Small Business Saturday – Vanilla Bean Giveaway and Coupon Code | Cupcake Project

Small Business Saturday – Vanilla Bean Giveaway and Coupon Code

Photo courtesy of IndriVanilla

When the Cupcake Project Explorers and I came up with the recipe for the Ultimate Vanilla Cupcakes, we learned that nothing gave the cupcakes as much of a true vanilla flavor as a real vanilla bean.  Although I am a tremendous fan of vanilla bean paste (it makes the best vanilla buttercream frosting – read the comments on the post if you are a doubter), in the cupcake itself, nothing works like a bean.

Beans, however, can be pricey.  I’ve seen vanilla beans sold for as high as $7 for one bean.  For a quality bean at a cheaper price, I’ve recently turned to IndriVanilla.  IndriVanilla is a small business owned by Whitney, a PhD student who wanted a cheaper, better-quality bean. She found a way to procure the beans and decided to create a business out of it. “Middlemen, referred to by the farmers as ‘traders,’ pay vanilla farmers very little for their prized beans. IndriVanilla was born to provide more people besides myself with high-quality, low-cost vanilla. I buy direct from the farmers at their asking price.”

IndriVanilla charges just $0.50 for individual beans and as little as $0.30 each if you buy in bulk.  Plus, IndriVanilla is offering a 10% discount to Cupcake Project readers; just enter the code “thecupcakeproject” at checkout.  (Full disclosure: supporting her small business also supports mine.  I get a small commission every time that code is used.)

How to Win Some Vanilla Beans

Update:  The contest is over.  The winners are Maegyn and Pat R.  Congrats to to you both!

Today is Small Business Saturday.  It’s a day that has particular meaning to me.   As a blogger married to a photographer, I have a vested interest in supporting small businesses.  But, small businesses are nothing new to me.  Both sets of my grandparents were small business owners and my father is a small business owner. Dad owns a shop in Forest Hills, NY that sells second-hand designer bags, clothing, jewelry, antiques, and collectibles.  He doesn’t have a website or Facebook page and telling you that the shop is called Instant Replay won’t make it too much easier to find (there isn’t even a sign out front).  His shop survives because of loyal customers, foot traffic on his street, and people that like to shop at businesses that have a face.

Today (and every day), I encourage you to support the small businesses in your neighborhood and the millions of small businesses online.  Now, I’m going to give you one more reason to do so.  For a chance to win a first prize of two dozen premium vanilla beans or a second prize of one dozen premium vanilla beans, leave a comment on this post with the answer to the following question:

  • What small business did you shop at today?  Although it’s not required, feel free to also tell us a little bit about that business and share a link to the shop to show them some love.

The fine print:

  • All comments must be posted by 11:59 PM CST on November 30, 2011.
  • Be sure that your comment includes a way to contact you if you win.
  • Limit of one entry per person.
  • I will randomly draw two winners on December 1, 2011.  I will contact the winners and update this post with their names.
  • If I don’t hear from a winner within one week to claim their prize, I reserve the right to choose a new winner.
  • Prizes can only be shipped within the U.S.

Good luck!

(Psst – There will be two more chances to win vanilla beans coming up soon: one on Cupcake Project’s Facebook page and one on IndriVanilla’s Facebook page.  Make sure that you “like” both pages so that you don’t miss the announcements.)

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147 Responses to Small Business Saturday – Vanilla Bean Giveaway and Coupon Code

  1. ekcelliott November 26, 2011 at 8:31 am #

    We’re getting ready to go shop for some new glasses frames for my husband at Advanced Eye Care in Urbandale, Iowa. I love love love to hear about this fair trade vanilla bean business…even if I don’t win, I’ll be purchasing from her for now on. Way to go!

  2. Bronwen November 26, 2011 at 8:35 am #

    We have local store i love that I always get candles and incense as gifts

  3. Anonymous November 26, 2011 at 8:38 am #

    We’re planning on shopping at several places today!

  4. Melisa November 26, 2011 at 8:48 am #

    We’re heading over to Bogenrief Studios for some wonderful pieces of blown glass.

  5. Antique Remedies November 26, 2011 at 8:48 am #

    Local Harvest Cafe!! Great resource in STL. A grocery store & a cafe! Great, local and organic food. I am also working slowly on my own small business Thanks, Stef, for this opportunity.

  6. Ruth November 26, 2011 at 8:56 am #

    There is a small Indian store in town where I live where I always find the most beautiful and unique house decor. Also, I’m a small baking business trying to get off the ground so these would be very beneficial to my work.

  7. cupsbykim November 26, 2011 at 8:56 am #

    Today is our family Thanksgiving dinner. As much as I’d love to say that all of our fixings were from small businesses, in this area that’s just not the case. Today however, we decided to support a small business in our area by choosing Andy’s Garden Center ( to help decorate our Thanksgiving table. We had a beautiful Thanksgiving Cornicopia made out of fresh cut flowers. Not to mention the Pineapple Upside Down cupcakes from Cups by Kim :o ) (

    I’d love to win some of these vanilla beans (since I make the Ultimate Vanilla recipe about once a week, I go through them pretty fast!) I do plan on supporting the small business and buying some too! Thanks for the coupon code!!

