Many downtown Arlington businesses opened their doors on Nov. 28 to participate in Small Business Saturday (also known as Shop Small Saturday).
The nationally recognized day that follows Black Friday is designed to be a celebration of local businesses.
“Black Friday has always been for the big box stores and so Small Business Saturday has always been for us small stores,” said Kathleen Shalan, owner of the Country Rose.
“It’s something I look forward to every year,” she said.
The city of Arlington broadcast a virtual tree lighting during the day to celebrate the Legion Park tree being lit up for the holiday season.
There are usually a variety of community activities during Small Business Saturday but this year most had to be canceled due to the pandemic.
“Normally Small Business Saturday is a good little Saturday to help our small business, but with the COVID it is killing us,” said Rich Senff, owner of Action Sports in Arlington.
“We’re trying to make it feel special,” said Shalan, who said they weren’t able to do as much this year.
She said she didn’t want to sound too negative though. “We look forward to next year,” said Shalan.
The day is meant to celebrate local businesses.
“Small business is the basis of the country, let alone the community. It keeps the country going,” said Senff.
Shalan said that revenue at small businesses is more likely to be spent again locally.
“The money goes back into the community that they serve,” she said.
Typically, local businesses give lots of opportunities to traditionally marginalized groups as well.
“Nationally, small businesses tend to employ more females and minorities than any other sector in employment,” said Jack Cash, owner of FauxyFurr Vintage and Homemade. “That brings diversity and character to your downtown."
Business groups, such as the Downtown Arlington Business Association, typically host events as well.
“During a normal year the business community puts on activities for families to help make memories,” said Cash. “It really facilitates this idea of community."
Cash said she enjoys seeing the community on days like Small Business Saturday.
“People that have shown support over the year and make the effort to show up during these days that have been deemed important,” she said.
This year’s Small Business Saturday had some traffic, although not as much as a normal year due to people staying home out of caution.
“Not as many people are out as there were last year,” said Shalan.
“Some people have been out to support us, but not nearly the amount that we have had in the past,” said Senff.
The Stilly Valley Chamber has set up an online portal for those who want to shop locally while maintaining distance during the pandemic at www.shoplocalarlington.com.