Vote With Your Dollars: Shop Local on Inauguration Day

Posted on January 18, 2017, 11:54 am
9 mins


A strong business community is fundamentally important to the health and culture of a city, and small businesses are its bedrock. Small business owners are community stewards and leaders. The personal interactions they have with customers and networks they build do more than generate income and jobs. They bring unity, understanding and a local character to the places we call home.

There have been calls circulating for activists to boycott all businesses, partake in no commerce on Inauguration Day as an act of resistance against Donald Trump. We at Vanguard Seattle would like to suggest a different tack:

Shop Local on Inauguration Day

A day long boycott of services will not much affect Trump or his administration. The dip in business will register as a blip to him and his allies in Washington. Conversely, it could register as something disastrous for small business. Again, the success of small businesses is essential to having a strong community, and having a strong community is essential to effective resistance. If you want to resist Trump, the answer is not to detach, but to engage with those close to you, with your community.

If you want to resist and boycott the Inauguration, here’s the agenda we suggest for Friday, January 20.

  1. If you have a TV, turn it on to a channel you like and leave it on during the Inauguration. (Enough people doing this will tank the ratings and viewer percentages for the inauguration ceremony.)
  2. Get out and visit your favorite local shop, or find one you haven’t visited before in your neighborhood.
  3. Buy a little something for someone close to you. Valentine’s Day is coming up, so consider getting a gift for a friend or loved one. This winter has felt especially dark and hard for many, so maybe get a trinket or a card for a friend who has been down.
  4. If things are slow, talk to the owners or staff about their business. Learn about what they do and why they do it. These people do not open shops on a whim. They are passionate and creative and they have stories to tell.
  5. If shopping isn’t in your budget, go to a gallery. Yes, commercial galleries are free to enter, and even if the attendant is sitting their quietly, they are happy people are coming to see the work on display. Check out our picks for the Pioneer Square Galleries this month.

Local Shop Recommendations

Here are five shops that we especially love around Seattle, whose additions to the community are particularly timely.

Ghost Gallery in Capitol Hill offers art, jewelry, cards, wine and decor, and this month its Miniature Art Show continues, with dozens of small pieces that make great, personal gifts. On Inauguration Day, the team behind Shout Your Abortion will also be offering sign-making materials in Ghost Gallery, for those who want to participate in the Seattle Womxn’s March on Saturday, January 21.

We have a long year ahead, and planning ahead is crucial to meeting our goals. Journaling is a great way to maintain and track one’s progress and process. VS health and beauty writer Nisha Mathur just wrote her three 2017 journal recommendations, including the designs of Seattle-based Compendium. You can find Compendium’s products around town, but we recommend checking them out at Fremont’s Portage Bay Goods, which carries all sorts of great gifts from local makers. Need a more centrally located shop? There’s always the legendary Elliott Bay Books!

Speaking of amazing book stores…Peter Miller Books will be leaving its Belltown location and moving to Pioneer Square in spring of this year. Bibliophiles will swoon at Miller’s stunning collection of books on art, design, architecture, history, everything a cultural omnivore adores. See the current space now and learn where to find him after the move.

Some stores not only help shape the present. Some are documents of the past. KOBOSeattle at Higo is a living museum in the International District. Among its panoply of gorgeous jewelry, trendy dry goods and smart design, you’ll find things commemorating the legacy of Japanese internment. The history of Japanese Internment during World War II has lasting effects to this day, and yet it is largely forgotten by many. The owners of KOBO are not just leaders in their community, but are among a handful of stewards of that history, which must never be repeated (though the incoming administration has intimated it may seek to do just that, targeting Muslims and dissenters instead).

Last but not least, there are a number of shops devoted specifically to Seattle-made products and designs. Cone & Steiner in Pioneer Square and Capitol Hill carries lots of local wines and specialty foods. Urban Craft Uprising HQ in downtown is a small, one-stop shop for all sorts of locally made goodies, from toys to jewelry to soaps and paper goods.

If you want explore other local makers, check out for more ideas.

Be safe. Be good to each other. Be heard. Vote with your dollars for the success of local businesses and know who and what your are supporting. Much love, Seattle.

Update, 2:19 PM, January 18, 2017: We have been seeing a message on Facebook calling on people to shop local in Little Saigon this week, as the Womxn’s March on Saturday will probably disrupt business on one of the neighborhood’s most important shopping days of the year, in advance of the Lunar New Year festivities. If we learn the original author of the copy below, we will give credit. For now, this is the text that has been circulating:

Hey Seattle friends who are marching this Saturday in the Womxn’s March: That day is the biggest shopping day for many of the local (many which are mom-and-pop shops) stores in Little Saigon. For many of them it’s a make-or-break day as many folks are coming to shop for supplies to prep for the upcoming Lunar New Year. The march is going to disrupt their business day for at least a couple of hours if not half the day.

Please consider eating dinner in Little Saigon or buying your weeks worth of groceries from the stores there (Viet Wah is awesome) or eating lunch there on Sunday.

It would be tragic if a march to protest an incoming administration, who we fear would trample the rights of immigrants and people of color, goes ahead and severely disrupts the livelihood of the same people.

Got any other hot tips about shopping local and supporting small business? Share them on our Facebook page!