The Saturday after Thanksgiving, and Black Friday, is now being labelled “Small Business Saturday”. The large business retail chains get the foot traffic on Black Friday, and small business owners want to encourage that traffic to continue the next day.
Small Business Saturday (WRAL 5 Video)
WRAL TV 5 mentioned Small Business Saturday earlier in the week, but then had a small blurb about it on Sunday morning, the day after. In this packet, a business in “Lafayette Village” called “Savory Spice Shop” was prominently displayed. I think they showed the interior, and I definitely remember the exterior… and I immediately said to myself, “I didn’t know they had a spice shop there”. I also immediately took my Chromebook, which was probably already in my hands for other purposes, and googled “Savory and Spice” and had their web site up on the screen, getting their schedule and location. They would be open later Sunday morning at 11 am, and they were located on Honeycutt Road (also facing Falls of Neuse Road).
I decided that this would be my Sunday adventure after I had breakfast. I got the address into my phone so that I could enter it into my navigation program. Later, once in Raleigh, I pulled off of Capital Blvd. and tried to get the best route to Savory Spice. The first option was to go up Capital Blvd. and get on 540… but I don’t know if all or just part of 540 is a toll road, so I decided I would try a different route. I enlarged the map and saw that Falls of Neuse Road would be easy to get to, and that it would take me almost all the way to where I wanted to go. If I had looked a little closer, I would have seen that although Lafayette Village was listed as being on Honeycutt Rd., Falls of Neuse Road went right past the retail shops and offered another entrance there.
I got to Lafayette Village shops a little before 11 am, so I used my “Gas Buddy” app to find the best price/nearest gas stations/convenience stores. There was a Sheetz station relatively near that I ended up going to. I then returned and it was just a few minutes before Savory Spice opened. The owners of Savory Spice, Bob & Cindy Jones, arrived a few minutes before their business was to open, and went in. Cindy brought out a sign, and as she turned to go back inside, another customer asked if she could come in a little early. Of course it was alright and both women headed into the shop.
I got out of my car and came in close behind the two women. It was a wonderful spice shop. Various canisters and “test tubes” of assorted spices, spice mixtures and salts were displayed on all four sides of the shop. Bob very soon came over to me and asked if he could be of assistance. He began to explain about what was for sale, and that there were “Tasters,” I think that was the label on the smaller containers which were samples to smell and taste of the various salts & spices. There were trash receptacles, but I didn’t immediately find them, and began to wonder
what to do with the spice powders that were quickly beginning to accumulate in my left palm. I didn’t want to brush them on the floor without a thought, but I didn’t want to put them in my waiting pockets either.
During my time there, several other customers came into the store. In listening to their conversations, it was interesting that all of us must have seen the Small Business Saturday blurb on WRAL just that morning and had found our way to the Savory Spice Shop just because of it. Later, while I was visiting a nearby specialty tea shop, another lady popped in asking where Savory Spice was located. I had to ask her, although she was definitely in a rush, if she had heard about it on WRAL that morning. She said, “Yes,” and quickly was back out the tea shop door heading around the corner.
While in Savory Spice, I mentioned to the gentleman owner that it would be nice to have a specialty olive oil store next door. He quickly replied, that “we already have one, just around the corner… but I’m not sure if it is open on Sunday.”
I bought several spice items, and a flaky salt from Australia, and headed out the door and around the corner. But, before getting to the specialty olive oil shop, I came to the tea shop “Mavalios”. I popped in to see what they had. The manager/owner of the shop was working behind the counter and greeted me. He looked Hispanic Cuban to me, and dressed “from the City”. Hey, I’m a fat, white guy from the South. He was just getting ready to brew some sample teas. He showed me and let me smell the aroma of several teas while explaining their intricacies or strengths. I said I was actually looking for the olive oil shop and would pop back in shortly to sample his tea.
I walked up to the olive oil shop and looked at their posted schedule. It was either on the door or a window, but there was a note that said for Nov. & Dec. (I think.) that they would also be open on Sundays… not normally though throughout the year. I tried the door and walked on in.
