Small business Saturday returns with holiday deals

Black Friday maybe over, but that doesn't mean holiday shopping is done.

"Small Business Saturday" on November 25—a day that traditionally happens the weekend of Thanksgiving, to celebrate and support small businesses and all they do for their communities.

More than 50 locally owned retailers in Old Town Alexandria offered exclusive discounts, free gifts with purchase and many in-store treats.

Bianca Del Cid who owns The White Lily Shoppe says, that collectively, local small businesses have a substantial footprint—making them a cornerstone of sustainable and resilient economies.

"I think it’s important because you’re supporting somebody’s dream, somebody’s goal, and you’re supporting entrepreneurship in your own community," said Del Cid.

For other small business owners, like Amy Rutherford of Red Barn Mercantile Shopping at neighborhood independent stores, as opposed to the big retail chains, keeps the dollars in town.

"They could even go online maybe and get at an even less expensive, but what they’re not getting is this experience. They’re not getting the trees, they’re not getting to talk to the store owner who has worked very hard to come up with these things and curate it," said Rutherford.

Rutherford adds that Small Business Saturday is make or break for many of these mom-and-pop stores.

"We run at such thin margins here that we really need to succeed during this time of the year." 

Barbie Frank who was on her way to shop local said, the neighborhood surrounding the old town Alexandria community has been her home her whole life.

So when small business Saturday rolls around, she prefers to support local businesses when buying gifts, citing the desire to strengthen her community as a primary motivation.

"One of the places I always go to is 10,000 villages. They import goods from all over Africa and other areas that are made by women who need income, so that’s one of my favorites. Pacers Running Store which started here in Alexandria and now has shops all over everywhere and a few other shops like that and then, of course having lunch at one of the local restaurants along King Street," said Frank.

For Rutherford and Del Cid, having a small local business is not just about their bottom line.

"We also give back to the community, through non-profits and the following actions that we do three times more than a big boxed store would do," said Rutherford. 

"We actually give back 10% of each of our gift boxes where we have supported a couple of organizations that support women and children," said Del Cid.