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Alice in Dairyland: Holiday Shopping with Something Special from Wisconsin

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Taylor Schaefer

Taylor Schaefer is pictured during a visit to Wysocki Produce Farm.

While Black Friday has been a popular holiday since the 1980s, Small Business Saturday has been growing in popularity.

Started by American Express in 2010, Small Business Saturday is celebrated the Saturday after Thanksgiving. According to Farm Bureau Financial Services, it was created “to help small businesses gain exposure and to inspire consumers to shop within their own communities during the holiday season.”

FBFS also shares that American consumers have spent more than $120 billion at small businesses in the last decade.

Nearly half of Wisconsin’s workforce is employed by small businesses, according to the U.S. Small Business Association. With many small businesses to choose from, there are countless opportunities to keep your money in your community and our state. SBA also says that, “on average, 48% of each purchase at local independent businesses is recirculated locally, compared to less than 14% of purchases at chain stores.”

Something Special from Wisconsin™ makes it easy to support small businesses this holiday season. For nearly 40 years, SSfW has been helping Wisconsinites identify locally made products. Since 1983, the program has been trademarked through the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. SSfW business members must guarantee that at least half of the item’s ingredients, production, or processing is attributed to Wisconsin. Member businesses utilize the recognizable red and yellow logo as a reliable way to identify their Wisconsin made products to consumers.

Regardless of who you are shopping for, SSfW companies are sure to have the perfect gift. Using the online directory at somethingspecialwi.com, you can browse through product categories, from artisan and gift to grocery and pets products, and search by location, item, or business name as well. Website users can select each business to learn more about the products they offer and their business. The handy map feature on the website can also help you identify companies nearby.

While I travel throughout Wisconsin as Alice in Dairyland, I am honored with the opportunity to visit and often get a behind the scenes look at many SSfW businesses! From confectionaries to butcher shops, each has a unique story to tell and something special to offer our community.

Many communities hold Small Business Saturday events throughout November. Visit your local chamber of commerce or city events page to find one near you and check out the events page on the SSfW website for local event opportunities. This holiday season and beyond, remember to look for the red and yellow Something Special from Wisconsin and support local Wisconsin businesses!

Yellowstone Cheese in Cadott makes fresh cheese curds six days a week and gets them to local retailers before noon that day to ensure shoppers get fresh quality cheeses and curds the same day the products are made. The company prioritizes using milk from small, local farms and selling local meats, candy, and other goodies at the retail store in Cadott.

Watch as cranberries are harvested and hear from a fifth-generation cranberry farmer.

Wisconsin produces more cranberries than anywhere else. And nowhere in Wisconsin is the tart red fruit more ubiquitous than the central sands area in Jackson, Monroe, Juneau and Wood counties, where cranberries are grown on about 270 farms spread across 21,000 acres. See how one of those farms, Wetherby Cranberry Company in Warrens, harvests this fruit that is unique to North America.

If you are preparing a traditional Thanksgiving dinner this year, you will probably have a lot of leftovers.

Taylor P. Schaefer is the 75th Alice in Dairyland.

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