Can you believe how quickly the holidays snuck up this year? Halloween flew by, now suddenly it’s Thanksgiving and time to start Christmas shopping! Before we get to Christmas, there is another lesser-known special day approaching; Small Business Saturday. While Think Media’s team definitely has some favorite nationwide brands, we truly have a deep appreciation for locally owned businesses and the dedicated people who run them. Having grown up with a family-owned flower shop, my adoration for small businesses runs deep. I understand that successfully operating a small business requires the leadership to wear multiple hats, and that is no small feat. On top of all of the pressures of running a small business, large nationwide competitors also provide stiff competition.
This year, to celebrate Small Business Saturday, our team has compiled a list of our favorite small businesses in the Denver area. While this list could go on forever, we are featuring the cream of the crop in the hope that you too will support these homegrown companies:
The people at Berriegood know me… I simply cannot resist their delicious smoothies and açaí bowls. This is my go-to spot when I'm looking for a light lunch or quick snack. The owner and I don’t have a relationship (yet), but I see her working tirelessly often. The cafe also has an incredibly convenient location right off of Pearl Street near I-25.
I’m an ice cream girl. I think I inherited it from my dad’s side of the family with my grandfather, Jerry. He is the biggest ice cream fan I’ve ever known. Whenever my grandfather (or any guest) is in town, I always take him to Bonnie Brae for a hot fudge sundae and strawberry malt. Bonnie Brae makes all of their ice cream in their Cherry Creek store and has been in business for over 30 years, making their ice cream a true “Denver tradition.”
Another fantastic small ice cream shop in Denver is Little Man Ice Cream. The reason I am including two different ice cream shops on this list is because they are both absolutely delicious, and also located on opposite ends of town. Little Man Ice Cream is located in the highlands neighborhood and is hard to miss with it being located inside of a 28ft tall cream can. They offer unique flavors guaranteed to excite any ice cream aficionado.
A few years ago, I had the privilege of interviewing the owner of Sazza, Jeff, for a research report on the locavore food movement in Colorado. His business serves not only some of my favorite specialty pizza, salads and soups in Denver, but also has a mission to serve local, organic and sustainable food with transparent ingredients. You have to stop by Sazza if you’re searching for great food with an inspirational story.
This famous Denver burger bar has been slinging burgers, beers and good times since 1945. They have a location in the heart of Cherry Creek and also directly next to the ballpark downtown. While Denver is filled with delicious burger joints, the Cherry Cricket feels like home with its foundation deeply rooted in Denver’s history.
Looking for a relaxed coffee shop with high quality beverages in the Cherry Creek neighborhood? Aviano is the place for you! I once overheard a couple of self proclaimed "coffee snobs” (friends of mine) discussing the best coffee in Denver and after a bit of a heated discussion, they both agreed that Aviano came out on top for the best espresso beverages. Why do I remember this moment? I honestly have no clue. But I always think of it while stopping by Aviano for a hot Americano and almond croissant.
Nixon’s lands on my list of favorite locally owned coffee shops for numerous reasons… One being their close proximity to Berriegood, making it very easy to grab an acai bowl and coffee. Another being their delicious iced specialty drink ,the “Venetian Cream.” Nixon’s has mastered the art of tasty drinks, and also has a lot of seating for visitors, making it an A+ coffee house.
On bad days when nothing seems to being going right, I find myself going completely out of the way just to stop by LulaRose on Colfax. For some reason, this coffee shop lifts my spirit every single time. In addition to their adorable coffee shop, directly across the street they opened a floral and plant store, which never fails to speak to my soul.
This boutique has it all. It offers casual comfy clothes, trendy business wear, and even cocktail attire. Everything in this store has been curated by a mother and daughter team with great eyes for fashion. Whenever I find myself without an outfitl for a special occasion, I go to Melrose and Madison on Pearl Street.
Meraki Moon offers clothing with a fun eclectic Colorado flare. The styles are trendy but also affordable, which is exciting to find in Denver! Stop by this fun boutique for a taste of the style that Denver’s RiNo neighborhood has to offer.
When I’m searching for quality staple pieces to add to my wardrobe, Garbarini is the place I go! This boutique offers an exciting mix of classic, modern and unique pieces for any woman’s wardrobe.
Have you fallen for the eyelash extension craze? (I apologize to all of the men reading this). If not, Live Love Lash has exploded in popularity for its great service and happy clients. Be sure to check out the professionals at Live Love Lash for all of your eyelash extension needs.
Looking for a great manicure or pedicure at an affordable price? Fingers and Toes is the place for you! They are locally owned and located right in the Bonnie Brae neighborhood making it dangerously convenient to grab a Bonnie Brae ice cream cone on your way out.
Sometimes, you just need to take time for self care. My favorite place to do so is Alchemy Face Bar. They have the most wonderful skincare services, and I simply cannot resist their rose quartz crystal facial. The next time you’re feeling stressed, overwhelmed, or simply in need of some pampering, support this small business and treat yourself at the same time.
Also in the RiNo neighborhood, Modern Nomad is very possibly my favorite store. This business turned a large exposed brick and beam warehouse into a market like atmosphere with different venders spread throughout, similar to an antique mall. They always have impeccably curated home décor sourced from around the globe such as moroccan poufs and rugs. On their website, the owner stated, “Many of the products at Modern Nomad Home are sourced from small artisans.
If you haven’t been to The Source warehouse and hotel, you must! Beet and Yarrow, a high-end floral design shop, is just one of the great businesses located inside. Besides fresh floral arrangements, they also have a beautiful selection of house plants, pots and candles.
Another flower shop, I know! But with my past experience growing up in a local MN flower shop, these stores have a special place in my heart. Whenever I am in need of a special gift for a friend, I go to Bloom to pick out a miniature succulent and pot. Both of their floral boutique locations in Denver's Union Station and Cherry Creek are also filled with extraordinary home décor, which is just the cherry on top every time I visit.
Shopping and Gifts
This is one of my favorite places to bring friends and family visiting me in Denver because it has EVERYTHING! Inside this retired airplane hangar, there are delicious restaurants (hello Denver Biscuit Company), shopping, coffee and always new places to explore. The owners of the Stanley Marketplace prioritize the values of the business above all else, which are transparently shown to the public through their “Stanifesto.”
In Denver, we are lucky to have a local bookstore that still has all of the great reads. If you’re a bookworm, be prepared to be lost for hours in Tattered Cover's bookshelves.
Their website states, “Show of Hands opened over 30 years ago in a small store in the Cherry Creek North shopping district. Sixteen artists from a variety of backgrounds decided to spice up the art community in Denver and developed the idea for this gallery.” This is a great place to find handmade gifts from both local and global artists.
The Vineyard is a great shop with a wide variety of wine to choose from. Their bottles range in price and are assorted according to growing region, making it an exciting place to find a new favorite wine. Currently, I am a member of their “Wine of the Month” club and cannot wait to see what bottle they deliver this December!
Be sure to support Small Business Saturday on November 24th. It is the perfect day to celebrate local businesses and the wonderful people who run them.