Small Business Saturday: Guide to Shopping in the DC Area


Before you grab your phone and load your shopping cart online or head to the big box retailer, small businesses in the DC area hope you are considering buying locally.

The turkey and pumpkin pie have been gobbled up, and your attention has shifted to this holiday shopping list. Before you grab your phone and load your shopping cart online or head to the big box retailer, small businesses in the DC area hope you are considering buying locally.

Small Business Saturday, which falls the Saturday after Thanksgiving, was created in 2010 by American Express to promote small business shopping during the holiday shopping season.

DC area stores, main streets, and business groups host small events.

The Old Town neighborhoods of Alexandria and Del Ray are home to over a hundred small shops and boutiques welcoming shoppers this weekend. Many are family businesses, and they take the time to provide that personal touch.

“You are really welcomed by these local store owners and you just provide more personalized customer service than what you would get from Amazon or, you know, even other retailers,” said Rebecca Dozer, communications manager at Visit Alexandria. . She added, “You can really feel good about your purchase.”

This year, business during the holiday season could be more important than ever. The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on many small businesses across the DC region and in the United States

Each year, around 800,000 businesses close their doors for good. Between March 2020 and February 2021, the Federal Reserve estimated that an additional 200,000 businesses closed their doors.

The holiday shopping season is often a turning point for small businesses – and shopping small has a positive ripple effect throughout the local economy.

Montgomery County Manager Marc Elrich, who said he would shop at Takoma Park, Wheaton and Silver Spring on Saturday, urged residents to do the same.

“For every dollar you spend at a local retail business, 68 cents stays in our community, compared to 43 cents in national retail chains and even less for online purchases,” Elrich said, pointing to widely cited research on the economic benefits of the purchase. small businesses.

Here’s a guide to shopping locally at small business Saturday events throughout the holiday season.



For the second year in a row, Alexandria is hosting a Weekend Shopping Week which runs from Friday November 26 to December 2, and you can take advantage of free parking at many of the Old Town parking garages.

In total, around fifty independent companies are participating.

Here is an overview of offers and events.

Things kick off on Friday, November 26 with “Plaid Friday”, where indoor parking is also free and stores offer special discounts. Buyers are encouraged to visit black-owned businesses and “buy black” every Friday until the end of the year.

On Saturdays for small businesses, covered parking is free; there will be live music performances and outdoor shopping stalls.

Also on Saturday, members of the Elf Patrol will hand out gift cards to reward buyers. The Elven Patrol will be broadcasting joy (and gift cards) every Saturday until December 11.

From 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Del Ray stores will also be offering special promotions and freebies.

Sunday is Museum Shop Sunday, where you can get 20% off merchandise at several participating museum stores, including the Archaeological Museum of Alexandria, Carlyle House, and the Museum of the Gadsby Tavern.

Events continue through December 2, with the inaugural Moonlight Merriment Festival from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

See all events on the Alexandria Shop Small website.

Fairfax Town Elf Hunt

More than two dozen small businesses in Fairfax City are participating in Small Business Saturday, and there’s a twist on the scavenger hunt.

Head to the Old Town Hall docking station on University Drive and collect tote bags, goodies, and your elf treasure map. Elves are hidden in shop windows and on the shelves of Fairfax City stores.

Take your card with you on your shopping trip and scan the QR code or get a company stamp. If you find five or more elves and have proof of purchase from a participating business, you can enter to have your name entered in a draw for a $ 50 gift card.

See more information on the Fairfax City website.

Loudoun County Old World Christmas Market

The Bear Chase Brewing Company, in Bluemont, Virginia, welcomes 25 local manufacturers with handmade holiday gifts. Enjoy beer and food while cruising; warm up around the fireplaces with mountain views and don’t hesitate to bring your furry friends: the event is dog friendly.

The event takes place from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

See participating suppliers on the website.


Buying campaign in the neighborhood

The Shop in the District campaign features a retail directory of stores in Washington DC, with an option to filter by neighborhood and other categories. Some stores offer same day delivery through the service.

The program was launched last year to encourage shoppers to support local DC retailers. The office of DC Mayor Muriel Bowser and the Washington, DC Economic Partnership provide free training for minority and women-owned businesses to amplify their digital presence.

