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Small Business Saturday draws community support

By Staff | Nov 30, 2018

Four Seasons Books Owner Kendra Adkins talks with Deborah Rochfort, of Shepherdstown, for Small Business Saturday. Photo by Tabitha Johnston.

SHEPHERDSTOWN — Community members braved the rain on Saturday, to show their support for Shepherdstown’s businesses, in honor of Small Business Saturday.

Founded by American Express in 2010, Small Business Saturday is a nationwide event held the Saturday after Thanksgiving, encouraging residents throughout the U.S. to buy their Christmas gifts at local small businesses. Although many Shepherdstown residents regularly support the businesses in town, having a day set aside to highlight buying opportunities with local businesses helps remind residents to continue shopping locally, in spite of the ease of shopping online.

“It kind of gets into everybody’s mind how important it is to support small businesses and your local economy. Without supporting your local economy, we will disappear,” said Up On the Hill Owner Amii Fritz. “Traditionally, this weekend is the biggest weekend for us financially, according to our record of sales.

“How much we can get in for Christmas depends on our sales for the first nine months of the year,” Fritz said, mentioning she and her husband will be busy throughout the holiday season, making sure the store is stocked and open through Christmas Eve. “I work every day between now and Christmas — we’re open seven days a week in December.”

For those who prefer shopping from the comfort of their couches, Up On the Hill and other local stores sell their items online, which can be mailed to or picked up in-store by the buyer.

“I know how convenient it is, to shop from your couch. We try to make it just as convenient as online realtors,” Fritz said.

Across the street in Four Seasons Books, customers milled around, searching for the perfect Christmas gifts for their friends and family members.

“We love our local stores. We try to buy as much as we can get to support the small businesses we have here,” said Jennifer Everline, of Shepherdstown, as she browsed with her daughter. “I was like, ‘When are we going out? It’s Small Business Saturday.'”

According to Dick Tucker, of Shepherdstown, shopping locally is a must, for town residents who want to keep Shepherdstown’s businesses alive.

“We’ve done Small Business Saturday a couple other years,” Dick said. “They might close up if we don’t support them. The big box stores shouldn’t take over everything — we like small businesses.”

Dick’s wife, Ginny Tucker, said the quality of Shepherdstown’s stores is another reason the couple likes to shop locally.

“There’s some really high quality stores here that you can find things here you couldn’t find anywhere else, Ginny said, mentioning she also tries to buy items made in West Virginia or the United States.

According to German Street Coffee & Candlery Owner Deborah Robertson Luksa, Small Business Saturday tends to bring out more shoppers

“It’s nice that there’s a day designated to do that, it does bring additional people out,” Luksa said, mentioning one customer on Saturday morning told her she was shopping because of Small Business Saturday. “It’s a nice day that pays homage to small business, but we are fortunate to be supported here year-round.”