By Meg Walburn Viviano, CBM News Director
Did you know that Small Business Saturday is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year? I didn’t. Maybe, like me, you’ve only started noticing the term in recent years. The day after Black Friday, this follow-up shopping day emphasizes holiday spending at local, independent businesses (think curated gifts rather than “more is better” big box stores).
Small Business Saturday began as an American Express campaign on the Saturday after Thanksgiving in 2010, giving local stores exposure and encouraging people to shop within their own communities. The idea took off and has grown steadily over the decade.
Surely the credit card company couldn’t have imagined how important “shopping small” for the holidays would be 10 years later, amid a devastating pandemic. For so many businesses struggling to sustain operations, support from neighbors is essential.
The businesses I feel for the most are the independently run stores that struggle to pay expenses on their retail space and pay their employees, too. Often, these businesses will do anything and everything to earn your business.
As many shops have done, a gift boutique in my neighborhood began offering free local delivery on their products. And much to the delight of a neighbor who bought a baby gift from them, the shop gift-wrapped the package and included a sweet handwritten note thanking the neighbor for her support.
My favorite running shoe store, Charm City Run, with locations in Annapolis and the Baltimore area, will not only deliver locally, but they will also ship your shoes and apparel for free. They also offer curbside pickup. If that isn’t enough, their fit specialists will sit out on the sidewalk and help you try on shoes outdoors, “no matter how cold it is!” the owner promises. Of course, you can also come inside the sanitized and socially-distanced store to shop.
With these mom and pop stores going to such great lengths to keep your business, why not give it to them? Shopping local this holiday season will help ensure that these fixtures of the community are still around next spring.
So let’s pause before we stampede the electronics section on Black Friday and before we click “Buy Now” on Cyber Monday. Let’s take a look at the great (and often unique) gifts to buy right here in Chesapeake Country.
The hard-working CBM Bay Weekly staff have been picking out gift ideas from small businesses all over the region to help inspire your shopping (https://bayweekly.com/save-small-business/). From artwork in Annapolis to quirky décor in Deale, there are treasures to be found at the storefronts in your town and shopkeepers just waiting to help.