The heavy push may be for holiday shopping on Black Friday, but a new addition to the frenzy, Small Business Saturday, is hoping to gain some ground this weekend. It was started by American Express in 2010 with the theme “shop small,” and for the past two years, President Barack Obama and his daughters, Sasha and Malia, used the occasion to visit area bookstores. We hope he shops small and local again this year, and Washingtonian staffers have some suggestions for where he should go (in no particular order).
The President could indulge his burger tooth with a Red Apron patty or a fantastic meatball sub, promote Chesapeake Bay health by tackling a platter of freshly shucked oysters at Rappahannock Oyster Company, snag fresh milk and veggies for Michelle and the girls from Trickling Springs and Eastern-Shore Organic, and pick up one of the American-made knives at DC Sharp for White House chef Sam Kass. And should he decide to jump into the ever-long food truck debate, those TaKorean “takos” are pretty delicious. 1309 Fifth St., NE.
This independent cooking and home-goods store is just a quick jaunt from the White House. There the President will ifnd foodie gadgets, classic cookware, and Washington-centric gifts like District-shaped cutting boards and cookie cutters in the form of DC and every state—except, alas, Hawaii. 713 D St., SE.
Both President Obama and Vice President Biden are well-documented sandwich lovers. If they stop by Jamie Stachowski’s Georgetown shop, they might become addicts. The four-meat grinder could take on most Chicago Italian subs, and Obama could also pick up local steaks and chicken for a family dinner. Another perk: Can you imagine the reaction from the colorful Stachowski? 1425 28th St., NW.
Sure, it might be a little impractical for the Secret Service to scope out a cramped basement-level record shop, but as Washington’s largest vinyl store, Crooked Beat, has yards of used and new albums spanning every genre. There are also racks devoted to Dischord Records, perfect for any parent of two kids growing up in DC. 2116 18th St., NW.
This 19-year-old homewares store is stocked up with clever holiday gifts, including ties with donkeys and elephants (for bipartisan Capitol Hill gift-giving) and Portuguese water dog cuff links—a nice gift from Bo and Sunny to the President. 1677 Wisconsin Ave., NW.
This store in Cleveland Park may be small, but it’s packed to the gills with jewelry, accessories, and unique items that can serve as stocking stuffers or Secret Santa gifts. The store has something for guys and gals of all ages, and thanks to the eclectic range and wit behind all the pieces, your gift will likely stand out from the pack. 3409 Connecticut Ave., NW.
The Obamas can revel in the retail and culinary explosion that is 14th Street by checking out the goods at Smucker Farms. With the wonderfully curated selection of food and sundries from just up the highway in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, you’d be hard-pressed to walk away without half a dozen items in your shopping bag as thoughtful gifts (and maybe another half dozen just for yourself). 2118 14th St., NW.
Dan and Anna Kahoe’s home furnishing shop has been operating on U Street since 1994, and the rotating selection of antiques, rehabbed vintage items, and decorative accents still deserves attention. The President could pick out a new leather chair, some vintage jewelry for the First Lady, or a standing wooden desk for one of the girls. 1428 U St., NW.
The White House could show its hipper side with a trip to this cocktail lover’s mecca in Alexandria. The small shop is filled with vintage glassware and shakers, retro serving trays, antique barware, ice buckets, and more, with items in every price range. It’s too bad the collection wasn’t around in the Nixon years. 1015 King St., Alexandria.
Husband-and-wife team Robert Ludlow and Ashley Hubbard are a small-business success story. The duo started selling their gourmet chocolates at local farmers markets, and now own two small boutiques—the original in Georgetown, and another in Alexandria. We love flavors like lavender-Shiraz, ginger, and almond amaretto, all artfully painted. Candy bars themed after regions of the United States, such as the bacon-studded South Bar, would make a fitting presidential purchase. 3235 P St., NW; 724 Jefferson St., Alexandria.
Got a suggestion for where President Obama should go? Let us know in the comments!