  8. Ruth November 26, 2011 at 8:57 am #

    Oops, wrong link.

  9. misdawn November 26, 2011 at 8:59 am #

    I am planning to hit as many shops in town as possible today!!!

  10. Amy Guin November 26, 2011 at 9:06 am #

    I live in a small town where getting to a mall is over an hour away, so I shop at small shops often! One of my favorites is Gold Connection, it began as a jewelry store and has grown into an amazing store with tons of gifts, frames, Vera Bradley, candles… Lots of great items “you’ve just gotta have”! You can view their fb page as well! I would love to win & I like the campaign you have for the small business owners! Unfortunately due to the economy, we had to close a family owned restaurant after 12 years in business… It is hard to survive and this is why I support my local shops!

  11. November 26, 2011 at 9:07 am #

    I am shopping at small batch studio today to get going on some Christmas gifts :) I would love to win some vanilla beans, I’ve always wanted to try cooking with them!

  12. Meggleberry November 26, 2011 at 9:08 am #

    Good Earth Natural Foods – awesome local organic store with a little deli.

  13. Mrs. Williams November 26, 2011 at 9:09 am #

    We’re heading out soon to Diamond Castle Jewelers in Novi, MI to get my rings rhodium dipped. I love Small Business Saturday (& cupcakes) =)

  14. TheYellowRose November 26, 2011 at 9:13 am #

    My husband and I try to shop local and support small businesses whenever possible! We get almost all of our produce from the local farmer’s market and skip Starbucks to support a local coffee shop that roasts their own locally-grown beans.

  15. Sandia, Bite of Life Baking Company November 26, 2011 at 9:17 am #

    Both my parents & my husband’s parents were/are small business owners. Some of my father’s customers have been getting Chinese take-out from him for over 30yrs (Chop Suey King in E. St. Louis)! It is an incredible feeling to watch some of the customer’s families grow before our eyes. In addition, I am attempting to start my own small business ( As a result, we are both HUGE supporters of small businesses, near & far. On our recent vacation to Florida, we visited Sea Turtle Toys, Frosting, Red Onion, Hale Groves, Orchid Island Pizzeria…to name a few. Here at home, a week doesn’t go by without a visit to our favorite St. Louis deli on the Hill, Mama Toscano’s. We love the “family feeling” we receive from owners, Nick & Patty. If you have had toasted ravioli in St. Louis, chances are they came from here! They recently expanded their menu as well. All of these small businesses deserve a visit! Thanks Stef, for highlighting one!! -Sandia (

  16. Maegyn November 26, 2011 at 9:20 am #

    We’re planning on stopping in at a little boutique in OKC called Collected Thread The owner always procures (and makes herself) the cutest local items such as clothes and things for the home. While we’re out we also plan on stopping in at Elemental Coffee Roasters for our caffeine fix. They serve THE best coffee in the area and they also roast and ship their coffee everywhere!

  17. Melinda November 26, 2011 at 9:23 am #

    Here in Phoenix I will be visiting Baby Bloomers, a children’s consignment store, and Tempe Camera, a local sales/rental/repair business. I might even stop at Luci’s Healthy Marketplace to get a latte. And I love vanilla beans!

  18. Vivian November 26, 2011 at 9:24 am #

    I buy cookies at a local Italian bakery in my neighborhood.

  19. Maureen November 26, 2011 at 9:29 am #

    I live in a small town in Wa and am shopping two local thrift stores. One is called Treasures and it supports our local hospital and they purchase equipment with the proceeds.The other is Nifty Thrifty and it supports the Senior Center. After that, I’m going to Sage Bookstore for cookbooks and a cup of coffee!!

  20. Kylie November 26, 2011 at 9:38 am #

    I’m working on finishing a quilt for my sister for Christmas- today I bought the final piece the binding! I got it at Homespun Quilts our local quilt store, they are a little store but have wonderful fabrics and sewing machine services. kcarlson1152[at]

  21. (lia) November 26, 2011 at 9:44 am #

    Today I’m going to breakfast (for my birthday!) at a local pho place. Then my BFF & I are headed to Downtown Riverside to do some shopping at the many, many local stores there. Can’t wait!

  22. Anonymous November 26, 2011 at 9:47 am #

    I always shop at a local farm to get my vanilla bean whipped honey. Its SO good on biscuits!

  23. Ginger November 26, 2011 at 9:59 am #

    I’m not eligible for the give-away, but I just bought vanilla beans form IndriVanilla, and I just wanted to say how fantastic they are. I can’t believe the price I paid (even including shipping to Canada!), and they look and smell beautiful. I haven’t had a chance to use the beans yet, but I can’t wait until I do! Additionally, Whitney provides absolutely fantastic customer service – I freaked out a bit because I recently moved and the pay-pal invoice I got had my old address on it and Whitney responded very quickly and was about to confirm within 24h that the beans were in fact on their way to my new address. Seriously, I wish all small business had customer service like that!

