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A 10-Acre Plant Store, 'Once Worn' Wedding Dresses, and a James Baldwin-Inspired Bookstore: America's 15 Most Beloved Mom and Pop Shops If you're looking to buy local, these independent businesses offer a thoughtful curation of items that makes shopping a true experience.

By Entrepreneur Staff Edited by Frances Dodds

This story appears in the July 2023 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Courtesy of Flamingo Road Nursery | Yelp
A view of Flamingo Road Nursery in Davie, FL

Entrepreneur asked Yelp to dig into its data, to reveal which ones America loved the most. Together we created America's Favorite Mom & Pop Shops TM, a list of 150 local, independently owned and operated businesses across 10 categories — including, yes, shopping.

To see every category, as well as the methodology behind the list, click here. Below are the 15 companies included in the shopping category.

Note: Some businesses may have multiple locations. Only one location is listed for each.

1. Blue Sky Bridal

Seattle, WA

Company website | Yelp page

Blue Sky Bridal has a mission of offering bridal gowns and dresses with a keen eye towards sustainability and other environmental considerations — which is notable, because fashion production accounts for 10% of human-produced carbon emissions. To pull it off, this off-the-rack shop, owned by Erin Scharf, resells both new and "once worn" designs. The result for prospective brides is a 20% to 65% savings when compared to buying new, and there are hundreds of dresses to choose from on any given day.

"Although a consignment store, most of the dresses are samples, not necessarily worn by other brides," wrote one Yelper. "What a great way to save a few bucks and be eco-conscious!"

2. Novalpetal | Flower Lab

Phoenix, AZ

Company website | Yelp page

A locally-owned shop with a unique flair for European arrangements, this small business can handle everything "from boutonnieres to bouquets," as its site points out.

"I wanted something special and artistic, not something you can get at a Safeway," one Yelp review reads. "What you get [here] is so special and one of a kind." There are hand-tied wedding and other bouquets available, along with flower boxes, baskets, centerpieces, corsages and sympathy arrangements, among other options. Same-day delivery is available, too.

3. Resurrect Art Coffee House

Seward, AK

Company website | Yelp page

The great commercial pairing of our age seems to coffee in conjunction with… damn near anything. In this instance, it's art.

Located just seven blocks or so from Resurrection Bay, this shop contains great coffee, great art, and a variety of baked treats — all housed under the roof of a 100-plus-year-old reclaimed church. With an emphasis on "rustic baking," daily-made scones, sourdough muffins, sweet breads and savories fill the displays, along with specials and gluten-free items. The ample interior expanse provides a perfect venue for the work of local artists, whom the business's ownership is outspoken in support of.

4. The Botanical Bar

Indianapolis, IN

Company website | Yelp page

The Botanical Bar is both minority and women-owned — (founded by serial entrepreneur and self-described plant enthusiast Victoria Chantel — and is fueled by a mission to create "happier and healthier home and commercial spaces where 'plant people' meet.'"

To that end, a wide variety of plants and horticultural tools are on hand, along with wellness products — that first category encompassing succulents, cacti and both air and tropical varieties. For those keen to hone their caring and growing skills, there's a novel Monthly Plant Subscription available, which starts with easy-to-grow selections and a sequence of care tips, along with "fun plant activities," a variety of accessories and access to workshops.

5. Powell's City of Books

Portland, OR

Company website | Yelp page

Now in its 52nd year and with third-generation owner Emily Powell running things, independent seller Powell's City of Books aspires to be nothing less than "the world's best destination for readers."

If the ringing majority of Yelp reviews are any indication, they've come damn close, with one reading, "This place is sooooooo awesome - takes up an entire city block and [is] divided by different "colored" rooms/sections. They sell used and new books and tons of fun gift items. You will definitely not leave empty handed." Another pointed out that it houses "…approximately one million books," as well as "over 3,500 different sections. [And] writers and artists visit each month to read in the Basil Hallward Gallery." Both new and used books line the shelves, along with a range of gifts, and you can sell old volumes there, too.

Related: 10 Small Business Marketing Strategies That Actually Work

6. Spotted Leaf Plant Company

Somerville, NJ

Company website | Yelp page

The Spotted Leaf Plant is equal parts shop and immersive education center, and is all about small-world building. Customers can select from hundreds of tropical plants, then their preferred pot, and the crew here will do the rest — but it's even more fun to pick and paint your own pot, or build a terrarium or kokedama (a moss ball from which an ornamental plant grows) with assistance from the staff.

Things get especially unique —dare we say, bordering on bliss — in the Plant + Sip classes, where creativity is fueled by the kind of inspiration that only BYOB can provide.

7. Baldwin & Co.

New Orleans, LA

Company website | Yelp page

The independent bookstore sector has been on a steady and happy incline since 2009 (with a minor Covid-19-related dip in 2021), and by 2022 it encompassed 2506 locations in the U.S., according to Statista. With a mission to, in part, "use the power of books to inspire social justice," this minority-owned coffeehouse (its name a tribute to author James Baldwin) and bookstore is in the city's famed Marigny neighborhood, and is simply a flurry of activity, and activism.

Evangelical in its advancement of literacy and opportunity, it offers books, of course (both printed and audio), along with a variety of merchandise, and its status as a non-profit 501(c)(3) means that it can direct revenue towards a wide range of community events, donations and educational outreach programs.

8. Jagnmi

New York, NY

Company website | Yelp page

With three decades worth of hashmarks competing against flagship retailers in Manhattan's 100-plus-year-old Diamond District, Jangmi ("rose" in Korean) specializes in diamond/engagement rings, along with necklaces, bracelets and earrings.

