County stores prep for Small Busi­ness Sat.

Cecil Whig - - FRONT PAGE - By BRI­ANNA SHEA

bshea@ce­cil­whig.com

— A day af­ter shop­pers de­scend on the big box stores for Black Fri­day, county busi­ness will pro­vide plenty of in­cen­tives for shop­pers to stay lo­cal and do their hol­i­day shop­ping on Small Busi­ness Satur­day.

Shops in the county are of­fer­ing a mul­ti­tude of sales and pro­mo­tions on Satur­day as part of a national cam­paign started in 2010 to en­cour­age peo­ple to sup­port lo­cal, small busi­nesses. The cam­paign tra­di­tion­ally comes the day af­ter Black

CE­CIL COUNTY

Fri­day ev­ery year.

For many county store own­ers, the cam­paign has helped bring more at­ten­tion to their shops as well as drive up hol­i­day sales. Mary Jo Jablonski, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Elk­ton Cham­ber and Al­liance, noted that shop­ping lo­cally brings more money back into the com­mu­nity.

“For ev­ery $100 you spend on your lo­cally-owned busi­nesses, $68 stays in the com­mu­nity. When you spend the same amount in a national-chain busi­ness, only $43 goes back to your com­mu­nity,” Jablonski said. State of­fi­cials are also en­cour­ag­ing res­i­dents to shop lo­cally.

”Shop­ping at a lo­cal busi­ness helps more than 750,000 of our neigh­bors and friends who make up Mary­land’s re­tail sec­tor,” Comptroller Peter Fran­chot said in a state­ment. “Hol­i­days are about fam­i­lies and friends spend­ing time to­gether and giv­ing back to ur com­mu­ni­ties. Shop­ping at lo­cal stores and pa­tron­iz­ing neigh­bor­hood restau­rants ben­e­fits our lo­cal

Mary­land-owned busi­nesses.”

Since one in five Mary­land res­i­dents di­rectly or in­di­rectly work in re­tail, the hol­i­day shop­ping sea­son is im­por­tant to re­tail­ers through­out the state. The in­dus­try con­trib­utes more than $46 bil­lion to the state’s econ­omy, which makes it the state’s top pri­vate-sec­tor em­ployer, ac­cord­ing to the Mary­land Re­tail­ers As­so­ci­a­tion.

For lo­cal busi­nesses, small busi­ness Satur­day can bring a wel­come — if oc­ca­sion­ally over­whelm­ing — in­crease in busi­ness, which is what Evy + Ro, an ar­ti­san gift shop in Ch­e­sa­peake City, dis­cov­ered when it par­tic­i­pated for the first time last year.

“It was get­ting crazy in a good way,” said Laura Bergstrom, co-owner of the store. “We were slammed, very busy.”

Shirley Rash, the store’s co-owner and Bergstrom’s mother, worked most of the day by her­self dur­ing last year’s Small Busi­ness Satur­day and ran out of items such as change for cus­tomers be­fore Bergstrom could make it to the store later in the day. This year, Bergstrom said she’ll will make sure to stock up on those items.

Over­all, the cam­paign is a “win-win sit­u­a­tion” for the store and cus­tomers, she said.

“I think peo­ple like the idea of sup­port­ing a small busi­ness and a sale,” Bergstrom said, not­ing her store will again have dis­counts dur­ing their hours from be open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.. “They get to sup­port a lo­cal, small busi­ness and get a deal on Christ­mas gifts.”

My Jew­elry Place, a few stores down, has also typ­i­cally en­coun­tered a bustling and busy day the Satur­day af­ter Black Fri­day.

“The store is full of peo­ple and ev­ery­body is ex­cited to shop,” said Susan Rus­sell, owner of the store, of last year’s ex­pe­ri­ence.

The cam­paign has cer­tainly helped to in­crease sales for the store, she added.

“It’s def­i­nitely a day we have come to count on,” Rus­sell said, not­ing her store will be open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. this year. “It is a boost in our sales, a def­i­nite boost in our sales, so it helps that bot­tom line at the end of the year.”

