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November 25 is Small Business Saturday

 
ANightBeforeChristmas

 

Since 2010, the Saturday after Thanksgiving has been recognized as Small Business Saturday. American Express recognized the impact that small businesses have on the economy, towns, and on our individual lives. By shining a light on the businesses we frequent every day and helping us see them in a whole new light, American Express and many neighborhood and municipal advocates are making Small Business Saturday a day of discovery and rediscovery.

Supporting other small businesses is in the ethos of Mast Store. So, in celebration of Small Business Saturday, we’re showcasing some of our favorite small businesses that you’ll find in most every Mast Store.

In business since 1993, Nester Hosiery is based in Mount Airy, North Carolina. The Mast Store has partnered with them almost since the beginning. They make Mast Store socks including our seasonal favorites – the Mast Store Christmas Socks. A few years ago, Nester launched its own sock brand called Farm to Feet. From beginning to end, these socks are all made in the USA. You’ll get a sense of this company by watching this VIDEO; we believe you’ll love their story.

Colonel Littleton is a line of fine and useful gifts that are thoughtfully made for their recipient to enjoy and then pass along to future generations. Lynnville, Tennessee is the home base for this company that makes everything from cufflinks and leather bracelets to belts, portfolios, and traveling grips. Most of them can be personalized and make great gifts for graduates and those who are moving into new jobs or careers. The Colonel’s philosophy is simple and is based on quality, “We are in the business of wants, so our items should be a pleasure to buy…it should be enjoyed by its owner and sometime later on down the line, when another member of the family picks it up and says, ‘that’s still pretty cool.’” 

An idea becomes a company – that’s how Evans Prater looks at his t-shirt company based in Asheville, North Carolina. While thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail in 2014, Evans was struck by a thought…Everything you carry should be light. As a hiker, you can understand this thought, but  he began to see applications in all areas of life. Mount Inspiration follows a holistic company model with a goal of using sustainable and organically-made products to spread messages of light, love, hope, and positivity. In addition to its clothing carrying inspiring messages, Mount Inspirations also gives back to non-profits focused on environmental protection.

It’s mind bending what can be done by creative entrepreneurs! That includes bottle bending. Jean and Ted Chalfant started making chimes in 1970. These unique and colorful Bottle Benders wind chimes are made from wine bottles. Some use the natural colors of the bottles, while others, like the rainbow-colored ones, are painted. About 12 cases of wine bottles are sliced each day. Those slices are placed in a kiln and melted at 1500 degrees until they lay flat. The circles are assembled by design with melted marbles and the solid circle, made from the bottom of the wine bottle. These chimes make excellent additions to a screened porch or garden.

Daniel Winkler, a Boone, North Carolina native, is intrigued with early American history. He made his first knife in 1975 as a project to authentically outfit himself with the equipment needed by an 18th-century woodsman. In the 1700s, your knife was vital to living – it protected you and put food on your table. Winkler strives to be innovative, while maintaining a recognizable style, and to make tools that will last a lifetime and that will survive as heirlooms. His new line, Winkler Knives II, are made using the stock-removal method and are used by law enforcement and first responders as well as being sought-after tools of elite Special Operations Teams in the United States military. These pieces are born of a warrior’s experience and are proven in the field, yet, they are beautiful to look at.

We’ll wrap up our showcase on a historically tasty note. The Benne Wafer is only available from the Olde Colony Bakery located in Mount Pleasant. This sweet, nutty, buttery treat was made famous as a Charleston travel souvenir by food writer Clementine Paddleford in 1951. She describes them thusly, “Every Charleston kitchen makes the benne seed biscuit, the benne wafers to serve with the cocktails, to pass at teatime. Fragrant, nutty-sweet little trifles, whose secret is in the toasting of the seed before it’s added to the batter.” Benne is the Bantu word for sesame. These seeds were brought to South Carolina from East Africa and planted along with other foods from Africa including sweet potatoes, peanuts, okra, and collard greens – all staples in the Southern diet. Benne wafers are wonderful additions to holiday entertaining menus…and the Bantu believe that they bring good luck. 

As you put together your shopping list for Small Business Saturday, we hope you discover our neighboring businesses and restaurants in all our downtowns. There are many great people to meet and do business with.