This Saturday, November 25, is Small Business Saturday, a day to celebrate and support small and entrepreneurial businesses and all they do for Midcoast communities.
This national “Shop Small” movement, sponsored by American Express, began in 2010. It’s about: “sharing your support for the spots you call your own, whether it's your barbershop or even your one-stop garden supply store. Places like these keep your community strong and vibrant, potentially employing your friends, family and neighbors.”
The movement was born a a counterpart to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, both of which typically generate huge revenue for national big box stores. When shopping for the holidays, consider the benefits of patronizing brick and mortar stores over online giants.
Locally, a number of businesses are participating in this movement, including on the traditional side, Warren & Warren Associates, Frantz Furniture and Bedding, and Kernal Panic Consulting and on the creative economy side, two Vinalhaven microbusinesses, Island Spirits and Windhorse Arts, along with Belfast Clay Studio, hello hello books, Dulse & Rugosa and Red Cloak Haunted History Tours.
Claire Weinberg and her daughter Carly Weinberg, co-founders of Dulse & Rugosa, a plant-based skincare line, are avid supporters of the Shop Small movement.
“I took a road trip with Carly from Texas to Maine and we stopped at this little town in Oklahoma that was beautiful, architecturally, but it was completely empty, except for one restaurant,” said Claire Weinberg. “If you want to have a vibrant town, a place that you still want to visit in the winter, you have to support your local and small economies. I believe that supporting small local indie and businesses, supports innovation and change to a community.”
The Penobscot Bay Regional Chamber of Commerce encourages everyone to stop by a small business on Saturday. Downtown Rockland is also participating heavily in Shop Small/Shop Local initiative. Gordon Page, executive director of Rockland Main Street, Inc. said, “During the holidays and all year long, downtown Rockland offers a vibrant community connection with city residents, friends from neighboring towns and merchants that are known by their first names.” This year, Rockland Main Street, Inc., distributed more than 200 shopping bags and point-of-sale materials to more than 35 businesses during their November Morning On Main meeting. They organized it to coincide with this Friday’s Festival of Lights, which kicks off on Friday with Santa's arrival via Coast Guard vessel.
To find out who is participating locally visit the Shop Small Saturday in Rockland Facebook page and scroll down to the Discussion comments.
For businesses outside of Rockland and statewide, here is a map of who is participating.
Another way to check and see who else is participating in Maine is to log onto twitter.com and search with the hastags #shopsmall and #maine
And finally for the small businesses, here are three ideas to make the most of Small Business Saturday.
Kay Stephens can be reached at email@example.com