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Shop Small Summer

Posted on May 26 2019

Karen Saunders

Owner & Designer, Bambinos Boutique & Bambinos Clothing Co. 

Shop Small Summer

As a small business owner, this season has been all about helping to outfit kiddos for all of the fun family vacations, backyard barbecues, beach trips, and summer fun. I’m so thankful for all the support Bambinos has had all of these years from our local community, and I can’t imagine what the city would be like if we didn’t have local businesses. Places like Local Coffee and Bird Bakery (among so many other restaurants and shops that I love) wouldn’t exist without local support, and without them, San Antonio wouldn’t have the same energy or character.  With the growing support Bambinos has enjoyed from friends all over the country, I've been introduced to amazing small businesses everywhere through word of mouth, travel, and social media. Some of my favorite places to shop and visit are in cities outside of my hometown and I've loved getting to know the families behind them and the impact they're having on their own communities. 

This summer, to show the same love and support Bambinos has received, I’m taking on a personal challenge to shop small, and I’m encouraging others to as well. Supporting local businesses, small businesses, and the design/artist/maker community, benefits our cities culturally, environmentally, and economically. Shopping at Bambinos and boutiques like ours helps the owners support the small brands they carry. Think about everywhere you spend your money - coffee shops, nail salons, corner stores, boutiques, restaurants, bars, markets, gift shops, pet stores, and more. Each time you consume you choose, and this summer I'm choosing small.

All summer long, I’ll be sharing boutiques, brands, restaurants, farmers markets and other fabulous finds in Instagram posts on Sundays (make sure to follow us @lovebambinos) and through the blog. 

If you want to take the challenge with me, we’d love to share what you’re doing as well -- just remember to tag us and use the hashtag #shopsmallsummer. This is a fun way explore the destinations you travel to this summer and to get to know your neighborhood a little bit more. Who knows, maybe you’ll find a new favorite coffee shop in your own town or a fabulous boutique across the country. We can't wait to see where this journey takes us!

The first place it took me was the Pearl. With a storied history in San Antonio, this 22 acre space is chock full of spectacular small businesses and local love. This Shop Small Summer idea has been floating around in my mind for a long time and one of the first things I wanted to explore was shopping small for groceries. It doesn't get much "smaller" than buying food directly from the growers and producers, and the farmer's market at the Pearl each weekend is a treasure trove for not only groceries but so much more.

I can already tell that this challenge will mean changing habits and staying flexible. Instead of heading the the store with list in hand (or ordering online for curbside pickup) as I usually do on Sunday afternoon, I headed to the Pearl with cash, cooler bags and an adventurous friend in tow. Sol y Luna had amazing bread for the family and to my surprise Grain Free Haven had Whole30 and Paleo friendly options for me. Produce was aplenty from multiple vendors (all sourced within 150 miles). From salad fixings and radishes (I love them salted as chip alternative dippers) to green beans and potatoes for weekday sides, meal planning took shape based on my colorful finds. There was a also an abundance of protein options including beef, chicken, pork and lamb, and kitchen staples like homemade pasta, cheese, eggs, milk. Rounding out recipes was easy with so many extras like salsa, broth, sauces, mustards, and jams.

The start of the summer season is also gift giving season with end of school events and family birthdays. I found local gifts galore and bought potted succulent arrangements and lavender and goat milk bath baskets. For Father's Day I'll head back for a gourmet basket of grass-fed beef to grill, gourmet seasonings, homemade bbq sauce, and Hill Country wine. Pies, Caramels, and fresh flowers topped our gift list finds for future visits.

The Pearl Farmer's Market is sensory overload in the best way and while shopping and exploring, the scent from Ming's was too good to resist. Chatting with a woman in line, I learned about a special dish not on the menu called Jianbing, a traditional Chinese street food similar to a savory crepe. It was heaven on a plate and I'd go back just for that dish. In addition to the Farmer's Market, Ming's has a Noodle Bar and Catering Co. and I can't wait to try it ALL!


My Bambinos babies will definitely come along next time. They will love the live music and dance along in the surrounding green space. Colorful chalk drawings cover the sidewalks and a splash pad keeps kids cool in the Texas heat. I didn't give a thought to including my girls in this Shop Small Summer adventure until this weekend and am starting to see all the teaching opportunities and fun we'll have exploring our city and the destinations we're headed to this summer. I'm excited to teach them to engage with shopkeepers and to ask questions about where things come from. I can't wait to hear about how you include your little ones in your Shop Small Summer!


Cheers to a #shopsmallsummer filled with LOVE!

xo, Karen

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