Shopping small leads to big impact

Little Sesame’s 1978 Volkswagen Bus

The holiday shopping season is officially underway, and an easy way to celebrate the start of the holiday gift-giving season is investing in your community and shopping locally.

Since 2009, holiday shoppers nationwide have been encouraged to forgo shopping at big-box stores and area malls and support local independent retailers and mom-and-pop shops the weekend after Thanksgiving. The annual shopping event is an opportune time for neighborhood merchants to attract new customers and highlight their unique services.

This year it’s more important than ever to support small businesses who have been disproportionately hit hard due to coronavirus. Choosing to purchase books, food, services, and other holiday gifts from a small business positively impact communities and those that reside within them. With a little extra planning, it’s easy to shop in-store and online to find the perfect item.

From hummus and coffee, to a mobile bookstore, Volkswagen is proud of the many small business owners that rely on Volkswagen products to help their businesses run.


Little Sesame’s 1978 Volkswagen Bus

Little Sesame

When Chefs Nick Wiseman and Ronen Tenne opened their hummus shop in Washington, D.C. in 2015, they wanted their restaurant’s foundation to have a very different philosophy than some of the New York City kitchens they’d cooked in over the years. One key ingredient of their business philosophy: travel.

Little Sesame was developed in ode to the owner’s vibrant heritage and their love of travel. To help inspire the flavors of their hummus shop, the duo hits the road in their robin’s egg blue 1978 Volkswagen Bus to find inspiration for fresh, bold and new flavors across the U.S. Read more about the DC-based restaurant here.

Dominykas poses with a cup of joe from Dom’s Coffee. The beloved European-style coffee store was opened by his parents, Andrius Plankis and Asta Plankiene, in May 2015.

Dom’s Coffee

The European-style coffee shop, Dom’s Coffee Bar, was opened by Andrius Plankis and Asta Plankiene in May 2015, two years after the couple emigrated to America from Lithuania. Named after their 8-year-old son, Dominykas, specialties of Dom’s Coffee artistically crafted drinks include espressos, affogatos, specialty lattes, cold brews and hot chocolates.

In addition to their popular brick-and-mortar shop in Farmington Valley, Conn., the family runs a fully-equipped mobile espresso bar, which can be set-up and operated out of the trunk of their Volkswagen Atlas R-Line, when the car is parked. With their portable coffee bar, the couple has the opportunity to grow in their community steadily and economically. By adding a mobile component to their brick-and-mortar enterprise, they can reach new audiences and build new customers. Read more about charming coffee shop here.

Melanie Moore poses in front of her teal 1962 Volkswagen Transporter, which doubles as The Book Bus.

The Cincy Book Bus

Melanie Moore had always wanted to open her own bookstore. After retiring from 25 years of teaching, she decided it was time to pursue her dream and get books into the hands of kids who need them most. She was about to sign a lease on a physical storefront when she got cold feet and decided to proceed in a new direction.

Inspired by a novel centered around a fictional, female horse-drawn carriage bookseller, Moore decided to launch the Cincy Book Bus – a mobile bookstore – out of the bed of her husband’s teal 1962 Volkswagen Transporter. The van holds about 150 books, and Moore regularly rotates titles to cater to her audiences. Additionally, she’s developed relationships with foreign book publishers and authors to sell unique and hard-to-get titles. And, thanks to the Bus’ unusual appearance, customers often stop and pose for fun photo-ops. Moore dedicates her profits to stocking classroom libraries and giving back to her community. Learn more about the Cincy Book Bus here.