are the largest hand-decorating facility in the U.S. and the lead producers in Petits Fours.
More information about each type of gift box is available on our blog at”



4900 Hodgson Connection, Shoreview, MN 

​(​651​)​ 795-9985

Locally based with a global reach, this fashion accessories retailer helps support impoverished women around the globe. More information from their website:

"Eleva̅t (pronounced elevate) is a fashion accessories retailer based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. All of our items are handmade and fairly traded from impoverished regions around the globe. Each product supports the livelihood of women entrepreneurs around the world.

These stylish products are truly unique. Join the Elevation Movement and help elevate these women to rise out of poverty and dangerous situations in a sustainable way."

Learn more about Eleva̅here.

Interact's The Great Big Holiday Art Sale, November 14  - December 15

212 3rd Street, Minneapolis, MN

(612) 339-5145

From the website:

"Do your holiday shopping!

Interact Studio's annual eclectic, no-holds-barred chance to buy jewelry, paintings, ceramics and other artwork. Get your Interact merch! Exclusive mugs, water bottles, bags and more, showcasing the work of Interact studio artists.With one-of-a-kind gifts at affordable prices for holiday giving."



AZ Gallery Holiday Gift Show, November 29 – 30 & December 7

AZ Gallery

308 Prince Street, Saint Paul, MN

Black Friday, 11/29; 5-8pm

Small Business Saturday, 11/30; 9 am - 5pm

Lowertown Holiday Show 12/7; 9am - 5pm

From the Facebook page:

Annual Holiday gift show that day with handmade ornaments and gift items, all from local artists. Open 9-3 and during regular posted hours if this date doesn't work for your calendar.





Holiday Events at Regla De Oro Gallery, November 30 - December 15

2743 Lyndale Avenue S., Minneapolis, MN

(612) 886-1247

Small Business Saturday November 30 - free ornament with $25 purchase while supplies last
Local artist holiday trunk show Sunday, December 1, 11-3 p.m. 

Objects from Community Engaged Art: A Holiday Show, November 30 & December 1

(image by Michael Hoyt)

 The Third Place Gallery

3730 Chicago Avenue, Studio B, Minneapolis, MN

November 30th and December 1st, 2013
11 am - 5 pm both days

"Objects from Community Engaged Art: A Holiday Show will feature physical objects created by eight artists working in various forms of public practice in South Minneapolis. Many of the works featured are the result of community-based projects – gorgeous works of art and poetry that have played a supporting role in community building, public art and social engagement. Objects from Community Engaged Art puts the focus on the objects themselves. These photographs, prints, drawings and books, which are a part of each artist’s broader artistic practice, are works of art in their own right. 

This one-weekend event will also offer the public a chance to purchase art at accessible prices, ranging from five to several hundred dollars. Most of the featured works have never been commercially available before. The eight artists featured represent a wide range of media and styles, connected by their emphasis on work that addresses the intersections of people and places outside of gallery and museum walls."


Seward Winter Frolic: Art in the Hood 2013, December 6 & 8 

 Seward, Minneapolis MN

 Information from the Facebook page:

"--- FRIDAY, December 6, 2013 --- 
Seward Winter Frolic Kick-off Party, 6:30-9:30pm

Performances at the Playwrights’ Center
Beer, Wine, Food and Performance Artists 
2301 E Franklin Ave., Minneapolis 55406
$15/per person $25/couple

--- SATURDAY, December 7, 2013 ---
Art Crawl and Frolic, 10am-5pm

Seward Gateway Sculpture Unveiling at Firestation #7, 10am
Art Car+Bike Parade starting at Firestation #7, 10:30am
Lighting Ceremony at Triangle Park, 5 – 6 pm

*Free pedicabs for shoppers 1 -5pm BOTH days!

--- SUNDAY, December 8, 2013 ---
Art Crawl and Frolic, 12-5pm

*Free pedicabs for shoppers 1 -5pm BOTH days!

Check out our website-- 
Brochure and map --"

Holiday No Coast Craft-o-Rama , December 6 & 7

Midtown Market

Lake Street East @ Chicago Avenue South

3 pm - 8 pm,Saturday, Dec. 6

9 am - 5 pm, Sunday, Dec. 7

From the website:

“Deemed the “Twin Cities’ Best Craft Sale” by City Pages, No Coast Craft-o-Rama

has become a favorite holiday shopping destination for over 10,000 shoppers annually. Now in its ninth year, this season’s sale will feature a more eclectic variety of handcrafted gifts than ever.