  24. Kelly VanHoveln November 26, 2011 at 10:00 am #

    Today I hit up a craft fair and bought a bag from a very talented lady named Mary (of Bags by MK). I also shopped The Clothes Gallery in Crystal Lake, IL ( for a new pair of black skinny jeans. On CyberMonday, I’m shopping my friend Laura’s site for Dragonfly Soap Works ( buy her artisan olive oil-based soaps and amazing Dragonfly Balm solid lotion. Awesome stuff! I think, in honor of this post, I’m going to buy her Mexican Vanilla Soap. Yum!

  25. Eileen November 26, 2011 at 10:01 am #

    shopping online at my local quilt shop:

    my hubby does most of the shopping there on his way to or from work, but i also shop online or call them and they’re always super helpful in person or anyway i contact them!! thanks for the opportunity–wow, that’s a great deal on vanilla beans!!

  26. Angie November 26, 2011 at 10:07 am #

    I am shopping online today from Bake It Pretty ( and locally at Bedner’s Farm Market ( I am grateful for the info on where to order the vanilla beans if I don’t win! We always try to support the small businesses whenever we can, especially those with big hearts.

    (thankfulhearted [at]

  27. Donna Mathes November 26, 2011 at 10:08 am #

    We are going to our Community Holiday Market in the downtown area of our town today. There’s lots of opportunity to buy locally from small business owners.

  28. Alicia November 26, 2011 at 10:12 am #

    Glowing Oasis PIlates for giftcards!!

  29. Renee November 26, 2011 at 10:19 am #

    I will definitely be checking out Indrivanilla. I usually visit an ethnic market or two to get ingredients I can’t usually get anywhere else though not on Saturday. Saturday’s a relaxing day, no shopping on Saturdays. I have a trip planned soon to a small Italian grocery store on The Hill in STL. I can be reached at if I happen to win the lovely vanilla beans. ; )

  30. Cupcake Chromatography November 26, 2011 at 10:40 am #

    I made my purchase a few days ago and received it yesterday from Plastic Container City. It’s a company located in Brooklyn, NY where I get all of my cupcake boxes, wrappers etc.

    Check them out here:

  31. Alexandra November 26, 2011 at 10:41 am #

    Most of the shops and businesses in my town are small businesses, and I love to buy German baked goods from “The Bakery” and sandwich’s from “Mikee’s” or “Heritage Deli.”


  32. ~ Cee ~ November 26, 2011 at 10:41 am #

    We’re planning to do a consignment and local thrift store Christmas. Not only will we be supporting local shop owners, we’ll also be doing our part by purchasing used.

    ceevegnashville [at] gmail [dot] com

  33. Kira November 26, 2011 at 11:02 am #

    My husband and I always shop at America’s Market. It’s a small shop in Wheeling, IL that carries everything from soda to mustard and hot sauces to old fashioned candies, with everything having been made in the USA. We love it!


  34. Jen November 26, 2011 at 11:30 am #

    Stopped at Spice Rack on my way home from work today. It’s a gorgeous little store that stocks Indian condiments, spice mixes, etc and has a fantastic self-serve lunch service. Had a bite to eat and stocked up on spices & lentils!

  35. Sara November 26, 2011 at 11:31 am #

    We’re planning to go to a local sushi restaurant, Sakana Bune in San Francisco. These vanilla beans look great!

  36. Rebecca Green November 26, 2011 at 12:06 pm #

    I love to buy cakes at Elizabeth’s Cakes in Dallas, TX


  37. Anonymous November 26, 2011 at 12:10 pm #

    I shopped at Westside today small farmer’s market with great, fresh produce!

  38. jean November 26, 2011 at 12:13 pm #

    I went to our nearest town and shopped at all the stores. I got stocking stuffers, craft supplies, dishes, cards, gift wrap and more, just in the hardware store! Then I ate lunch and of course I had to visit the bakery! I walked around and got some fresh air and continued shopping. Everyone was in a good mood and there were no lines or angry mobs. I saw a few things I’ll need to pick up during the week – I have to hide them while everyone is at school/work.

  39. Grace November 26, 2011 at 12:36 pm #

    Does Etsy count? I hope so because it’s supporting small business and supporting handmade. I pretty much go to etsy when I need something and if I can’t find it there, then I go to the big stores. As a matter of fact, Etsy has been bad for my small pocketbook.

  40. Ellen November 26, 2011 at 12:41 pm #

    A visit to our local cupcakery, of course!

    You can reach me at

    Thanks! Ellen

    P.S. I’ll be ordering these beans very, very soon. Thanks for the tip. :)

  41. Little Miss Hungry November 26, 2011 at 12:42 pm #

    I went to the Old Country Store in Mansfield, MA. Love their meandering store with stuff EVERYWHERE! Homemade candies, neat furniture, tons of “old timey goods” and more!

    massachuseats (at) gmail (dot) com

  42. Tara November 26, 2011 at 1:21 pm #

    I bought my first Christmas present at a shop called Inspire Me in South Bend, IN. It’s the cutest women’s boutique ever. Tons of really unique clothes and shoes and accessories and…oh my! Check ‘em out:

  43. jo-lyn November 26, 2011 at 1:33 pm #

    i had to get cupcake supplies at the local bakery! :)

  44. jo-lyn November 26, 2011 at 1:35 pm #

    btw, my e-mail is

  45. Ashley November 26, 2011 at 1:44 pm #

    I get some pretty awesome bread from the Great Harvest Bread Company in North Dakota –

  46. Asteriidae November 26, 2011 at 1:52 pm #

    Well, I’m living on a tiny island called South Caicos in the Turks and Caicos Islands right now, so all of my shopping at the moment is through small businesses! I haven’t bought anything today, but I will be heading down the street for a diet coke later, and will probably buy it from Wilson’s, our favorite little shop! Living on an island of 1100 people with only one operating hotel provides a new prospective on small businesses!

