By John Paul Valdez

Black Friday is the Friday after Thanksgiving when people rush the stores in search of bargain deals on Xmas gifts. It’s the first big shopping day, and it frequently puts people at the big box stores looking for TV’s and mattresses and so on. Shop Small Saturday is the following day. This is the shopping part of the weekend that holds up your local economy. Buying at big box stores takes that money out of the local economy with the exception of the generally low wages paid to workers there because the inventory and distribution system are all from out of town, out of state, and out of the country in most cases.

When you shop from smaller boutiques, you help keep that money in the local economy in a number of ways. Last year it is estimated that 5.5 billion was spent keeping America as American as apple pie on that day. Buying from your local merchant helps keep the local economy vibrant because that money goes right back into our local goods and services. Those shop owners pay for their leases, and their mortgages, and the clients have a chance to buy things they wouldn’t find in a typical big box store.

With that in mind, I am going to mention a few off the beaten path shops that are here in the desert that make unique gifts. Persons under 50 are picking up on the latest re-birth of one of man’s oldest cultural references: tattoos and piercings. Parents should help their families pick from among the best places for this where competent professional work is done without fear. These industries have come a long way from the way it is depicted on TV. Palm Springs Piercing on Arenas is probably the best known piercing shop on the west coast, and they have 30 year veteran master piercers. They literally wrote the book on piercing that established this as an art and science simultaneously. Jay’E Jones at Strata Tattoo Lab in Yucca Valley is gaining recognition rapidly as the high desert has become the artist colony of the desert valley.


The best quiche in this part of California is at L’Atelier Café at La Plaza in PS, and the best burger at Matchbox upstairs above the Sonny Bono statute and fountain.

The whole of North Palm Springs has undergone a renovation and revitalization that has several unique shops. Michael Weems has fine art in ceramic, metal, and other mixed media is still within reach. The same is true of Gary Dorothy, the renowned photographer whose gallery is on Indian Ave at La Plaza.

I try to save at least one gift or one purchase for that particular day, restricting it to any of my favorite local boutiques. So many people purchase online these days, or rush the big box stores, and that is fine. Just remember we live in a series of small cities here in the Coachella Valley, and keeping the boutique feel of them is essential to our atmosphere as a relaxed tourism town.

This Saturday, think local, buy local and be a little part of our own recovery economically. Please mention CV Weekly if you visit these places in particular for special consideration. It’s your nickel.