Today was Small Business Saturday, as declared by Amex to supposedly entice people to shop the smaller stores after beating the crap outta each other to get the Black Friday deals. In the spirit of Christmas, I suppose.
But I digress.
I visited one of my favorite small businesses, over in New Hyde Park, Long Island: Bobb Howard’s. This is an auto repair shop and old-time candy store, attached to each other, owned by Eileen Caplin Wysel and Ron Wysel. When I say old-time I’m not kidding. They sell the treats that many of us grew up with, like candy cigarettes, kazoos, whoopie cushions and slide whistles. And games! Ouiji, Mystery Date, little pinball toys, whee! I’m not generally a nostalgic kinda gal; I like modern times, microwaves, the internet and a much higher glass ceiling than in the days of Mad Men.
But I loved my toys and candy. I enjoy going to a shop where they’re helpful without stalking you, where the merchandise is intriguing and where they serve a little warm cider and popcorn before you go back out into the cold. New customers also got a little welcome gift: that paddle with the ball attached that you’re supposed to bounce on the paddle. I never mastered that.
Oh, and Small Business Saturday? Ron made sure to remind each customer that they get ten bucks back for their purchases if they charge on American Express. Cool symbiotic relationship there. I didn’t get ten dollars but I got a blog post and maybe somebody’s Christmas present. Works for me.