  47. Tanglewood Farm November 26, 2011 at 2:00 pm #

    I shopped at the “Rust Belt Market” in Ferndale, MI today. It’s a fantastic little vintage/craft market that meets every weekend in a beautiful old building. All of the vendors there are selling hand crafted objects, food from local ingredients or vintage and repurposed items. The whole place has got a great vibe, with people sharing stories and hip music playing over the whole room. I seriously suggest looking into it if you’re ever in SE Michigan. It was a ton of fun! I may try selling there as a vendor next spring when I finally get my bakery business rolling!

  48. Charity Hardin November 26, 2011 at 2:48 pm #

    We didn’t go shopping today, but this is my favorite small business in my small town: Palm Eye Care. Here’s their website:

  49. Carly November 26, 2011 at 3:05 pm #

    My favorite small business is Roma Pizza. I seem to frequent this shop more than any others in our small town. Pizza followed by a delicious cupcake using my best vanilla – yum!

  50. Erin - Mrs Monkei November 26, 2011 at 3:15 pm #

    As a loyal long time reader in Australia, can I just voice my sadness that whenever the blogs I love hold giveaways, they never ship overseas? Maybe this could be a possibility for the future, and the winner can pay postage via paypal or something if cost is an issue? As a small biz hobbyist myself, I certainly understand the high price of shipping overseas!

  51. Shreela November 26, 2011 at 3:42 pm #

    Tri Health Inc‎
    11025 Fuqua Street
    Houston, TX 77089-2510
    (713) 947-7373

    Not as big as Erma’s Nutrition Center & Natural Market in Clear Lake near Nasa, but Tri Health is a lot closer to me. Both owners are VERY nice though ^_^

  52. Erica H November 26, 2011 at 3:51 pm #

    I shopped at Bert’s Surf shop today to get a wetsuit for my husband! Much better place with personal service than some of the chain stores around here.

  53. Tug's Girl November 26, 2011 at 4:02 pm #

    My husband and I shopped at several small businesses in Carbondale, Illinois today: three local vendors at the Carbondale Farmer’s Market, the Neighborhood Co-op, Monah’s International Grocery, Fresh Foods produce, and Westroads Liquor store (to get some vodka for some homemade vanilla extract!). These locally owned stores are usually on our Saturday shopping trips.

  54. Mia November 26, 2011 at 4:53 pm #

    We went and enjoyed some great playtime and some yummy noshes at a local coffee shop/indoor playground! (Time In Play Cafe)

  55. Heather November 26, 2011 at 5:12 pm #

    I went to the Honey Bee quilt store in Austin, TX and got a few Grinch/Suess charm packs

  56. Melissa Ayers November 26, 2011 at 5:43 pm #

    I got their new mom deluxe kit – I already use their reusable pads up until I got pregnant. They were having a great sale on their new mom post-partum kit, and even though I’m not due until June, I wanted to make sure I have it!

  57. Wendy November 26, 2011 at 5:54 pm #

    We stopped at our favorite local Japanese restaurant, Odaku Sushi, in Austin, TX. AH-mazing tonkatsu!! (Thanks for the great vanilla info and the giveaway!)


  58. lindsey stu November 26, 2011 at 6:13 pm #

    I bought some art at Paper Crane Gallery in Bloomington, IN. Their art is super rad.

  59. Earthtokarmen November 26, 2011 at 6:18 pm #

    We brew beer so we bought some brew supplies today from Home Brew Party – We love them and love to shop and eat locally!!


  60. Liz Ramos November 26, 2011 at 6:56 pm #

    Shayne Sauce, 100% Durum Wheat Flour in flavored pasta! It is amazing and good for you. This is the link:
    I’m pretty sure they ship out, me and my husband found it just looking for good food and we’ll never go back to any other pasta. I have my own small business and vanilla beans are ridiculously expensive. Even if I don’t win, I’m buying Indri! Email:

  61. Claudia Y November 26, 2011 at 7:10 pm #

    After traveling to Czech Republic, Coming back home, I found a small specialty store that sells foods and other goods. Its a great place to find local products that only be found there. Its amazing!

  62. LoveToRead November 26, 2011 at 7:38 pm #

    I shopped at Willow Manor in Rancho Santa Margarita, CA today. A wonderful small boutique store that I frequent often for their personal touch!

  63. Aerie November 26, 2011 at 7:59 pm #

    Had bubble tea at a neat little shop called Tea Fuse in downtown Vinings, Georgia.

    Would be interesting to try out a few things with fresh vanilla beans. Never have been adventurous enough to strike out and experiment with anything like that.

