Since I moved from Boston, MA to Madison, WI one of the biggest things I’ve been made aware of is how often people shop locally out here. Madison’s farmer’s market (officially the Dane County Farmer’s Market) is the largest producer-only farmers market in the country and over 150 members attend every Saturday with over 275 vendors throughout the year. On top of that, just a walk down State Street will show you a ton of local small businesses that usually have the coolest stuff in Madison.
This holiday season I want to highlight some of my favorites for those of you in the area to support these really cool shops (and even if you’re not local some of them have online shops). Let me know in the comments some small businesses you know of that could use some exposure!
I first discovered Soap Opera when Josie and I went when I visited Madison in March 2017. I fell in love with this little shop that sells a variety of soaps and bath products. It’s located on State Street in Madison amongst a bunch of other locally owned shops, but what makes Soap Opera unique is their use of essential oils.
They have a ton of essential oils that are safe for topical use that they keep in stock and they offer a variety of products from lotions to shampoo for you to add them to. The clerks will add any oil they carry upon request at no extra cost and they will add as much or as little as you want. I often put peppermint and lemongrass in my diffuser for my migraines, but Josie got me it in a lotion so I can take it with me. I also had lavender put in hemp oil after my surgery to help with my scars and sooth them. You can also buy some essential oils in their bottles for diffuser use.
We went to an essential oil workshop in August in their little courtyard outside. The owner was very knowledgeable about essential oils in general and was so sweet to us. You can order online from them and I would recommend them to anyone.
Market Street Diner
We went to Market Street Diner in Sun Prairie, WI on a whim one night. Josie had been there before, but I’m not really a diner person. They changed my mind. Everyone in there is so nice and gives it the perfect small town diner feel. But what sets Market Street Diner apart is their in-store bakery! Oh. My. God. are their baked goods delicious! They do custom orders for cakes and pies for the holidays and if you’re in the Wisconsin area I would definitely check them out!
Designs by Bonnie Downey
This one is a little bit of shameless mom promotion. My mom is a small business owner who makes jewelry! She’s based out of Massachusetts where she does a lot of events, but she also has shipping available unless otherwise indicated. Lately, she’s been doing a lot of beaded ornament covers for the holidays and I love seeing them show up on my Facebook all the time! They’re so pretty. She also does custom orders and will work with you to create something amazing!
She’s also done a lot of the jewelry I wear regularly that people ask where I got it from. I got it from my mom!
Art Gecko is a small business out of Madison with two locations (one on Monroe Street and one on State Street). They sell a lot of new aged things and funky trinkets, but also jewelry. This is actually where Josie and I got my promise ring that’s sterling silver and has a moonstone as the setting. Everyone is always great here and my favorite thing is their wide variety of incense and dream catchers! Every week they do a stone of the week (and it’s different at each location) that’s on sale for the whole week! Great for Christmas and holiday presents!
Bloom Bake Shop in Madison, WI on Monroe Street was one of my favorite places we went to when I came to visit Josie. The owner is absolutely amazing and so sweet, she remembers us every time we go in. Bloom makes everything with local, organic ingredients and also offers vegan and gluten-free options and they’re always delicious!
Bloom also just opened a new storefront in Middleton, WI called the Bloom Bindery. It’s a little shop where they sell books and support local authors (which I obviously love!) and they also sell cookie sandwiches that are to die for! They also do holiday orders and wedding orders. It’s one of my favorite places to be in Madison and you should check them out!
So when you’re searching for holiday gifts and treats this season don’t forget to stop by the smaller shops around your town. Sometimes they have exactly what you need!
What are some small businesses near you that need a shout out this holiday season? (Don’t forget to include any Etsy stores or small e-commerce businesses, those count too!) Let me know in the comments!
Don;t forget to check out my Etsy Guide for more small businesses!