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Shopping small: Local residents support Small Business Saturday
December 6, 2019

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SHENANDOAH JUNCTION -- Local residents visited local markets and specialty stores on Saturday, to support small business owners on Small Business Saturday.

"We had people commenting frequently that they were specifically shopping because it was Small Business Saturday," said Cindi Dunn, owner of The Vintage Lady in Harpers Ferry. Dunn called the day "outstanding."

The Small Business Saturday movement, launched by American Express, was begun in 2010. The event is held the Saturday after Black Friday, and has gained momentum each year, as shoppers are encouraged to shop local and bring more holiday shopping to local small businesses.

In 2011, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed a resolution in support of the day and by 2012, officials in all 50 states participated. By 2013, more than 1,450 individuals and organizations signed up as "Neighborhood Champions" to rally their towns and neighborhoods with events and activities on Small Business Saturday. That number has continued to grow each year, with 7,200 participants in 2017.

This Small Business Saturday, small businesses and specialty shops throughout the tristate area offered discounts, open houses and drawings to attract shoppers. Some homes and businesses offered vendor spots, where home-based businesses gathered to offer a one-stop-shop experience.

RayeEllen Blackford, who operates RE Creations, opened her home for vendors to set up shop and held a social media marketing campaign to attract shoppers.

"There were 10 very talented crafters and vendors displaying in the comfort of my home," Blackford said. "Guests were offered hot or cold beverages and snacks. It was a warm and friendly atmosphere."

Lynn Folk, of Harpers Ferry, said she enjoyed seeing all the offerings at Blackford's home.

"In addition to the Blackford House, we traveled to Crafts and More in Bardane, Homespun Inspiration's Open House in Hagerstown and A Handmade Christmas in Shepherdstown," Folk said.

Another spot that opened for vendors to set up was Black Dog Coffee at Bardane. In addition to making choices for the vendor wares, children had the opportunity to have a photo with Santa and adults took advantage of the welcoming atmosphere to enjoy a coffee and treat.

Shoppers were able to combine their shopping experience with a variety of holiday happenings that coincided with the Small Business Saturday designation, so citizens could enjoy the Christmas season, while supporting their friends' and neighbors' businesses.

"I think people really are 'getting it,'" Dunn said. "That local small businesses are such an important part of our community."

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