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Starting Small

If you’ve ever been in Sparrow’s Nest you might have noticed the business card holder on my counter. This rack is filled with business cards from other local small business, including, to the surprise of some, other consignment stores. I often have people browse through the rack as I am ringing them up and they comment that it seems strange that I would have cards from my competitors stores. Beyond the fact that consignment stores aren’t truly in competition because we are all so unique and our merchandise doesn’t repeat, I truly believe in other small business and I love the growing community of consignment stores here in Huntington Beach and the great online shops where local artists are selling their creations and vintage pieces. Each of us has a unique vibe and we know what the other is likely to have in stock  so we can “pass” customers around until they find exactly what they are looking for. The beauty of small business is that each and every person who walks means something to the small business owner therefore you get personalized service.

You might be asking yourself where I am going with this particular subject so I will tell you. With Father’s Day coming up and all the media blitz about what to buy “Dear Old Dad” I started thinking about how, why, and where we choose to shop. If we just go on auto pilot and head to a major department store is it because of all the advertising which we are constantly bombarded with, is it because we know they will have a huge variety of things so we will be able to find something that will work or is it because we really want to support that particular business and we believe in what they are doing? What I am suggesting here is that we stop and become more conscience of  not only where we are shopping, but why we are choosing to shop in each particular place. If we, as a whole, can step back and examine our habits as consumers we can make a difference in the future of our local economy, the country as a whole and lessen our environmental impact.

By choosing to “start small’ and shop at small business first; to go see what a neighborhood shop has to offer before heading to the mall we can have a tremendous impact. Shopping small resale shops does many things including keeping money in the local economy, using what we already have instead of adding to the demand of imports, keeping more resources from being used to manufacture, package, and ship products across the ocean. Plus, there is the strong likelihood of forming a relationship with a shop owner which can be rewarding on many levels. I am not suggesting that a small shop is always going to have a solution to your every need; just that by starting your search at a small business you will raise your awareness of what is out there when a generic tie or cheaply made piece of furniture won’t do. In addition to all these benefits, a small business owner is more likely to shop at other small business so even more dollars stay local when small business thrive.

This Father’s Day let’s get out there and see what unique, affordable gifts we can find in a small shop for the man we call Dad.  This July 4th let’s skip the plastic everything and buy some vintage serving trays and tablecloths. When a loved one’s birthday comes up why not get them a gift card from a small business so they can make some great discoveries of their own as you have a day of  shopping together and then have lunch from a small sandwich shop and an afternoon latte from that great little coffee shop on the corner? Change is coming people, we can do this. : )

Tammy Sparrow

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Owner & Co-Chick; A California transplant who crew up in a tiny town on the Virginia/North Carolina border, Tammy roamed through the woods and dreamed of traveling to exotic places. She has a BA in English/Creative Writing from Hollins University and a certification in Interior Design from Orange Coast College. She has a background in retail sales, merchandising, interior design,customer service,and delivering (often unsolicited) advice to friends and customers. She has been a fan of yard sales, flea markets and second hand stores for as long as she can remember.


  • Liz Breslauer on 6-6-2013 at 4:17 pm


    Tammy what a special message, about reuse. However Jimmy would laugh if I purchased a table cloth for him… He might say what do I a short sheet for???

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