It’s always a good idea to support small businesses, but that’s especially true now in the age of COVID-19. With that in mind, I’ve pulled together a list of 12 Boston small businesses to support. Shop online or in person depending on when you’re reading this and/or follow them on social media!
Boston Small Businesses To Support
Coolidge Corner Theater (movie theater) – This is a really cool movie theater! Their website explains, “The Coolidge Corner Theatre is New England’s most successful independent, nonprofit cinema. Built as a church in 1906, it was redesigned as an Art Deco movie palace in 1933 and has never closed its doors to the public since then. Located in the heart of Brookline, Massachusetts, it was the community’s first movie theater and now, a non-profit foundation since 1989, it celebrates the experience of cinema by presenting the finest international, documentary, animated, and independent film selections and series” (x).
Obviously this theater isn’t open in-person in the age of COVID-19, but they do have a bunch of virtual events and a way to watch their movies online. So check out their virtual FAQs to learn how you can continue to support this local treasure!
Flour Bakery + Café (café) – Flour is a local chain with breakfast food, lunch, pastries, coffee, and more. Their website says, “Everything is prepared in-house by our professional kitchen staff. Our business includes morning commuters stopping in for breakfast, area employees and neighbors enjoying lunch, friends meeting for coffee and talk, office workers seeking to satisfy their 4pm sugar craving, people picking up bread, salad, or dessert for their evening meal” (x). It feels kind of wrong to say that they’re a chain, but there are many locations, which I think makes them one.
In addition to walking in and ordering, you can order from Flour to pick up in person via their app or via Postmates.
Location(s): Flour has 9 locations total – not counting their HQ – including locations in Boston itself as well as in Cambridge.
[FoMu] (ice cream) – [FoMu] makes really, really good ice cream. (Yes, that is how their brand is stylized, with the brackets.) Their ice cream is made with coconut milk, which means that I can eat it! If you can’t have dairy or soy, you definitely need to check them out. They also have a bakery, and their 3 signature products are chocolate chip brownies (gluten-free, contain soy), salted chocolate chip cookies (gluten-free, contain soy), and “magic bars” (gluten-free, contain soy, coconut, tree nuts) (x). They also make ice cream cakes!
[FoMu] really cares about their products, their customers, and their community. You can tell that from their website, where they say, “You can rest assured that all of our products start with premium, natural, plant-based, kosher ingredients … That means using organic unrefined sweeteners wherever possible, and always trying to have something for everyone — regardless of allergy or dietary preferences” (x). Additionally, “We believe in the power of community. We believe that investing in those marginalized and underserved will strengthen us collectively. We believe the diversity of our team and community makes us stronger. We believe love is love, and showing consideration should happen every day” (x).
In addition to takeout, you can order [FoMu] online via Postmates and GrubHub.
Location(s): There are [FoMu] locations in Allston, Jamaica Plain, South End, and Fenway.12 Boston small businesses to check out Click To Tweet
Gifted (store) – Gifted is one of my favorite local stores! I’ve bought lots there over the years, both as gifts and for fun. “Gifted is an independent, woman-owned gift boutique in Boston’s beautiful South End. We feature works by more than 75 U.S. artists/makers, as well as beautiful items from around the world. We offer the area’s largest selection of greeting cards – printed in the USA!” (x).
Location(s): South End
Mike’s Pastry (bakery) – Is there any more famous Boston small business than Mike’s Pastry? “Founded in 1946, Mike’s Pastry is located in Boston’s historic North End on Hanover Street. Michael Mercogliano (the “Mike” behind the famed Mike’s Pastry) created the one-of-a-kind cannoli that keeps loyal Bostonians and tourists coming from around the world to enjoy. Going to Mike’s has become a Boston tradition when in town whether visiting family, friends, sporting events, college, or any other event. We hope that you continue the tradition and come see us and grab a pastry” (x).
Don’t want to miss Mike’s Pastry in the age of COVID-19? You can order them online through GrubHub and UberEats. Don’t live in Boston? They have nationwide shipping options!
