Celebrating Small Business Saturday on the Avenue of Angels

We strolled down the Avenue of Angels on Small Business Saturday, tasting, shopping and, once again gloating about the magic pull of our downtown.

Anchored on one end by Lawrence University, home of a world-class music conservatory, and on the other by the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center, our downtown celebrates art in every form. There’s Makaroff School of Ballet, a nondescript coffee-scented building that is a training ground for grace and discipline, and Heid Music, a nearly 70-year old musical hub, offering quality instruments, lessons and, most recently, a rock school.

Midway through the downtown grows the Trout Museum of Art, an expanding display of visual art, jazz music and rotating exhibits including the current Katharine Hepburn “Dressed for Stage and Screen.”

A pottery, mosaic and glass fusion studio, the Fire, offers opportunities for hands-on creation, while coffee houses like Harmony Café and Copper Rock allow young writers and musicians to showcase their work.

In the midst of all this creativity are specialty shops and boutiques, including the ones we enjoyed last Saturday.

We poked our heads in Blue Moon Emporium, source of the original skirts and T-shirts in our closets, Vagabond Imports, our go-to place for kitschy one-of-a-kind gifts and Lillians, a store we frequent for two equally important reasons — we’re friends with the owners and we love the merchandise.

We can’t talk too much about our purchases on Small Business Saturday, but we can say we knocked quite a few items off our Christmas gift list.

We’d like to think every weekend had a Small Business Saturday and we’ll definitely be heading back out this holiday season to patronize the many cool small businesses in our little city. Check out the small businesses in yours.

Small Business Saturday Blue Moon Emporium
We were happy to see the bustle going on at the Blue Moon Emporium, home of the cutest Wisconsin shirts in the land.
Small Business Saturday Dance
We loved the window display at Dance!, a store I frequented more often when my girls were students at Makaroff School of Ballet.
Small Business Saturday Gabriels
Check out this picture of Gabriel Furniture Store’s window. That’s Molly’s reflection in the bureau mirror. She had to stand half a block down the street for this picture to work and she was not pleased at the attention my little project began to draw. It’s not Saturday if I haven’t exasperated an offspring in some way or another.
Small Business Saturday Houdini Plaza
Oh, I love the angels. Appleton has sported these lovely heralds of the Christmas season up and down College Avenue since I was a child. Also, I think the Houdini quote is perfect for this time of year. What’s that? You hear sleigh bells jingling? Believe!
Small Business Saturday Just Act Natural
An environmentally and aesthetically pleasing downtown shop.
Small Business Saturday Kirten and Colleen
These are our friends Kirsten and Colleen, proud owners of Lillians. We have yet to walk in and not find cool items to buy. Shop Lillians, you’ll be glad you did.
Small Business Saturday Me
Quick quiz: Can you find the author of this post anywhere in this photo of Lillians?
Small Business Saturday Skateboards
Small Business Saturday was winding down when we spotted the Surfin Bird, this cool skateboard store. I loved the colorful display.
Small Business Saturday the Arts
All of my kids benefited from their exposure to the arts organizations represented by this display, the Appleton Boychoir, Makaroff Ballet, Lawrence Music Academy, Attic Theatre, etc.

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