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Where Should the Obamas Shop on Small Business Saturday?

And more important: What will you be doing to support local institutions?

Takoma Park's Trohv is an ideal destination for the Obamas this Small Business Saturday. Photograph by Erik Uecke.

We’ve already rounded up the places to shop on Black Friday, but what about Small Business Saturday? The day after the day of markdown madness is actually one of our favorite times to shop, as it’s set aside especially to promote the independent stores and restaurants that add authentic flavor to our fair city. Last year, POTUS, Sasha, and Malia paid a visit to Kramerbooks in Dupont Circle in honor of the holiday, where they scooped up titles such as The Tiger’s Wife by Téa Obreht, The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster, and The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz.

The visit was a smart choice—in terms of Washington institutions, you don’t get much more authentic than a 30-plus-year-old peddler of caffeine and literature. Add to that its location in one of the District’s most central neighborhoods, and it’s clear someone on the Obama team did their research. So where should Barack, Michelle, and the girls head this year? Our suggestions follow below, along with a few alerts on specials you don’t have to live in the White House to enjoy.


The sleepy Takoma Park neighborhood got a well-deserved jolt when this Baltimore gifting mecca opened an 8,000-square-foot outpost on Carroll Street. In addition to being a small business itself, Trohv supports other small businesses by carrying their lines. The Obama girls are also well-documented fans of Anthropologie, and the creative gift selection here is often compared to the home goods portion of the chain.


Michelle’s forward-thinking fashion sense would surely meet its match at 14th Street’s gutsiest clothing, accessories, and furniture boutique. In business since 1999, the artsy showroom carries Vivienne Westwood, 3.1 Phillip Lim, Malene Birger, Lizzie Fortunato, and many more.


If the Obamas decide to hit more than one location, they should head to DC’s most densely populated retail neighborhood. According to Georgetown BID, 70 percent of the businesses here are independently owned, and plenty of them are offering specials deals for us regular folk on Small Business Saturday. For instance: All wine is 10 percent off at Bacchus, winter accessories are buy one, get one free at Tari, and Duo and Ella-Rue will extend their Black Friday sales. (See more specials at the Georgetown BID website.) Pedicabs will also offer shoppers complimentary rides from noon to 5.

Have a favorite small business you plan to support this weekend, or another suggestion for where the First Family should head? Let us know in the comments.

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  • Bob Serling

    The local scene in D.C. is washed-up and banal at best, small businesses have just become extensions of larger businesses that add some kind of crusty "personal" feel. Small Business Saturday is a great, and yet somewhat ironic, creation of American Express. However, the question you should really ask your readers is, "Are you willing to commit to local business more often?" Perhaps if we all shopped a little closer to home, such businesses would become more creative and connected with their customers. Unfortunately, it seems that these ploys are just another way for people to feel good about their actions, like wearing a Livestrong bracelet.

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