La Plata gears up for Small Business Saturday
After Thanksgiving Day, many local shoppers will prepare to tackle their fa- vorite stores for discounts and door-busters. But the shopping extravaganza doesn’t end there.
This weekend local res- idents are in for a treat when they attend the La Plata Business Associa- tion’s Shop La Plata on Small Business Saturday event for more shopping, giveaways, holiday cheer and a parade.
On Nov. 26, the La Pla- ta Business Association presents the third annual Shop La Plata event, which features special of- fers at participating busi- nesses and other activi- ties in the town. On Nov. 15, the Charles County Board of Commissioners proclaimed Nov. 26 as Shop La Plata Day in celebration of Small Business Saturday, when residents are encouraged to support local businesses and merchants.
“Shop La Plata is one of our signature events for the business association,” said Keith Grasso, presi- dent of the La Plata Busi- ness Association. “It highlights independent, local retailers and restaurants in the town. Our goal is to bring the business and the shoppers here to support what’s in the county and also keeping it right here in the town.”
Stacy Moreland, own- er of The Little Corner Shoppe, is in charge of coordinating this year’s Shop La Plata Day with more than 30 business- es participating and the first-ever parade held during the event on La- Grange Avenue.
“This year we’ve added a parade that will begin at 9 a.m. and once the pa- rade ends, then the stores will open,” Moreland said. “We have a promotion that we’re doing called the Shop La Plata Passport where all of the par- ticipating businesses will be listed in a passport and all of the shoppers have to visit at least five of those shops, get their passport signed off and they are entered to win a $1,000 shopping spree right here in La Plata.”
Moreland said during the parade attendees will get to see the the county commissioners, the La Plata Fire Department’s fire truck featuring Santa Claus, local Boy Scout troops and the La Plata High School JROTC. Grasso said his store, Island Music Company, will even have someone in the parade dressed like a gui- tar.
“At my shop there will be a drawing for a basket of goodies,” Moreland said. “Also, any parent can bring a child in to mail a letter to Santa and drop it in a special mailbox. If it’s in a self-addressed stamped envelope, Santa will write the child back.”
Moreland and Grasso said the La Plata Police Department is putting together a wonderful event of their own during Shop La Plata Day. The police department is asking for children 12 years old and younger to help them find a few Wanted Grinches around the town and take them into custody.
“This year for Shop Small Saturday, the La Plata Police Department will be supplying the La Plata Business Association with several Grinch dolls,” Chief Carl Schinner said. “The business owners who receive the dolls will place the Grinch doll somewhere in one of their shops. A child under 12 years old who finds one of the Grinches and turns him in at the station will receive a reward.”
Schinner said the police department will be circulating Grinch Wanted Posters to local businesses and posting intelligence reports on the police department’s Facebook page between now and Saturday.
“It’s just our way of supporting the La Plata Business Association and it allows officers to inter- act with local families in a positive way,” Schinner said.
Grasso said since the business association latched onto the idea from American Express three years ago, thousands have participated in Shop La Plata every year with the streets in town often packed with people.
“Historically the weekend after Thanksgiving Day has been taken over by big box stores participating in Black Friday, people camping outside stores to get a new TV,” Grasso said. “While I appreciate that, that doesn’t do anything for our local businesses.”
Grasso said most independent businesses are unable to open up their shops at 4 a.m. the day after Thanksgiving like much larger businesses may do. Small Business Saturday allows the local businesses a beneficial alternative.
“We want to bring people into the town to see what we have to offer and ring the cash registers of our businesses,” Grasso said. “Some of the businesses can attest to that day being the highest day of sales ever in their history of being open.”
For more information about Shop La Plata on Small Business Saturday, call Keith Grasso at 301392-3960 or email keith@ islandmusicco.com.
Stacy Moreland, owner of The Little Corner Shoppe in La Plata, and Keith Grasso, president of the La Plata Business Association, hold the proclamation from the Charles County Board of Commissioners declaring Nov. 26 as Shop La Plata Day.