'It's our day': Small Business Saturday comes to York City
Alexandria Hammond will be celebrating 10 years in the retail business in January, but she knows she's fortunate to have survived the past 18 months.
The COVID-19 pandemic has ravaged many restaurants and retail shops amid government-mandated closures and stay-at-home orders.
Small Business Saturday, celebrated this weekend in York County, aims to highlight downtown retailers like Hammond and encourage residents to buy locally.
"Small Business Saturday is like our Black Friday," said Hammond, the owner of My Girlfriend's Wardrobe. "It's our day, as smaller retailers, to shine, provide excellent customer service to our customers and make their holiday gift shopping easier."
This year, dozens of shops in the York City area are participating in the annual event, which will be held from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday. My Girlfriend's Wardrobe, located at 38 N. Beaver St., will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday.
Free parking and promotions are also being offered to encourage residents and visitors to stop by, according to Jonathan Desmarais, a spokesperson for Downtown Inc.
“This is a chance for us to give back to (owners) to make sure they continue their success as a small business in downtown York,” Desmarais said. “Ultimately, when you shop local you support small business owners — your friends, family and neighbors."
Despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, many new businesses opened in York City.
Just this year, 40 new businesses arrived to the downtown scene, Desmarais said.
The holiday gift market is the perfect time to show support and help these businesses to thrive.
While it may be tempting to buy gifts online, shipping delays brought on by the pandemic can still affect many, Desmarais said.
“The good news is the businesses in downtown York have their products available on the shelves," he added.
Small business gift shopping can be an experience — and for many stores like vintage shop Revolt Style Studio, that experience can also benefit others.
Starting on Small Business Saturday through the entire month of December, Revolt Style Studio will offer a 10% off vintage order to anybody who brings in a women's period care product. The offer will be valid starting in 2022, according to store owner Jessica Weikert.
All donations of products will go to Bell Socialization Services, she said.
“It's just a great way for the community to come together and support local during the holiday season," Weikert said. “It's a nationwide event, so it's great for every area to discover local small businesses to support and find great, unique gifts."
Weikert has participated in Small Business Saturday since she opened Revolt Style Studio in 2016. Her shop, located at 26 N. Beaver St., will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday.
In addition, Revolt Style Studio's online page will offer free U.S. shipping to orders over $50 with the code "shopsmall."
“The most fun part is just meeting all the new people,“ Weikert said. “We get a ton of new people in who haven’t been downtown, so they’re just discovering all these wonderful businesses."
In the spirit of the holiday season, My Girlfriend's Wardrobe will offer free gift wrapping. Additionally, the first 10 customers to spend $65 or more either in store or online on Saturday will get a free gift, Hammond said.
But for those unable to support Hammond's store financially, sharing social media posts and leaving positive Google reviews can also be excellent ways to support local, she said.
Customers using the park mobile app can use "shopdowntown" for free holiday parking. Several parking garages will also be open to the public at no charge, Desmarais said.
A full list of all parking options and store promotions can be found by visiting http://www.downtownyorkpa.com/sbs2021.
— Reach Tina Locurto at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @tina_locurto. Please consider subscribing to support local journalism.