In North East, lo­cal shops are also serv­ing up their own sales and pro­mo­tions that day.

Lo­cated on North East’s Main Street is North East Choco­lates, where peo­ple can pur­chase sweet treats from al­mond bark to fudge to choco­late-cov­ered pret­zels.

The store was also packed with cus­tomers last year, said Christie McDe­vitt, owner of the shop, which also has a sec­ond location, North East Choco­lates Too, lo­cated in Ch­e­sa­peake City that will Jen­nifer Thomas, with Sil­ver and Sassy, is hold­ing up a Christ­mas-themed Alex And Ani bracelet, which is 20 per­cent off, along with other Alex And Ani mer­chan­dise on Small Busi­ness Satur­day.

par­tic­i­pate in the event for the first time this year.

“We sold ev­ery­thing and any­thing,” she said.

Last year, about 100 pounds of choco­late was sold dur­ing the event at the North East location, McDe­vitt said, and she hopes to ex­ceed that amount dur­ing this year’s event.

McDe­vitt said she’s a big sup­porter of the event be­cause it en­cour­ages peo­ple to shop lo­cal and visit small busi­nesses.

“I think it’s much needed for smaller busi­nesses,” she said. “It’s of­ten hard to com­pete with large cor­po­ra­tions and it’s nice to know that there’s a move­ment in sup­port of our hard work and pas­sion.”

Both stores will of­fer dis­counts on choco­late again this year, McDe­vitt said, with the North East location open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and the Ch­e­sa­peake City location open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Lori Crothers, co-owner of the Sil­ver Buckle, Sil­ver and Sassy and Cot­tage Chic in North East, said she also no­ticed higher vol­umes of foot traf­fic be­cause peo­ple like to come to lo­cal shops for a spe­cific type of vibe. The stores of­fer items from jew­elry to cloth­ing to ac­ces­sories. All three will be open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Satur­day, with each of­fer­ing dif­fer­ent dis­counts to shop­pers.

“Peo­ple like to go to big box stores on Fri­day and then they like to come get the home­town feel­ing on Satur­day and shop lo­cally with us,” she said.

In Elk­ton, Lyon’s Phar­macy, a phar­macy and lunch counter, also saw an in­crease in the amount of busi­ness dur­ing last year’s Small Busi­ness Satur­day, said Mary­beth Sni­ad­owskiCole, owner of the busi­ness.

This year, Sni­ad­owski-Cole plans to of­fer break­fast spe­cials from 8 to 11 a.m. tar­get­ing those hit­ting streets early, along with other spe­cials. The phar­macy will open from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Colo­nial Jewel­ers in Elk­ton is also hav­ing a sale of their own. Jef­frey Seidel, owner of the store, said the store, which will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., will of­fer up to deep dis­counts on cul­tured pearls, di­a­mond­stud­ded ear­rings and di­a­mond en­gage­ment rings.

“Peo­ple wait all year for this type of sale,” he said.

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY JANE BELLMYER

Chris Wig­gins, from Ac­cuseal, ap­plies a thin blue line of paint in be­tween the yel­low lines on Bow Street in Elk­ton Wed­nes­day morn­ing. Wig­gins had done the same ear­lier this month in Ris­ing Sun and made the of­fer to Elk­ton po­lice.

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY BRI­ANNA SHEA

Christie McDe­vitt, owner of North East Choco­lates and North East Choco­lates Too, holds up sea salt caramels in front of other sweet treats of­fered for Small Busi­ness Satur­day.

CE­CIL WHIG PHO­TOS BY BRI­ANNA SHEA

Christie McDe­vitt, owner of North East Choco­lates and North East Choco­lates Too, stands next to Willy Wonka hold­ing Reese Pieces choco­late cov­ered pret­zels and M&M choco­late cov­ered pret­zels.

Lau­rie Markow, sales­per­son with Colo­nial Jewel­ers, holds up some di­a­mond en­gage­ment rings, which are up to 60 per­cent off dur­ing Small Busi­ness Satur­day.

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