  64. Kittish November 26, 2011 at 8:26 pm #

    I don’t know if it counts, exactly, but I had lunch today at the small restaurant and bar operated by my family. We do as much as possible from scratch, for example I bake most of the bread the restaurant uses, and my father in law makes our pasta sauce and my mother in law makes the salsa. We do some of our buying locally, coffee beans from a local roaster and honey from a local producer, and we’re hoping to be able to expand that.

  65. Rachel November 26, 2011 at 9:03 pm #

    Bought some wine at the local wine store “filler up”

  66. Wendy November 27, 2011 at 1:12 am #

    I ordered a recycled glass ornament from a local glass artist: Fleurette Sevin.

    She also has an Etsy Shop:

    I always try to support ‘the little guy’!

  67. Melissa November 27, 2011 at 4:07 am #

    I just bought some ravioli at a fresh pasta shop down the street! Delicious!

  68. emerzim November 27, 2011 at 5:39 am #

    We didn’t do any shopping, but we did go out to lunch and made sure that it was a local place – Shields Date Gardens. My grandmother worked there for over 40 years and they have a great new outdoor cafe that does amazing breakfast and lunch.

  69. Pat R November 27, 2011 at 6:16 am #

    We live in a little town much like Mayberry. Our main street is lined with small businesses. We usually try to find what we need in one of them before shopping at one of the larger or chain stores. Bakeries, hardware stores, delis, liquor stores, dog grooming, beauty shops, etc. Catonsville, Maryland has them all!

  70. Joan November 27, 2011 at 7:31 am #

    I did not do any shopping but did stop for a coffee at my local coffee shop. Mmmmm!

  71. Roguewrld November 27, 2011 at 8:01 am #

    My husband and I made a trip to our Foam Brain, a local gaming shop to pick up the full Commander Magic Set. Andrew opened up shop after Wizards of the Coast changed the rules for Friday Night magic and required their distributors to have a storefront. It is the only local gaming shop actually in a basement, to make us all feel at home.

  72. Kittie November 27, 2011 at 9:00 am #

    I “shopped” at my own! I am a small business owner, and proud of it! I run a very small consulting business in the San Francisco Bay Area.

  73. dcr November 27, 2011 at 9:16 am #

    I shopped out Outdoor Davis for some winter gear for my kids. They are a local store that also has an online business called Went to buy some vanilla beans for a chocolate pie I made at Thanksgiving and almost went into shock $15.99 for 2 small beans, yikes. Your post couldn’t come at a better time for me, I will definitely be using her site. Thanks,

  74. Kristin November 27, 2011 at 9:18 am #

    Yesterday for Small Business Saturday, I supported a small farm by purchasing honey from them at a farmers’ market :)

  75. nbortz November 27, 2011 at 9:26 am #

    Today I took my business to Jitters. It is a locally owned coffee shop here in Eagle River, Alaska. They have tables made out of antique sewing machine stands and some of the best coffee in the area. There is a Starbucks only two blocks away and Jitters always has more business, better prices, better coffee, and an amazingly cozy atmosphere. They also open up their small back room for evening college classes for the local university.

    I would love to win these vanilla beans since the cost of anything up here in Alaska is ridiculous!

  76. Sewsweetserendipity November 27, 2011 at 9:38 am #

    I participated in a Christmas boutique and purchased some beautifl gloves crocheted by a friend of mine. Unfortunately se does not have a blog/site, but the fabulous Gal who put on the boutique has a FB page. She creates beautiful and unique jewelry. I own lots of it. Her FB page is!/pages/Jewelry-by-Dre/131030833666088
    I would LOVE to win te vanilla beans :) I am a cupcake baker and have never used beans yet because of the price. Thank you for the giveaway :)

  77. shelly8806 November 27, 2011 at 9:39 am #

    My boyfriend’s cousin owns a local bakery and I’m always going to get some treats from it!

  78. Brittany November 27, 2011 at 9:46 am #

    I love our local coffee shop. Crown Point Coffee. Always good drinks, food and happy faces!

  79. Donna Wolfe November 27, 2011 at 9:49 am #

    I’m at a local coffee shop called Blue Horse Coffee:
    I love it because the owners know your name even after only a few visits. Plus they have the very best coffee, (fair trade) and super comfy chairs!

    If I win please contact me by email:


  80. Jillian November 27, 2011 at 11:52 am #

    There are a few Amish shops in Clayton and Union, OH, which I absolutely adore. I visited two of them on Small Business Saturday–A Bushel & a Peck and Covered Wagon. They both have really high quality, reasonably priced products, and Covered Wagon has some of the best fudge I’ve ever eaten (which is saying something!). Vive la small business!

  81. Stacey P (cosaver213) November 27, 2011 at 12:29 pm #

    We are going to a local Asian market to pick up some unusual ingredients for meals this week.

    spaller213 (at) gmail (dot) com

  82. Lisa P November 27, 2011 at 1:08 pm #

    We went to A Christmas Carosel show this weekend which is at the state fair grounds and it it nothing but small businesses selling stuff for the holidays :) I didnt walk out empty handed!!!

