DMV retailers ramp up marketing and advertising for Small Business Saturday

Black Friday may have received all the hype this week but many locally owned businesses across the DMV took advantage of Small Business Saturday.

Jodi Rapaport and her husband of My Big Finds at the Kentlands in Gaithersburg are hoping to claim a small slice of both the revenue and goodwill generated by small businesses on Saturday.

Rapaport said, she is convinced, it's up to her to earn that business.

"My husband and I will be out at 8 a.m. tomorrow morning putting the tree up in the community so I think people appreciate when you do stuff in the community for them so they come back around," said Rapaport.

That’s why the husband and wife have worked hard to learn the preferences of their customers, including the unique gifts the shoppers prefer to give.

"I like to get to know my customer," she said, "I want to know what their interested in like there are small business owners here in the store."

For the Rapaports, earning their customer's business is about more than selling what they want to buy.

"We like to greet people when they come in through the doors and tell the story of the store because I think that’s what sets us apart," said Rapaport.

"I think people leave almost like remembering that store and be like, ‘Oh, remember that cute place where we bought such and such?—And we want to be that experience so I think that’s what sets us apart from going to a box boxed store."

The last couple of years have been tough as business owners bent their business models to navigate the pandemic. 

But during Small Business Saturday, Montgomery County is doing its part to recognize —and assist with, what it considers an important day for independently owned local businesses.

The county has been advertising and marketing the kickoff to ‘shop small’ events as  a way to emphasize the power of spending locally and keeping the dollars in the community. 

"They hire people who live here in the county they support the community and they sometimes even support different organizations within the county by them having sales on a day-to-day basis," explained Montgomery County small business navigator, Naddia Clute.

In Northern Virginia, the small business community in Old Town Alexandria had been preparing to offer some of their best deals of the year, including early bird, store-wide discounts— free gifts with purchase and one-of-a-kind deals on unique products.

"When you are supporting a local business you’re giving back to a family of kids of parents," said director of communications for Visit Alexandria, Rebecca Doser.

"This is their lifestyle, this is their job and Alexandria is the D.C region’s largest destination for independent boutiques."