From quirky terrariums to wood-carved deer heads; from Minnesota themed t-shirts to all-natural organic body care products; and everything in between, No Coast Craft-o-Rama offers something for everyone on your shopping list – emphasis definitely on too-cool-for-school goods that breathe new life into the word “craft.” Expect to see mustaches on just about everything -- and oh-so-much more.

Shoppers should arrive hungry, because Midtown Global Market highlights amazing food from Salty Tart, The Left-Handed Cook, The Rabbit Hole, Manny’s Tortas, and many more.”

Christmas Boutique, December 7–  8

St. Matthew's Episcopal Church

2136 Carter Avenue, St. Paul, MN 

As advertised:

"The Blue House Boutique will once again be at St. Matthew's, 2136 Carter Ave., Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 7 and 8. Find unique handcrafted gifts and delicious homemade treats for everyone on your shopping list. 

Proceeds support the Blue House orphanage in Uganda, with roots in St. Anthony Park."


Union Depot’s Inaugural Holiday Bake Sale, December 7 – 8

214 E 4th Street, Saint Paul, MN 

1pm – pm

Admission: $4 for adults; $2 for seniors and kids ages 6-12

 As advertised:

“As a kick off to the holiday events schedule, the Holiday Bake Sale, Union Depot’s inaugural holiday gathering will host top Twin Cities bakeries for a weekend of cookie and candy shopping in the beautifully restored, historic Union Depot.”



8th Annual Mendota Lights at the Village, December 7 

750 Main Street, Mendota Heights, MN

All Day:  Holiday specials at shops

4 pm – 7pm:  Hayrides, face painting and petting zoo, Santa and Strolling Dicken’s carolers

5 pm – 5:30pm: Tree lighting and guest appearances (including Visitations Choir and Mayor Krebsbach)

Holiday specials at the shops! 



Ten Thousand Villages sponsors shopping nights that benefit a variety of local non-profits, from the Family Place to the Land Stewardship Project to Advocates for Human Rights. 

867 Grand Avenue, Victoria Crossing West, Saint Paul, MN 55105

As advertised:

On each of the shopping nights, Ten Thousand Villages will donate 20 percent of in-store sales proceeds from 5-8 p.m. to the non-profit organization Check the website for the calendar of organizations.

Ten Thousand Villages website explains: 

Ten Thousand Villages has spent over 60 years cultivating trading relationships in which artisans receive a fair price for their work and consumers have access to distinctive handcrafted items. We seek to establish long-term buying relationships in places where skilled artisans are under- or unemployed, and in which they lack other opportunities for income. We are a founding member of the World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO).


RLM Ricardo Levins Morales Art Studio
3745 Minnehaha Avenue, Minneapolis, MN

10am - 5pm

 Go here to learn more about the artist. 

6th Annual Vine Arts Center Holiday Sale, December 14 – 15

Ivy Building, 2637 27th Avenue, Minneapolis, MN

Saturday, December 14, 10 am – 5 pm

Sunday,  December 15, 12 pm – 5 pm

As advertised:

Come for two days of eclectic shopping and opportunities to chat with the meet the artists. Located in the Ivy Building for the Arts in Minneapolis’ Seward neighborhood, the Vine Arts Holiday Sale includes an eclectic mix of ceramics, woodworking, painting, fine art collage, fiber arts and clothing, framed prints, cards, calendars, shrines, dolls, sculpture, photography, jewelry, body care products, homemade food goodies, curiosities and more.


More art events can be found here.


And, if you'd rather make your own gifts, the Hallie Q. Brown Center  (270 N. Kent Street, Saint Paul, MN) wants to help! On Saturday, December 7, they are hosting a Make-N-Take crafting workshop from noon to 2 p.m.  Candles, decorations, bake sale, rummage sale — it's all yours for the cost of a $5 foodshelf donation or three cans of food. 






Coverage of issues and events that affect Central Corridor neighborhoods and communities is funded in part by a grant from Central Corridor Funders Collaborative.

  • Try out handmade items from woman around the globe living in poverty at - by Julie Johnson on Sat, 11/30/2013 - 10:00am
  • The City Kid Java holiday gift boxes are fantastic! We gifted our Board of Director members with them last year and they were a big hit. A great opp for one nonprofit to support another. - by Betsy Gabler on Sat, 11/30/2013 - 1:59pm

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Paige Elliott's picture
Paige Elliott

(paigeelliott [at] tcdailyplanet [dot] net) Paige Elliott was born and raised in south Minneapolis. She currently works as an Editoral Assistant with the Daily Planet, with emphasis on visual storytelling.