  83. Nicole Marie November 27, 2011 at 1:49 pm #

    I live in Pittsburgh, home of the “Strip District”. No, it’s not what you think. There are so many unique, one-of-a-kind shops down there, lots of ethnic places too. It’s always fun to go down there just to look around at the different shops to see what they have at the moment, and to sample things they have.

  84. Lexy November 27, 2011 at 2:12 pm #

    I got my morning tea at They have the best chai tea and will make tea concoctions for you based on what flavors you like! Check it out if you live in Chicago!

  85. NancyM November 27, 2011 at 3:12 pm #

    I live in a beach town full of small businesses – my favorites are Browseabout Books ( and Lloyd’s Market. So much better than a corporate book store or supermarket.

    One downside to this beach town, however, is that no one seems to carry vanilla beans! I’m ashamed to say how much I spent on the last two I bought. I’ll be shopping at IndriVanilla from now on! Thanks for the tip. :-)

  86. Mom24 November 27, 2011 at 4:10 pm #

    We Christmas shopped at a local toy store, Larsons, We’ve been shopping there for 25 years, they offer a great selection and awesome customer service. Highly recommended.

  87. Anonymous November 27, 2011 at 4:50 pm #

    I love going to the farmers market and flea markets.

  88. Dave November 27, 2011 at 4:58 pm #

    This week we’ll be going to a restaurant in downtown Durham called Pop’s to celebrate my birthday. They have some great food and amazing wood-fired pizza.

  89. cmjhawaii November 27, 2011 at 5:34 pm #

    My daughter needs a white muu muu for her band concert. I’ll be going to a local factory store to look for one.
    flowerpower0097 at live dot com

  90. Lula November 27, 2011 at 6:40 pm #

    I got a lovely diary for a friend at Ten Thousand Villages
    I have shopped there before, it is a great place to find unique presents for everybody I know. I am very lucky to have one 5 mins from home so it is super convenient.
    Thank you for sharing the link to IndriVanilla!

  91. Lula November 27, 2011 at 6:41 pm #

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  92. Leah November 27, 2011 at 7:19 pm #

    On Friday, I visited a plant nursery and consignment shop near Frederick MD. To be honest, I have no idea what the name is. We stopped because my grandmother’s friend owns the place. It was a very nice place with a friendly staff and nice atmosphere.


  93. the frustrated baker November 27, 2011 at 8:00 pm #

    Pammie’s in Wilson, NC. A small baking supply store, mainly Wilton products, but some other things, such as Satin Ice fondant, my favorite. no website at this time.

  94. Anonymous November 28, 2011 at 12:45 am #

    On small business Sat. I went to a small family owned Restaraunt in lewiston, Id. called Jeffrey’s Restaraunt…they serve the best bacon gravy and serve breakfast all day! Also, went to a local coffe stand, Hot shot Espresso…best Latte’s in town!
    Jeffrey’s has a facebook page I believe!

  95. Okigirl2013 November 28, 2011 at 6:20 am #

    I purchased some baking supplies from sweet estelle’s.
    mmj_mjj @ yahoo dot com

  96. Nancy Vacation November 28, 2011 at 7:13 am #

    Wow, great idea, I would like to bye some cheaper vanilla beans because it is actually one of my favourite flavours I like to use it in many things that I make like muffins and cakes for example!

  97. courtney k November 28, 2011 at 8:47 am #

    One of my favorite local small businesses is Happy Dog Barkery, the make their own treats for dogs plus have all sort of pet items. They are always very friendly and accommodating. they also support many local rescues and humane societies. Just got some fresh baked treats for my rescue pittie!

  98. Erin @ The Spiffy Cookie November 28, 2011 at 9:26 am #

    My favorite small business in Memphis is Muddy’s (

  99. Anonymous November 28, 2011 at 10:39 am #

    Though it is now closed until next fall, a small business I shopped at is the Clinton Cider Mill in Clinton, NY! It’s amazing; check it out! The cider press operates while you wait in line :)

  100. Lauren November 28, 2011 at 11:09 am #

    I shopped at Family Pathways in Hinckley MN. It’s my favorite store. They don’t really have a website, but this is a link.

    I didn’t do any other shopping over the weekend.

    Thanks so much for the chance to win these!!

  101. Rodney November 28, 2011 at 1:19 pm #

    I just placed an order at Bake-a-Box ( thanks to your suggestion. I’ve been trying to find cupcake boxes for awhile now and can’t believe how inexpensive and awesome these boxes are! I can’t wait to fill them with cupcakes..Ultimate Vanilla Bean of course! :)

  102. Shay D. November 28, 2011 at 4:13 pm #

    A delicious frozen yogurt shop nearby called Peaks. The variety of flavors and toppings is amazing!

  103. Anna November 28, 2011 at 4:24 pm #

    I was too scared to venture out this weekend with all the black friday crazies, but I love shopping at small shops on a regular basis. I’m much more likely to find something unique and special there than settle for a mass produced item without much thought. What a fantastic find, and at these prices, you better believe I’ll be ordering from them!

  104. Heather H November 28, 2011 at 4:51 pm #

    Hi Point Coffee and Cafe in Reno, NV. They have a menu full of fresh/seasonal food and it’s amazing!