There were two women in the shop as I entered. Both appeared to be part of the staff or management. They both welcomed me and and proceeded to look around. I’ve been in a couple of other specialty olive oil shops (one called the “Crushed Olive” in Hickory, NC) and this was laid out pretty much the same. You have large cannisters of oils and vinegars which you can sample. There are little paper cups to place your samples, some napkins, and small trash cans about the store. There are various sizes of brown glass bottles labeled with the name of the oil or vinegar.
I tried quite a few oils and and few balsamic vinegars. I was looking for something that I hadn’t already purchased elsewhere. I don’t recall the name of the balsamic vinegar, but one poured out of the small spout about the speed of cold molasses. It was very sweet and good.
I bought about 3 items there, and then before leaving asked if I could take their picture. I told them that I blogged about the various places/stores that I visit and that I tried to add a photo that would back up what I had written. I also told them that they could stand wherever they would like, to display or highlight anything especially. The owner (one of them) thought to put on her apron before being photographed. I took their picture, asked if it appeared to be okay… my eyes don’t always focus and sometimes even clear pictures appear blurry to me. The picture was okay to them and I headed out the door with my picture and my bag of items.
I stopped in front of the shop, put my bag down and turned and took a picture of the exterior of the shop. I then headed back to the tea shop.
By this time the tea had brewed and was sitting on a counter with cups nearby. Both
owners were now in the store working behind the counter, near the cash register. We talked, I tried both samples of tea, and decided to buy the gentleman’s favorite. He packaged it up, and while doing so, I asked if I could take their picture. I took one picture… obviously out of focus, even to me… and then another. Maybe it was the leather hat matching the jacket that made me think he was a “city” boy. No offense meant. I didn’t ask if he was from New York City or some other large Northeastern metropolis, but he looked it to me. *He did mention that in addition to being the shop’s co-owner, he was also a lawyer.
Out the door again, another photo of this shop’s exterior and then back to my car.
As I backed out and headed around the shops, I saw that there was a bakery/cafe and decided to pop in to see what they had to offer. There were several customers sitting at small tables inside, and a short line of people waiting to order… perhaps breakfast baked goods… maybe coffee too. I walked on through only briefly stopping to look at the decor… various artwork on the walls, and then out the opposite side’s door.
There was one or more restaurants nearby, and I think it was still too early for them to be open. I rounded the corner and there found what, for me, was the gem of this adventure. The Village Market. I wasn’t sure if this was an actual market, or perhaps a catering business with a catchy name. I went to the door and walked inside. Oh boy! A specialty market. There were assorted good looking cuts of meat in the glass display counters along the back of the store. There were cheeses, specialty teas, olive oils, vinegars, and what appeared to be good prices on Italian pastas.
There were samples of hummus, salsas, and homemade pimento cheese. I tried the hummus first. Good. I then tried the pimento cheese. Very good! In fact so good that I think I tried it 3 times. *I did buy some of it before leaving, along with a couple of vinegars (the cheap ones) and some brie.
Drew, a young man met me as I first came in and let me know that if I needed his assistance he would be behind the meat counter. When I finally made my way to the meat counter, I saw that they had some fresh Italian sausages, both hot and mild. The butcher was talking to Drew (I’m not sure if Drew is also a butcher.) behind the counter. I asked them about how much a pound of sausage would be… how many links make a pound. It was the same as at Whole Foods… 4 links make about a pound… or in my case just a little over a pound. I bought two mild and two hot links. Drew said they would be good for a sandwich, but I said that I was planning to split the skin, peel it off and add the sausage to my spaghetti sauce. He agreed that that would also be a good idea.
It wasn’t clear where the pimento cheese containers, for sale, were located. Drew took me around the corner from the display area and pointed them to being there.
As Drew rang up my purchase, we talked and I also asked if I could take his picture. In the brief conversation, he mentioned that his mother either lived in Asheville, or was planning to visit. I had such a good experience during my visit to Weaverville and the “Stoney Knob Cafe” that I googled it on my phone and showed it to him. He said he would mention it to his mother because it sounded like a place she would like to visit.
Apparently, Lafayette Village is owned by one person and he has created a “foodies” mini paradise in North Raleigh. I do plan to go back to sample some of the meats at the Village Market. Surprising what a few moments on the TV can do to drum up business. No telling what actual commercials do for these shops.