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TODAY celebrates 6 independent retail stores for Small Business Saturday

For Small Business Saturday, check out these independent retailers with compelling backstories from around the U.S.
/ Source: TODAY

As the 2020 holiday shopping season gets underway, patronizing independent retailers near you is more important than ever.

Over the past several months, small businesses nationwide have struggled due to lockdown orders brought on by the coronavirus epidemic. Between April and June alone, some 1.4 million small businesses either closed or suspended operations, according to Oxxford Information Technology Ltd. The company tracks more than 26 million U.S. businesses with less than $10 million in annual sales and says it expects that 4 million small businesses could be forced to shut down permanently this year, NBC News reported in September.

In honor of Small Business Saturday on Nov. 28, TODAY is celebrating six independent retail stores around the country. From a Black mother-daughter duo aiming to spark conversations about heritage through their clothing designs to a pencil collector-turned-entrepreneur, these small business owners' stories will remind you of the importance of helping your community and the establishments within.

House of Aama

This clothing retailer in Los Angeles, where 100% of its product is manufactured, was started in 2015 and brands itself as "the spiritual expression of mother and daughter design duo Rebecca Henry and Akua Shabaka in material form." Its items are inspired by nostalgia and the Black experience with the goal of evoking dialogue around the topics of heritage and history.

House of Aama is owned by a mother-daughter duo in Los Angeles.Courtesy House of AAMA

Enjoy 30% off your entire order by using the promo code TODAY30, valid through Nov. 29.

Sisters Uptown Bookstore

The family-owned and -operated establishment in New York City is not just a bookstore. It's a community resource center and it recently celebrated 15 years of service to the Washington Heights neighborhood in Manhattan. Guided by the motto "Knowledge is key," Sisters Uptown provides an educational and supportive environment where all are welcome.

Sisters Uptown Bookstore has been serving the diverse Washington Heights neighborhood of New York City for more than 15 years.Courtesy Sisters Uptown Bookstore

Enjoy 10% off an order of $20 or more from Nov. 26 to Dec. 25 with the code TODAY10.


This eyewear store's origin story is as American as they come. Founded over a century ago by Hyman Moscot — an Eastern European immigrant who came through Ellis Island and started slinging ready-made eyeglasses from a pushcart — this New York City institution's been in the same family for five generations. Now, Moscot is recognized as a global fashion brand, but it remains, at heart, a neighborhood optical shop.

Moscot, now a global fashion brand, began with an Eastern European immigrant selling ready-made eyeglasses out of a pushcart.Courtesy Moscot

Moscot offers 10% off all first-time orders when you subscribe to their emails.

Snapdragon Flowers

Owner and designer Tolani Lawrence-Lightfoot, a trained artist with a fine arts degree, is what makes this Philadelphia flower and gift shop so special. She uses fresh flowers as her artistic medium and turned it into a successful small business. Snapdragon creates arrangements for all of life's events, both big and small.

Snapdragon Flowers designs arrangements for all of life's occasions, no matter how small.Courtesy Snapdragon

Get free delivery on orders placed between Dec. 1-11 with the code DRAGONBLOOM.

Freedom Apothecary

Freedom Apothecary, also in Philadelphia, sells oils, balms, butters and salves, but its true purpose lies in creating a physical space for Black women and other women of color to find community and support. This women-run store also seeks to provide a platform for other female-founded brands. "Everyone is deserving of uncovering their glow and finding their freedom," its website explains.

Freedom Apothecary is more than just a retailer selling balms, butters and salves.Courtesy Freedom Apothecary

Enjoy 20% off by using the code TODAYGLOW, valid through Dec. 31.

CW Pencil Enterprise

Founder Caroline Weaver is a self-proclaimed amateur pencil collector and "lifelong pencil lover." In 2014, she founded CW Pencil Enterprise online and transitioned to a brick-and-mortar location in New York the following year. The store celebrates the "functionality, beauty and history" of these writing instruments that "will never become obsolete," according to its website. "We want to make sure that you can have any pencil your heart, hand, or collection desires."

CW Pencil Enterprise celebrates pencils of all kinds.Courtesy CW Pencil Enterprise

Use the code PLAZAPENCILS for 10% off, valid through Nov. 28.

This article was created by TODAY with our sponsor American Express.