  105. Emily November 28, 2011 at 5:48 pm #

    We had lattes from The Three Legged Dog in Jacksonville, IL. The Chai Latte and Top Dog Latte are fantastic!!! Not only do they have fantastic drinks, but their lunch items and soups are terrific, too. Their site is Next time you are the area, stop on by!

    Emily (

  106. Hannah November 28, 2011 at 6:35 pm #

    Kepler’s Books – one of my favorite local shops and a great place to get puzzles and other fun diversions as well as books.

    Thanks for the wonderful giveaway – the vanilla beans look amazing!

  107. Amanda Moore November 28, 2011 at 7:26 pm #

    I have been searching for someone who can make diaper cakes, and not only diaper cakes, but “cakes” with other types of personality. I ran across Alissa’s page on Facebook ( and I fell in love with the creations she makes. (I also received one of her creations for my baby shower for my twin girls from a friend of mine) and I knew that’s where I was going to get my friend her cake for her shower.
    She goes out of her way to look for things that match your theme. My friend is setting her nursery up with Dandelions and the color Turquoise, to represent “wishes” and Alissa has done more than what anyone else has that I’ve inquired from. She has gotten another small business owner to make a taggie blanket with the theme for the cake and has spent hours searching for it.
    She is also making me a White Elephant gift – which is a cake full of the most ridiculous things she can find.
    She never doubts any project, keeps me in the loop about everything she is doing and how much everything will be and is an all around great small business owner. I would recommend her for anyone who is looking for items like this, as she does do shipping.

    Amanda M. (

  108. Thelma Pascoal November 28, 2011 at 9:06 pm #

    I went shopping in some cute stores here in Fort Lee, NJ. =)

  109. Marissa November 29, 2011 at 6:26 am #

    There is a really great glass store in my area that I will be going to tonight to start early on the Christmas gifts! Next to it there’s a great little book store that has great coffee, both places are amazing! Even if you don’t live in PA, check them out.

    I think this is an awesome contest, plus it allows people to see some of the neat places everyone else shops at, and with websites being available, we can support them from states away.

  110. Sugar and Spice November 29, 2011 at 7:40 am #

    There’s a cupcake and yogurt shop and town that we love to go to for a sweet treat.

  111. Rachel November 29, 2011 at 8:26 am #

    We went to a small local market and stopped by some local restaurants to pick up gift cards for Christmas.

  112. Sourkraut November 29, 2011 at 8:39 am #

    Uh, I didn’t even leave the house on Small Business Saturday or venture online much but last week I did get a head start on my Christmas shopping by buying some fun lip balm from an Etsy shop:

  113. leab17 November 29, 2011 at 9:38 am #

    At On Centre!

    It’s an amazing store with little cute things! I bought some owl shaped things (necklace & luggage tag). The owner is also really nice who gave my dog a treat.

  114. Abby November 29, 2011 at 10:46 am #

    My family was all heading in to town to celebrate Thanksgiving over the weekend, so we made a stop at The Green Growler in Croton-on-Hudson, NY. It’s a newly opened small business that has beer-themed items (soap made from beer, beer-shaped pasta, etc) as well as about 6-8 growlers on tap at a time. You buy a jug, and when it’s finished you go and they wash it out and fill it up with a new one! Great new local business- we got a nice pumpkin spiced beer to celebrate the fall holidays!

  115. slightlyawkward November 29, 2011 at 12:38 pm #

    I shopped at Pizazz Sweets, a cupcake shop/other mini desserts shop. I also work there! ;)

  116. Kim November 29, 2011 at 1:42 pm #

    We are fortunate to have a small shopping district made up almost completely of small businesses near our home. We browsed most of the shops on the strip and bought some books at Hicklebee’s, which carries mostly children’s books. I love this store! I can spend hours browsing.

  117. Julie November 29, 2011 at 9:03 pm #

    Great give away – I always shop local when I can :) we have a lot of local small businesses in Eureka!

  118. Unknown November 30, 2011 at 5:15 am #

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  119. brevmom November 30, 2011 at 5:18 am #

    We have a nice downtown area filled with small businesses. I enjoy shopping at our local shoe store Moose Tracks.

  120. Anonymous November 30, 2011 at 7:29 am #

    I was about to leave the house to visit one of my favorite small local businesses when I decided to check for a cupcake project update! (I’ve been out of town for a week.) I am about to head to Aimee’s Cafe in Lawrence, KS. They make the best breakfast ever & it’s owned & operated by the family. Gotta love it.

    Emily Gnefkow

  121. Words-by-Jess November 30, 2011 at 8:43 am #

    I shopped at the Biblelot shoppe on Grand Ave in St. Paul, MN. I got pencils that look like drum sticks and measuring cup nesting dolls. They always have super cute items for gifts, home, etc. I also am planning on checking out Patina in St. Paul- they’re very homey, and Truly in White Bear Lake, MN- for homemade, indy stuff.

  122. debyoung74 November 30, 2011 at 11:05 am #

    Our local downtown coffee shop (Old Town Cafe in Palm Harbor, FL). I enjoyed a Peppermint Mocha while my daughter fed gingerbread dog treats to a local puppy friend. I love my small town!!!

