Small Business Saturday encourages shopping local

Queen Bees Shop owners Kara Sipes and Emily Pompanio are pictured inside their store in Aberdeen. Their business is taking part in Small Business Saturday, Nov. 25. U.S. Army photo by Jon Bleiweis, APG News.

For millions of Americans, each year, Thanksgiving week contains the same rituals. On Wednesday, they sit in gridlock traffic with everyone else who’s trying to drive home for the holiday; their Thanksgiving day, Thursday, is filled with food, family and football; and on Friday — Black Friday — shoppers from expert to novice scramble for a head start on their holiday season shopping while seeking the best deals of the year.

Since 2010, the Small Business Saturday campaign has sought to promote the Saturday after Thanksgiving as the day to patronize local businesses. This year, it falls on Nov. 25.

According to the U.S. Small Business Admistration’s Office of Advocacy, there are 579,173 small businesses — defined as firms employing fewer than 500 employees — in Maryland, making up 99.5 percent of businesses in the state. Maryland small businesses employed 1.1 million people, or 50.3 percent of the private workforce in 2014.

Last year, an estimated 112 million people shopped on Small Business Saturday generating $15.4 billion in revenue, according to American Express, which sponsors the campaign.

In a statement supporting the movement, Harford County Executive Barry Glassman said the promotion is important locally, as well.

“The majority of businesses in Harford County are small businesses,” Glassman said. “They support local families, bring jobs, and strengthen our communities by giving back. I encourage Harford County citizens to ‘buy local’ and choose from the variety of services and products, including farm-fresh turkeys and Christmas trees, produced by local businesses.”

Among the businesses in Aberdeen taking part in Small Business Saturday are The Curiosity Shoppe, which sells home decor and furniture items, and Queen Bees Shop, a ladies clothing and consignments store. While The Curiosity Shoppe owner Melissa Sheppard took part in Small Business Saturday last year, it’s the first time that Queen Bees Shop is participating, said Emily Pompanio, who owns the shop with her daughter, Kara Sipes.

Pompanio said Small Business Saturday can help the city prosper by enticing customers to come to local businesses. The Curiosity Shoppe and Queen Bees Shop, which share retail space in Aberdeen, will offer a 20 percent off sale storewide, with the exception of vintage jewelry.

“It’s something that helps the community come together and the businesses come together whether they’re big or small,” she said.

Coffee Coffee owner Hillary Depman Tayson is pictued in her store. Her business is taking part in Small Business Saturday, Nov. 25. U.S. Army photo by Jon Bleiweis, APG News.

In Bel Air, family-owned Coffee Coffee will participate in Small Business Saturday, as it has since the promotion started, said Hillary Depman Tayson.

“It’s the busiest day of the year prior to December, I think, by far,” she said. “People really come out on purpose. We’re a small business every day but people really embrace the point of Small Business Saturday.”

On Nov. 25, the coffee shop will debut its holiday-themed drinks, including “Starry Night Latte,” which features chocolate, toffee and hazelnut. The shop is located in an area with lots of competition from chains, Tayson said

“As a small business you need to take advantage of every opportunity possible to help grow your business and get customers in the door of your store,” she said.