"We came in without really any experience buying nice jewelry," wrote one Yelper, "and were apprehensive about being talked over by sales staff or asking silly questions… everyone was so warm with us, and we felt that they were advocating for our interests instead of pushing for more expensive sales. [The staff] seemed to have a genuine personal investment in making a beautiful but not exorbitantly pricey product." A service additionally worthy of note is Design Your Own, in which virtually any combination of stone and custom setting are combined for a one-of-a-kind piece.

9. Flamingo Road Nursery

Davie, FL

Company website | Yelp page

South Floridian Jim Dezell bought eight acres in Davie (just west of downtown Ft. Lauderdale) in 1996, with the intention of starting a hydroponic herb-growing facility. His product range swiftly expanded to include lettuce, then plants and trees for customer landscaping needs.

The business is now a two-location operation — one that includes a 10-acre, 2005-opened Flamingo Road Nursery and Farmers Market two miles north of the herb farm. On offer is a sweeping range of both garden décor and plants — from bonsai to butterfly to vegetable gardens, and from annuals to fruit trees. Keep an eye out for special events, too, such as the Fall Festival and Christmas Tree Village.

10. Red Rock Running Company

Las Vegas, NV

Company website | Yelp page

Essentially on a gut impulse, and with no prior small business ownership experience, Mark Jimenez took the reins of this three-location running-related sales and service operation in 2018. Turns out he knew how to hit the ground running.

His store offers shoes, accessories, fitness electronics and apparel, and sponsors a full calendar of events, such as Trail Time With Tim (McKenzie), Paces + Pints and the 4th of July 5k, 10k, & 1 Mile Fun Run. "I have struggled to find a running shoe that fit properly and have had no luck at other stores," one Yelper wrote, recalling a 2022 visit. "Right away [I was] very impressed by the knowledgeable staff and the tools they have to find the best shoe for you."

Related: Why Brick and Mortar Is Here to Stay

11. The Book Loft of German Village

Columbus, OH

Company website | Yelp page

Just a stroll from the state capital and a remarkable Civil War-era two-story structure — one that has been at various times a general store, saloon and nickelodeon cinema — 631 S 3rd Street is a gem of the city's German Village Historic District. It's now a sprawling warren of 32 rooms of new volumes, so you'll want to leave plenty of time for browsing.

"We chose not to get a map and got lost within the maze of rooms," one Yelp reviewer recalled, " …but ended up in the poetry section. [We] found one of our favorite poets, R. H. Sin, and sat down in a cozy spot and read for like an hour. It was a dream!" Don't forget to stroll the tree-shaded central courtyard and its tables brimming with "hurt" and clearance selections.

12. Tang's Bridal/Alterations/Bespoke

Manassas, VA

Company website | Yelp page

Founded by Xiao-Yin (Tang) in 1985, this versatile shop can alter or tailor wedding, prom, quinceañera and other special-event dresses, as well as everything from "blue jeans to tuxedos" for the fellas, according to Tang's site. That latter category includes dress suits, military, police and fire and rescue uniforms — even car racing suits and motorcycle leathers.

The wedding dress lineup of services features hemming, tapering and perfect-fitting bustles, necklines and veils, and there's also a full line of new dresses available from designer Maggie Sottero. "Xiao-Yin is absolutely the best in the DMV [Washington, D.C. metropolitan area]," succinctly observed one Yelp reviewer, "[and she] was super fun to talk to as well."

13. SaviorBack

Irvine, CA

Company website | Yelp page

When the pandemic drove many people to work from home, they started spending a lot more time in their cheap office chairs — leading to a rise in neck, back, arm, and wrist pain, among other problems. That's when Taketo Hayashi stepped up to help.

He founded SaviorBack from his garage, with the uncluttered mission/mandate that "you deserve better." In pursuit of that, the company presents an online catalog with no fewer than nine Herman Miller models (among them the iconic Aeron, as well as the Embody, Situ and Sayl) and five Steelcase designs (the latter also an American designer/manufacturer, and likewise headquartered in Grand Rapids, MI). These are investments, to be sure, but Hayashi's goal is to offer at once enduring design appeal and "lifetime chair" robustness.

14. Bond & Bevel

Caldwell, ID

Company website | Yelp page

With a desire to found a leather goods business but frustrated by the high cost of typical designers' retail-ready designs, the husband/wife team of Heath and Krista Albers started making their own. The first product was a Rugged Satchel (which is still in the catalog), followed in time — and with inspiration amplified by a move from Oregon to Idaho — by various pieces of apparel, bags, backpacks and wallets and cases.

Rugged individualism is a true inspirational force here, in both store décor and finished pieces, as well in accessories like flasks, knives and hatchets. Oh, and there's simply superb coffee and tea, too.

15. Mia's Creative Tailoring

Denver, CO

Yelp page

A Yelp reviewer and frequent flier to this Wellshire neighborhood shop summed things up nicely: "I have come to Mia countless times… from shortening pants to altering bridesmaid dresses… She is kind, professional, timely, communicative [and] affordable."

Quick turnaround of both its custom tailoring and clothing and shoe repair work is a real point of pride here, with another reviewer noting that a wedding dress can be perfectly fit in a brisk 72 hours. Just a few of the additional services are leather repair, patching and tapering, home décor alterations and full clothing restoration.

Related: How Small Businesses Are Teaming Up to Boost Local Economies

Entrepreneur Staff

Entrepreneur Staff


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