Small Business Saturday, a holiday nestled between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, encourages holiday shoppers to patronize brick and mortar businesses that are small and local. What began as a movement in 2010, Small Business Saturday has grown leaps and bounds both across the nation and here in the Quad Cities.
Almost every day there’s a new small business opening up in our region. With the resurging growth of our downtowns, and a focus on regional pride, Quad Citizens are putting more and more of their spending power back into our local economy by shopping local.
We spoke with a few small business owners here in the Quad Cities, and asked them some questions about their business inspiration and passion for supporting the region. Besides being amazing Quad Citizens, these individuals not only provide products and services that help make the Quad Cities unique, but also give back to our community in ways big and small.
Owned by Mary Talbert | 217 E 2nd St, Davenport
What do you sell at Crafted QC?
I have handmade items from over 100 different artists. About 90% of them are local: it’s like a walk-in Etsy shop.
I find some of them through Instagram and Facebook and various shows, but now, most people are finding me.
I am the organizer of Becky Fest. It is a handmade and vintage show. There are also kids who make items. The summer one is in the River Center. We have over 130 different vendors, so it’s also a great opportunity to shop small businesses for the holidays. That particular [winter] show, we have live music from the River Music Experience and we ask for a suggested donation of $2 at the door. All of that money we give straight to River Music Experience for music education in the Quad Cities.
How do you find local and regional artists?
Local art gives a community its character and color. It’s truly a representation of the spirit of a community. We have a lot of amazingly creative people around here. The shops, the shows… they all kind of reflect that vibe in the Quad Cities. We’re lucky – we have a really artistic community here.
Tell us about the promotions you are running for Small Business Saturday.
For Black Friday and Small Business Saturday, we’re part of a two-day event called “That Damn Shopping Trip.” There are 12 shops between Downtown Rock Island and Davenport that are participating. You can pick up a passport at the first location and get a stamp at each one. You’ll be entered to win $1,200 in gift certificates to use at shops. We have a couple giveaways on Friday and Saturday for the first 30 shoppers and over $25 – a couple of cool freebies they get along the way.
Owned by Barbara and Amy Trimble | 1500 River Dr, Moline
We understand your building took over a year of extensive renovation to complete before you could open. What made you choose that space and undertake such a challenge?
There was a lot of evolvement happening in the location when we opened 20 years ago. We really liked the location being part of an area that was newly developed but still downtown. The buildings were historic, and we knew we wanted that historic feel for our store rather than building a new store in a strip mall or shopping mall somewhere.
Tell us about your “Wall of Paper”!
We have a collection in our stationary area called our Print-While-You-Wait collection. It’s a selection of over 40 different designs. Customers can come in and choose one of the designs and colors and we will personalize and print the stationary while they wait. It’s great for last-minute gifts because everyone wants things right away and a lot of people are busy. Even if they don’t need it right away, they sometimes don’t have time to come back and pick up an order, so we are able to print while they wait.
What makes your store unique?
We specialize in items that are innovative, intriguing, and inspiring. Those three words guide our buying. My mother, Barb, and I do all the buying, so basically every item that we carry has been hand-picked by one or both of us. We work very carefully on the items that we order to make sure that there’s something that makes them unique. We don’t carry a lot of general home decor items that sit around and look pretty. We really developed our niche in the last 4-5 years in things that are innovative, intriguing, or inspiring in some way. People know when they come to us for a gift, it’s going to be nice looking but useful or innovative or somehow unique. We try very hard to carry things you won’t find in other stores or even easily find online.
What’s the biggest challenge about running a business as a mother-daughter team?
Our biggest challenge is not enough hours in the day to do everything we want to do. As a mother-daughter team, we balance each other’s strengths. My mother enjoys things that are detail-oriented, things that deal with a lot of minutiae. I like dealing with promotional, marketing, and bigger-picture things like planning for the business. We complement each other very well in that the things we’re good at, the other is good at other things. We work really well as a team. There’s not really a challenge working together, but we also know there are some things we have as a the same weaknesses, and we make sure that we complement those with strong members of our team.
Owned by Donna Young, Cathy Nevins, and Bill Barrett | 736 Federal St., Davenport • 320 W. Kimberly Road, Davenport • 1505 River Drive, Moline • 103 S. Cody Rd., Le Claire
Isabel Bloom has been a mainstay in the Quad Cities for decades. What is it about the region that keeps Isabel Bloom here?
The Quad Cities is and always has been our home. No matter how far our reach goes, everything is made right here. We have wonderful employees who handmake the product and I love having all of the artisans and the production in the Quad Cities. Making it all here and creating jobs is incredibly rewarding. I couldn’t imagine doing it anywhere other than here. Our community is truly a great place to work and live.
What are your plans for introducing Isabel Bloom to the next generation of Quad Citizens?
This is something that is top of mind for us every day. As the next generation begins to experience milestones like buying homes and starting families, we become more relevant to that generation. Perhaps the most important thing we want younger Quad Citizens to know is that we are so different than your mothers and your grandmothers Isabel Bloom. We have more than the green people sculptures, we've added more color, more function and carry more home decor items. If you haven't been inside one of our shops in awhile, you'll realize the moment you walk in how much we've evolved and created a unique shopping experience based on the changing needs and interests of customers.
We draw inspiration from our designs and find more ways to promote it. If you like the look of a sculpture, you can complete the gift with additional home decor like a candle, tray, sign or a hand towel. We are always looking to make our designs more functional.
Tell us about the promotions you are running for Small Business Saturday.
We are partnering with Hugs mug and are giving away a free mug with every $25 purchase. We are also partnering with another local business that day and we will have free coffee and delicious muffins (until we run out) courtesy of Dunn Bros. All day long we are running a buy more save more sale, $10 off a $50 purchase, $15 off a $75 purchase, and $25 off if you spend $100.
Tell us a bit about your work in giving back to the community.
It would be hard to find a nonprofit in the Quad Cities that Isabel Bloom has not touched, or that Isabel Bloom has not been touched by. We support our community in both big and small ways. We donate to many silent auctions, we've partnered with both Race for The Cure and Festival of Trees for over 20 years, we work with Family Resources every year to help battle against domestic violence, this list goes on and on. Isabel Bloom has staying power, we've been here for a long time and we think it’s so important to be a contributing member of the community in ways that big box stores can not. We have many partners and feel very fortunate to be embedded in this community and will continue to make in impact in improving the lives of Quad Citizens.
There are hundreds of other small business owners in the Quad Cities with unique stories like these, ready to be discovered! We encourage you to get out and shop local across our region. Share your experiences on social media using the hashtag #ShopSmall and #MakeItHereQC.