Brianna highlights some amazing spots to shop small in the Poconos including The Potting Shed in Stroudsburg, Wallflower in Honesdale, BetterWorld Store & Cafe in Milford, and Local Fair in Jim Thorpe.
The holiday season is fast approaching, and so is the perfect opportunity to start checking off your Christmas gift list. Small Business Saturday is a great time to score unique finds, have a personalized shopping experience, get discounts or giveaways, but most importantly, support your neighbors while keeping money local.
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas inside The Potting Shed in downtown Stroudsburg. In addition to seasonal items, you can get your green thumb on all year long. There's also home decor items, floral arrangements, and a children's section.
“Our goal is to have every customer who walks through the door feel like an old friend,” said Judy Henry, manager.
Manager Judy Henry has mastered that over the last 40 years. She added, “when people ask if I want to retire, I say I’d have nobody to talk to. I love talking to customers and bringing in products that make them excited.”
While Main Street is lined with small shops, you also have to explore the side streets where hidden gems, like The Potting Shed, are tucked away. The popular Snowmen of Stroudsburg also make their return this time of year.
“We have a good mix of retail, restaurants, bars and wineries. There’s really something for everyone in Stroudsburg,” Henry added.
Welcome to Wallflower, a mini department store boutique in Honesdale with women's and children's clothing, jewelry, home decor, furniture, and mosaic and tiffany lamps. “It’s an eclectic mix spread across two floors,” said Joyce DeBastiani, owner.
Joyce, along with her husband and two daughters, carefully curate the collection.
“I think the customer service aspect is very important, knowing your customer by name. Everyone says it's like Cheers in here. I go ‘hey Norm, how are you?’ It's just a unique shopping experience,” she laughed.
And downtown Honesdale has plenty of that! “There are so many options. You don't know what you're missing until you put feet on the street of Honesdale,” DeBastiani explained.
Over in Milford, BetterWorld aims to create just that through an organic cafe, bookstore, urban homestead supplies, health foods, and eco-products. Everything here comes from local artisans or countries that don't use forced labor.
“Where our products are coming from and how they're made is just as important as what we're actually purchasing,” said Liam Hutchinson, owner.
Liam and his wife originally re-located to the states from Australia to interview Chinese refugees who escaped slave labor. Their goal was to open a museum exhibit, but then the pandemic hit. People learning to live sustainably in lockdown further fueled the idea for BetterWorld.
“We started questioning, what is true sustainability? It's having things made in a way that you are familiar with the process, you ideally know the person or can get in touch with the person who made it, and it’s supporting people who are able to live freely,” Hutchinson said.
Even though Liam never planned to own a small business, his is thriving, along with the rest in downtown Milford.
“You'll find products that you won't be able to find on Amazon. You won’t be able to just jump online and search for the perfect gift. But you can walk around a store in Milford, and it will pop out to you,” he added.
Last but not least, Jim Thorpe is internationally known for its scenic views and unique shops. That includes Local Fair, featuring fair trade items from around the world and products made by local artisans.
“Even though we have a lot of tourists who don't live around here, they love being able to take home a piece of where they were and know that they are at the same time supporting a local artist,” said Jessica Corbin, co-owner.
Jessica and her husband were two of those tourists who loved shopping at this store, formerly called Trend and Source Marketplace. In 2020 they moved from New York City to Jim Thorpe, and when they saw the business for sale, it felt like fate.
Corbin said, “there are mom and pop shops all over the neighborhoods of New York City, but coming to a small town like Jim Thorpe, you feel like you can actually make a difference in the community.”
And a difference from big box stores. “How often do you get to talk to the owner of places like Gap? You can’t. So, I think it's just a nice personal touch we can bring as a small business,” she added.