DC Boutique Small

The DC Shop Small initiative kicked off in the spring of 2020 with a special Saturday small business sale to boost sales at local businesses amid the first restrictions due to the coronavirus.

The DC Shop Small website maintains a searchable directory of DC area small businesses by category.

This year, several stores are offering discounts ranging from 10 to 40% to mark the traditional Saturday of small businesses. You can see all the promotions on the DC Shop Small website.

If you’re planning on shopping small this year, you can download several different graphics designed by Appointed Co. and share them on social media to let your followers and community know you’re shopping locally.

Kennedy Center Small Business Saturday

Discover the Kennedy Center Holiday Art Market from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

There will be door prizes and free refreshments for visitors, as well as live music and hands-on activities for the kids.

Georgetown Small Business Saturday

Georgetown is a key shopping destination, and this year dozens of small businesses are participating in Small Business Saturday and offering discounts, deals and other special promotions.

Businesses include wine cellars, clothing boutiques, beauty and wellness stores.

Shop small at Shaw

Visit the Shaw Main Streets tent at City Market at O ​​(on the east side of the 1400 block of Eighth Street) or the Shaw Art Market at 625 T Street (across from the Howard Theater) from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays and choose up to $ 20 in Shawbucks, which can be used at participating small businesses in the area. The $ 5 Shawbucks tickets can be used like cash, but are only valid on Saturday, November 27.

Participating Shaw businesses include Cheryl Lofton & Associates, District Cryo, Grand Cata Latin Wine Shop, Ivy & Coney, La Jambe, Lee’s Flower & Card Shop, Lettie Gooch, Modern Liquors, A New Image by Acia, Roasted Boon, Shaw’s Tavern, Stop Smack’n, TG Cigars, Touchstone Gallery, Wanda’s on Seventh Salon & Spa and Yoga Heights.

DC Downtown Holiday Market

The Downtown Holiday Market is a tradition, already booming and a great place to experience DC’s unique small businesses.

The open-air open-air market spans F Street from Seventh to Ninth Street.

The market, which has 70 businesses throughout the DC area including artwork, clothing, crafts, and jewelry, is open daily from noon to 8 p.m. except Thanksgiving Day and Monday 6 December. There are also food vendors and shows.

Holly Days East Market

Small Business Saturday coincides with the “Holly Days” of the Eastern Market, which runs until December 31, and features shops, restaurants and Christmas light displays.

Organized by the Eastern Market Main Street organization, the outdoor weekend markets and flea market operate Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The farmer’s market takes place from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. The covered market is also open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday.

The Capitol Hill Market is a must-see shopping spot all year round, and especially during the holidays.

To encourage people to buy early, given the expected supply chain challenges, Eastern Market Main Street encourages shoppers to buy online. Monday November 29 – and every Monday until the end of December is “Cyber ​​Monday”. Some stores have special online shopping offers.


Montgomery County

Montgomery County offers a plethora of farmer’s markets with unique experiences for doing your local shopping.

The Silver Spring Farmer’s Market at Veterans Plaza in downtown Silver Spring features dozens of market merchants, from the Atwater Bakery to the Waredaca Brewing Company.

The market runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. until December 18.

There are also Saturday markets in Kensington at the historic Howard Avenue train station and the Kentlands Main Street Farmers Market.

Looking for more places to do little shopping this Saturday? Check out this list from Visit Montgomery.

Prince George County

Robin Hill Farm and Vineyards in Brandywine, Maryland, hosts a large local vendor fair on Saturdays for small businesses, featuring over 30 vendors and showcasing unique, handmade local items, as well as food trucks and music live.

If you head to Laurel for your groceries, you can get free coffee and donuts at 378 Main Street from 10 a.m. to noon.

The Janemark Winery and Vineyard features local vendors from noon to 4 p.m., along with live music and food trucks.

You can search for a local business directory across the county on the Buy Prince George website.

Ellicott City Small Business Saturday

Historic Main Street in Ellicott City is the scene of a big shopping spree for small business all day Saturday.

From 10 am to 9 pm, visit the Visitor Center at 8267 Main Street and you can get $ 15 in Old Ellicott City “dollars” that you can use at participating businesses until December 12th.

You must register in advance for your OEC dollars.

Dozens of companies participate and several offer discounts.


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