I meant to mention my mother-in-law's shop in my post on voting with your wallet. But it deserves a whole post by itself. :)
While I confess I am more into what I put in my body then what I put on it, when it comes to helping out the 'little guys', even things like buying second hand clothing and furniture is a vote for America's future.
The service at her small women's clothing boutique mirrors the service from my local raw milk farmers. Her customers love her. She hired a woman who loves people and fashion as much as she does, and between the two of them, I think they know nearly every returning customer's name and story (and size and stye). They are amazing at what they do! And the customer's feel special as soon as they walk in the store.
One day not long ago, a few customers came in raving about how wonderful Second Glance was, compared to some other newer consignment shops in the area (Second Glance has been around for almost 7 years). My Mother in law had been worried about the 'competition' from the new stores. But apparently, they didn't hold a candle to hers. She asked them what they liked so much about Second Glance. Their answer 'you'.
Customer service is hard to come by in a big store. Yet another reason to shop at the small businesses.