  123. Anonymous November 30, 2011 at 12:04 pm #

    AHHHH I love vanilla beans! email:

  124. The Creative Princess November 30, 2011 at 3:03 pm #

    I shopped at my FAVORITE local store…The Vintage Pearl! They are AMAZING! I purchased this ( piece.

  125. Stacie November 30, 2011 at 3:08 pm #

    Shop at our local Dance shop (Pointe Dance Boutique). I love using vanilla beans.

  126. Michelle November 30, 2011 at 3:13 pm #

    I’m making caramels for the Christmas gifts this year and my recipe calls for real vanilla beans. This will be my first time using one so I’m really excited about it! Email me if I win at

  127. Jena Liao November 30, 2011 at 3:35 pm #

    on saturday I visited our local small business toy store, Goodie Gumdrops They carry lots of unique toys and games, melissa & doug things, feature handmade baby items from local crafters, host parties, and have a weekly family game night. My kids love it there because you can play with practically everything in the store.

  128. Jeanne the tiny chef November 30, 2011 at 3:39 pm #

    okay so I didnt shop at a local store today… but I had homework so… I live around many small bussinesses though and shop at them weekly. That counts right? One of my favorites sells personalized everything! Its really awesome. Hope I will some vanilla beans… since my mom doesnt spend the money to but me my own :)

  129. Lovelymissjenna November 30, 2011 at 4:00 pm #

    On small business saturday my son and I went to seattle’s Pike Place Market and shopped at many small businesses. Some very tiny we bought a light switch cover. Some not so tiny, we picked up some Beechers cheese. We even home some local creamed honey. He was very excited about the day and the cause. I would LOVE to win this contest. I decided 5 minutes before hearing if this contest that I will be making homemade vanilla extract for gifts this holiday. It is meant to be. You can contact me at *please pick me*

  130. Meghan November 30, 2011 at 4:08 pm #

    I stopped by Mochalisa’s Cafe today. It is a locally owned coffee shop that prepares the best lattes in town!

  131. Megan November 30, 2011 at 4:16 pm #

    I shopped at a local boutique to buy my mom a purse for Christmas!

    I also bought a few hand painted ornaments for our Christmas tree.

    Awesome giveaway! I plan to use the vanilla beans to make some homemade vanilla bean ice cream. It’s the best! :)

    email is

  132. KaThy!! November 30, 2011 at 4:18 pm #

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  133. Anonymous November 30, 2011 at 4:22 pm #

    Today I bought three bars of Sweeteeth’s Sea is for Caramel. Their handcrafted chocolates are simply uh-mazing! You should try ‘em out. :D


  134. Jennifer Ann November 30, 2011 at 4:30 pm #

    i love to bake all sorts of goodies, however when i’m in a jam and can’t get to the oven i’ll swing into a great little bakery called Clovebrook. not only do they have delectable bits or tender dough, fruit, wholesome rock you to the core goodness in pies, cakes, cookies, pastries, but also food to delight! to get into the holiday spirit i’ve been wanting to try some vanilla bean vodka – apparently it’s supper easy to make! so while i make my homemade baileys with the vanilla bean vodka, i’ll be baking some chocolate guiness cupcakes and infuse them with my cream cheese and homemade baileys frosting! can i get a yum?!

  135. Carla November 30, 2011 at 7:03 pm #

    Today I’m in Ohio Amish country for work, and I shopped at an Amish store and an Amish restaurant for dinner.

  136. Carla November 30, 2011 at 7:04 pm #

    Today I’m in Ohio Amish country for work, and I shopped at an Amish store and an Amish restaurant for dinner.

  137. SweetAnnie49 November 30, 2011 at 7:18 pm #

    I shopped at Groggs Green Barn in Tulsa, OK, on Small Business Saturday. Kelly and Carla Grogg have this wonderful place where you can buy everything you need to grow plants organically. They are a wonderful source of native plants as well. I hope I win the vanilla beans — I plan on baking cupcakes for Christmas gifts this year. You can contact me at

  138. Eating My Way To Thin November 30, 2011 at 7:27 pm #

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  139. SunE November 30, 2011 at 7:27 pm #

    PICK ME, ME, ME, ME…i wanna try it in your ultimate vanilla cupcakes…..

  140. Eating My Way To Thin November 30, 2011 at 7:30 pm #

    We shopped at a local game store here in MI called Guild of Blades (GOB). They have lots of board games, card games, D&D miniatures; stuff my husband feeks out to!


  141. Nekomimi December 1, 2011 at 6:24 am #

    Wow IndriVanilla sounds amazing and even if I don’t win I will definitely make a purchase from her soon ^_^

    M Vintage is one of my favorite local businesses. Emily (I like to call her Emily the Strange) owns the little boutique in historic down town Jonesborough, TN. She not only sells lovely clothes that she spends weeks deciding one what would be best for her customers but also a lot of locally made jewelry and accessories. I’ve bough a skirt/dress, hair bands by local creator MadDog designs, and romantic gothic jewelry.

    You can see her wares on her facebook page:!/pages/M-Vintage/145775452121600

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