County stores prep for Small Business Sat.
— 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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.