When Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot stopped by in early December to tour some of Hyattsville’s small businesses, he said something I just couldn’t get out of my head.

“I’m a proud resident of Takoma Park,” he told me, “but we seem to always be copying Hyattsville.” Takoma Park, he pointed out, is about to get it’s own Busboys and Poets, and it still doesn’t have a brewery like Franklins.

Photo courtesy Caroline Selle.
Photo courtesy Caroline Selle.

His comment got me thinking. I’ve lived in both cities, and when I reflect on them, I tend to think about each of their unique charms. It’s all about the small businesses — the unique storefronts, the counters manned by friendly neighborhood faces, the carefully sourced and frequently handmade goods one can’t find anywhere else.

We’ve profiled many of the city’s small businesses in these pages, and in the coming months we hope to highlight many more. Meanwhile, I’m about to start my holiday shopping. And in the interest of supporting my town and my neighbors, I’m making an almost-new-years resolution to shop local for the rest of the season. (Come Jan. 1, feel free to check back in. I have a feeling it’s also going to be a resolution for the new year.)

Will you join me? While, yes, there are some things that can’t be purchased within the city limits, in Hyattsville we boast enough different stores to find something for everyone. With our walkable streets, it’s easy to stop in and chat with the store owners. Many of us frequent the Arts District; why not branch out and walk down Hamilton? Or check out one of the community-run listservs: quite a few locals sell handmade items out of their homes.

There are many benefits to staying near home for purchases. For one, more of the money spent stays in the community. According to an article in U.S. News and World Report, “Shopping at locally owned establishments can leverage community funds times three, on average. For example, by supporting a local clothing boutique, a consumer is also supporting a local attorney, tax preparer, and printer.”

I’ve thought of one more benefit. No shipping! While Amazon Prime has rescued me on a frequent basis, when it comes to holiday gifts, I have enough time to spend a Saturday afternoon popping in and out of local storefronts.

Let’s celebrate the holidays near home.

Speaking of which…

The holiday season is always hectic, and over here at the Hyattsville Life & Times, it’s no different! Who knew one small town could hold so many different end-of-season events?

As the local media, we want to attend each and every one, but unfortunately for us — and fortunately for the community — there are too many to cover in person.

Our editor and web manager, Rebecca Bennett, has been busy pulling together a comprehensive calendar of all of the local events, featuring everything from small businesses’ sales to community performances. Family movie night, the Hyattsville Volunteer Fire Department’s Santa Run, the Claus Applause decorating contest … well, you get the picture. There are too many to name here, so head on over to for the full list. (Don’t see your event? Email us:

Still, we could use your help. Have a great photo you’d like to see featured? Want to write up a blurb about your local church’s food drive? Send it on over. We’re always looking for writers and photographers, because it’s your input that makes the paper a true source of community news.