There are hundreds of small businesses throughout neighborhoods of Tacoma. They are employers and neighbors who make the South Sound warm, friendly, and fiercely proud of who we are. On this Small Business Saturday, we encourage you to support them all. The day is as important to them as Black Friday is to big box stores. Now, when it comes to keeping it local, we naturally have a few favorite small businesses. These are the places with a bit more defiant spirit – the ones where we gather, spend our money, and celebrate after days and nights at Cheney Stadium.
Walking into these businesses clad in the black and green of Defiance is comfortable and appropriate. This year’s Small Business Saturday is more than a shopping trip. Consider it a journey through Tacoma, and an adventure into the lifeblood of our local economy.
Naturally, our guide makes time for watching at least one soccer match. It’s what we do.
Morning Beer and Soccer
It’s not just Small Business Saturday, it’s also Premier League Saturday. Start your morning off right at 7 a.m. when there are three matches from the world’s most popular league available. Doyle’s Public House will feature Liverpool versus Brighton Hove & Albion. Careful who you cheer for, as they are the home of the Reds.
Enjoy soccer, an English beer, and the culinary stylings of PNW-UK fusion before you start your busy day of shopping. As you leave, pick up gift cards for your soccer buddies. You know you’ll be back to support local soccer when we’re on the road in 2020.
District: Stadium | Social: @Doyle’s Public House
- Beer Star Tacoma | 6th Ave | @BeerStarUSA
Fill a growler or two, grab some bottles, and know that the gift of delicious beer is always a good one.
- Peaks & Pints | Proctor | @PeaksAndPints
Taps and taps and taps of craft beer flow in the classic Proctor restaurant.
- Incline Cider House | Brewery | @InclineCiderHouse
Incline might be new to the city, but “it feels like home” for the Zehners.
Coffee to Start the Day
With a big day of shopping ahead of you, it’s time for a strong cup of joe. Tacoma’s coffee rivals any other northwest city, and 6th Ave is packed with places to procure the life blood of South Sound productivity.
Our favorite gathering place for a mid-morning meeting is Bluebeard Coffee.
The 253rd wave coffeehouse features a great mix of pour over, flavored lattes, and their signature La Pistola – a spicy mocha that will warm you up on a chilly fall day. Grab the El Capitán blend and a Chemex 8-Cup brewer for your friends that require it hot, dark, and all the time.
District: 6th Ave | Social: @BlueBeardCoffee
- Valhalla | 6th Ave | @ValhallaCoffeeCo
We strongly recommend Valkyrie Blend for those that don’t cut their coffee with cream.
- Anthem | Various | @AnthemCoffee
For a quick pick-me-up grab The Coffee Maverick.
- Manifesto | Hilltop | @ManifestoCoffee
These Wizards of the Roast are the place to write your next poem or novel.
“Take a Look, It’s in a Book”
With over 100,000 books, you can find nearly anything you would want – new or used. What really sets King’s Books apart is a staff that can help you find the perfect book, personally guiding you through the maze of shelves. Inevitably, more than a few novels and tomes will find their way into your bag for friends and family.
Make certain to say hello to Herbert the cat while you wander.
District: Stadium | Social: @KingsBooks
Other book, games, and toy stores
- Tacoma Games | 6th Ave | @Tacoma_Games
Specializing in collectible card games, miniatures, and role-playing games, this is the one stop shop for the nerd in your life. And we say that with affection and respect.
- Destiny City Comics | Stadium | @DestinyCityComics
From the massive lines fueling the comics surge in cinema to local indie artists, Destiny City is our favorite local shop in the resurgent art form. Be warned, flipping through their selection may derail your busy day of shopping.
- Curious Bear Toys | Fircrest | @CuriousBearToys
When Jack needs something for his younger friends he ambles down 19th to a classic toy store.
“Get in My Belly”
A hearty, affordable sandwich from the Peterson Brothers will help power you through the rest of your shopping day. Snag a Brutus, pair it with your favorite tall boy, and maybe you’ll be fortunate enough to chat up Hilltop’s three Teds-the bar’s regular laureates.
When you give your friends gift cards to Eleven Eleven you do so knowing that they will bring you back with them. Sit in the Rainier Room catching up with friends throughout the year.
District: Hilltop | Social: @TheElevenElevenBar
Other lunch spots
- Tacoma Szechuan | Lakewood | No social
Hot, cheap, and lightning fast. This presentation of delicious Chinese dishes will spice up your shopping day in a good way.
- MSM | 6th Ave | @MSM-Deli
Big sandwiches. Fresh. Grab snacks to fuel your shopping and beverages for holiday party gifts.
- The Valley | Dome | @TheValleyTacoma
Totally Tacoma and home of the city’s booziest brunch, the Valley combines brilliant bar food and rock n’ roll shows.
