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Shop Small Saturday provides local alternative to Black Friday

This Friday, big box stores across the country will be slam packed with shoppers searching for deals on hot holiday gifts. On Saturday, however, local merchants invite shoppers to enjoy an alternative to the mad rush, during Shop Small Saturday.

It’s an opportunity to support local business owners who help stimulate the economy of Beaufort County. From donating to churches and disaster relief efforts to sponsoring local Little League teams, it’s these same small business owners that champion some of the area’s greatest causes through charitable giving.

“We stress shopping local year round, in all that we do,” said Russell’s Men’s Shop owner Russell Smith. “I hope the people in the community realize how important it is to have a brick and mortar store and have support. The main thing, it enables us to give back to the community, like to schools, civic organizations and nonprofits. We get a lot of requests from locals like that to help out. It’s huge when people that live here, shop here. It makes a big difference.”

Washington Harbor District Alliance Executive Director Meg Howdy says the holiday season is especially important for small business owners, as the winter months following Christmas can be somewhat slow.

“It’s key we support them and keep those businesses doing well,” Howdy said. “They care so much about our local economy. They support our kids’ soccer leagues and football. They’re the ones that are going and supporting our community in turn.”

For Barbara Hardy, owner of the Secret Garden Gallery and Boutique, Shop Small Saturday serves to increase awareness of small businesses like her own.

“We’re really advocates of shopping local,” Hardy said. “We’re in the trenches, and people want downtown to stay open. What they can do to help with that is to shop with us.”

With the opening of the Harbor District Market this past summer, the same reasons to shop local at brick and mortar businesses also apply to the vendors who call the market home, according to Howdy.

“For some, it’s supporting their income and their day job,” Howdy said. “We have retirees where it’s helping support them in their retirement.”