With the rising cost of real estate and the ease of online shopping, it can be difficult for independent businesses to survive. If you take a look around, you will notice a number of empty storefronts in Boston.

In my native town of Roslindale, there are over 10 commercial vacancies. Jerusalem Trading on Poplar Street is one of the more recent businesses to shut its doors. Others that we lost over the years are Village Books, Colorwheel Collection, and Kitchen Central. Sarida, one of my favorite Roslindale businesses, closed three years ago and I still miss it. Sarida was a small boutique that sold locally made arts, crafts, jewelry, and vintage clothing. It was a great way to support local artists.


Luckily, Roslindale locals still have plenty of options! One of which is Birch St. House & Garden. Elizabeth Swanson, the owner of Birch St. House & Garden, sells gift cards, candles, housewares, ornaments, and garden accessories. You can also find photography, art, and jewelry crafted by local artists. Another fantastic retail spot for a unique gift is Joanne Rossman. Three years ago, Joanne Rossman was chosen to promote Small Business Saturday—you can view the video here. Books, beauty products, games, jewelry, and candles are just some of the treasure you will find from the “Purveyor of the unnecessary & the irresistible.”


Roslindale business owners proudly support local artists in other ways. Boston Cheese Cellar, Fornax Bread, Dandelions, Birch St. House & Garden, and Joanne Rossman have all hosted artists during Roslindale Open Studios, an annual non-profit arts event. The Roslindale Village Main Street (RVMS) Farmers Market is another place to buy from local artisans.

This year, RVMS will also have its first outdoor Holiday Market on Birch Street held on Thursday, December 15th from 4pm-8pm. There will be local vendors, treats, and live music by Balkan Mind Meld. Please visit the RVMS site for more information.

Although I moved out of Roslindale over a decade ago, I still consider it to be my home town and frequently go to eat at the awesome restaurants and, of course, to shop.

What are YOUR favorite places to “shop small?”