Location(s): There are Mike Pastry’s locations in North End (the main one), Assembly Row, and Cambridge.
More Than Words (bookstore) – I love the idea behind this bookstore, which is to sell great books and to assist local youths in the foster care system. “More Than Words is a nonprofit social enterprise that empowers young adults who are in the foster care system, court-involved, homeless, or out of school to take charge of their lives by taking charge of a business” (x). This provides them with not only great skills but also a job history and reference. It’s so hard to get a job without a history or reference! Get great books, support a small business/nonprofit, and assist local youths.
Their bookstores are currently closed due to COVID-19, but they do have an online store.
Location(s): South End and Waltham, MA
Niche (plants) – Don’t worry about going to a nursery to get plants! This business sells plants and teaches classes. “Our in-store experience serves as a platform to engage and educate our customers about the benefits and joys of indoor gardening. We welcome everyone from the plant novice to the experienced green thumb into our stores to ask questions, take look around, or just take a breather” (x).
Location(s): South End and Somerville
Olives & Grace (store) – Olives & Grace is such a cool business that focuses on selling things by Boston-area makers. “Olives & Grace was founded in 2012 by Sofi Madison, as a way to introduce emerging food and gift makers to the community. The shop has since become a retail resource for those looking to discover well made, beautifully designed gifts, made with integrity and style” (x).
I love Olives & Grace so much. I actually just ordered a housewarming gift for my best friend from them! Pre-COVID-19, I loved walking in and checking out cool things that you’re not really going to find in other places. I still love perusing the online store!
Location(s): South End
Porter Square Books (bookstore) – This is a great bookstore located in Cambridge! “Porter Square Books sells hundreds of thousands of books online, from current bestsellers to classics still in print” (x). They also have a very cool online presence and recommendations. One thing I really like is that they have weekly shopping hours for high-risk patrons, which as a high-risk person, I super appreciate.
Location(s): CambridgeSmall businesses in the Boston area to support Click To Tweet
Trident Booksellers & Café (bookstore and café) – Of all the bookstores on this list, I have to admit that Trident is the one that I’ve shopped at the most. “Since 1984, Trident Booksellers & Cafe has been providing Back Bay residents, students, and tourists with sustenance for the mind and body. Trident is the perfect place to catch up with friends, study for your exam, grab brunch, or browse our wide selection of books and magazines. We offer free wifi, an award-winning magazine selection, a full service restaurant, books, cards, gifts, and, above all, a unique Boston experience. Check out the Trident’s extensive menu, featuring fresh juice and smoothies, as well as breakfast, lunch and dinner” (x).
Trident has so many cool books, as well as cool gifts. (For example, one year, I bought a bagel-making kit to give someone for Christmas.)
Location(s): Newbury St., Boston
The Urban Grape (alcohol) – I don’t drink, but if I did, Urban Grape would be my go-to. “The Urban Grape is an award-winning wine, craft beer, and spirits store located in Boston’s vibrant South End neighborhood. UG is the first store in the world to utilize Progressive Shelving, a unique system of organizing wines by their body, rather than varietal or region. Progressive Shelving allows our staff to help you pick the perfect wine for your palate by encouraging you to explore regions, varietals, producers, and price points all while staying in your wine comfort zone. Discover new wines when you Drink Progressively!” (x).
Location(s): Back Bay, Boston
Urban Hound (dog walks, hotel, and spa) – This is a cool place to take your dog for a variety of services. “The Urban Hound has now grown from a dog walking company to a full service dog care facility. From daily dog walks to luxury hotel and daycare services, an intensive training program, and a luxury spa, we strive to exceed expectations everyday. With a staff that loves your dog as much as you do, I am confident that you will receive the very best in care each and every day from us” (x).
They provide walks, training, hotels, daycare, grooming, supplies, vet services, and specialty services called In-Hotel Sitting Service and The “Yes My Dog Is In My Wedding” Package. Very cool!
Location(s): South of Washington, Boston
What are your favorite Boston Small Businesses?
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