Dozens of cool, innovative businesses pop up across the US every day, bringing new technologies, entertainment options, and services to their local communities.
Throughout the year, we've highlighted several of these small, independent businesses that have opened over the past five years or so in New York City, San Francisco, Houston, Portland, Boston, New Orleans, Los Angeles, and Chicago, and now we've scoured the rest of the country for inventive new ventures.
From a pizza oven on wheels to a boutique where everything's free — with a catch, of course — there are plenty of smart places to check out. Read on to see our top 50.
Editing by Alex Morrell. Additional reporting by Lauren Browning.
5 Rabbit Cervecería
What it is: A Latin-influenced craft brewery that bases its beers on Aztec culture.
Why it's cool: Located just outside Chicago, the first Latin microbrewery, or cervecería, in the US infuses its brews with ancho chili, piloncillo cane sugar, and other Latin flavors. Inspired by an Aztec myth, 5 Rabbit names all of its beers to coincide with the Aztec calendar.
Angela & Roi
What it is: A handbag company that has a unique charity-donation policy.
Why it's cool: Angela & Roi handbags come in all sorts of colors, but when choosing, most customers don't just think about the color they like; they also think about the "color" they're donating to. A portion of each bag sale goes to the charity whose color coordinates with the bag — red is for HIV/AIDS, pink is for breast cancer, and so forth. Angela & Roi bags are also eco-conscious, made without animal products or sweatshop labor.
What it is: A brand that believes in ethically produced clothing and dressing up every day.
Why it's cool: This online retailer based in Denver claims to make it easier to get dressed in the morning, whether you’re running errands, heading to work, or grabbing coffee with a friend. This fair-trade fashion label was created by E.A. Lepine, a designer intent on trading lazy-day yoga pants for casual, comfortable, and trendy dresses.
All items sold at Arrowroot are sewn by a group of seven women in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. The women earn fair wages — about $10 to $12 an hour, enough to support a family — and healthcare benefits.
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