For Your Friends Who Aren’t Fortunate Enough to Live Here
Some of your friends and family might not be fortunate enough to live in the Pacific Northwest, and that’s too bad for them. This is your yearly way to remind them that Tacoma and the great PNW is where it’s at.
The Pacific Northwest Shop over in Proctor is an excellent way to stock up on regional gifts including Tacoma’s classic Mountain Bars from Brown & Hailey. Other local faves include Mt. St. Helen’s ash glass ornaments and wild Pacific smoked salmon.
District: Proctor | Social: @PacificNorthwestShopTacoma
Other Fine Gifts
- Compass Rose | Proctor | @CompassRoseShop
Pacific Northwest inspired chic specialty cards, jewelry, and other sophisticated goods.
- Lapis | Proctor | @Lapis_Tacoma
Right down the way, Lapis’ featured jewelry is handcrafted in house with supplementary jewelers from around the world.
What’s Old Is New
Everyone has that friend who’s sense of style transcends eras. They already have the best of 2020, but who couldn’t use more vintage? Hook them up with printed Ts and flannels of the 90s, curated by Tacoma’s finest purveyors of fashion. At Scorpio Rising you can update their closet with classic looks in quality condition.
Scorpio Rising will have a Black Friday sale for personal shopping, but we encourage you to grab a gift certificate for others as well. Remember, upcycling is shopping for the environmentally conscious.
District: 6th Ave | Social: @ScorpioRisingVintage
Other Vintage Shops
- All-Star Vintage | Lincoln | @AllStarVintageTacoma
Tacoma history with a modern twist. Deadstock t-shirts, jerseys, and jackets galore, and they usually have original gear from bygone Cheney Stadium eras like the Tacoma Tigers.
- Vessel Vintage Collective | Downtown | @VesselVintageCollective
Take a mid-century modern approach with some heirloom quality furniture.
Let the Music Play
Founder Brian, and the whole staff at Hi-Voltage Records, care a lot about music. Their love for a golden time of record store as community hub for music enthusiasts is on constant display through their consistent churn of new vinyl, the essential records they feature, and their willingness to talk shop and guide you to your new favorite album. The quality is consistent. The grading standards for used vinyl is unwavering.
Check the discount bin for classics with some well-listened depth at stocking-stuffer prices. And if all you know is your recipients tastes, the staff will make quality recommendations on that information alone.
District: 6th Ave | Social: @HiVoltageRecords
Record shops and venues
- Janku Land | Stadium | @Janku_Land
A record store with vintage clothing ‘JohnQ’ is a great single stop if you need to save time while shopping for your friend or family member with punk rock persuasion.
- Jazzbones | 6th Ave | @JazzBonesTacoma
Mix-a-Lot may already be sold out but there’s plenty great shows coming to the intimate 6th Ave venue in the next couple months.
Wine and Dine
Giving people the gift of fine dining raises the chance that you too will enjoy fine dining in the near future. Our favorite is Wooden City, where you will find comforting meals you love with a spin presented by accomplished chefs. The warm wood and brick interior evokes an older Tacoma while the high end cocktails and wine add to a sophisticated and modern experience.
Wooden City is the perfect place to meet with another couple for a “treat yourself” kind of evening. Snag a gift card and strongly hint that you’d like to join your friends for their next special occasion.
District: Downtown | Social: @WoodenCityTacoma
Other Finer Eats
- 1022 South J | Hilltop | @1022_South_J
Fried Deviled Eggs – what a start to a meal with food and drink expertly crafted in Hilltop.
- Macalusos | Ruston | @MacalusosRestaurants
Hearty, full Italian servings in an intimate space. You’ll also peruse one of the city’s best wine lists. With space for larger parties, gather a few friends or families for an indulgent evening of comfort food and fine dining.
End your busy shopping day by treating yourself to Ice Cream Social’s mulled spiced cider sorbet or their fig & honey ice cream. You could also have both.
Frozen desserts are a year-round joy for kids of all ages. Treat your favorite people to an ice cream surprise with a catered event or pick up some pints to share at a seasonal party.
District: Ruston and 6th Ave | Social: @IceCreamSocialCart
Drinks to End a Night
- Alma Mater | Downtown | @AlmaMaterTacoma
You may know them for Honey or the Matriarch Lounge, but their concerts, sound system, and first class venue are what has set them apart as Tacoma’s best spot to check out national touring acts.
- Hanks | North Slope District | @HanksPizzaTacoma
Best hole in the wall bar around. Cheap drinks, amazing bar food, and deepest booths in the region.
- The Mule Tavern | South Tacoma | @TheMuleTavern
Fresh, house-made ginger beer and gin enjoyed in a comfortable dive in South Tacoma.