You’ve hit the malls and big-box stores for post-Thanksgiving sales and are ready for a slower pace, but you’re not yet shopped out.
Small and independent merchants hope they won’t be forgotten in the holiday buying rush, especially now that they have a day to call their own.
American Express created Small Business Saturday eight years ago for the day after Black Friday. The movement has grown, and in the Baltimore area, many neighborhoods and communities are promoting unique retail offerings and encouraging consumers to shop local.
Here’s a sampling of places to go.
Annapolis: Merchants such as Lilac Bijoux, Zachary’s Jewelers and Mills Fine Wine and Spirits are offering discounts or other incentives. The day will kick off a season of free three-hour parking at all parking meters, and the parking will be free all day Saturday at the Calvert Street Parking Garage at 19 S. St. Johns Street. A receipt from any downtown merchant is good for a free tote bag, available starting at 10 a.m. at Main and Francis streets to the first 300 people. Cindy Loo Hoo’s boutique, at 125 West Street, will offer food and drinks during the day, while Chesapeake Brewing, at 114 West Street, will offer a free side salad with all food purchases.
Bel Air: The Bel Air Downtown Alliance encourages shoppers to stop in at participating downtown businesses. Merchants include the Velvet Trunk Boutique, Urban Pearl, B. Fabulous and Charm City Run. Full Heart SouLutions will offer specials from 8:30 to 7 p.m., including offers to spend $50 and get a crystal bracelet or spend $100 and get a free Lokai bracelet.
Catonsville: The Catsonville Chamber of Commerce is hosting this year’s event, encouraging consumers to shop and dine locally, hunt through local stores for hidden “Chamber Elves,” and gather for the 24th annual holiday tree lighting, featuring Santa riding a fire truck.
Ellicott City: In Old Ellicott City, organizers tout more than 60 shops and restaurants, including many that rebuilt after a flood destroyed much of Main Street in July 2016. The Ellicott City Partnership is handing out a free tote bag to the first 100 shoppers who stop by the Welcome Center with a dated receipt from any town business. Many shops are offering extended hours, discounts and gifts with purchases. Among the merchants are Artists’ Gallery, Junk Girl, Linwood Boutique and Sweet Elizabeth Jane.
Hampden: The longtime owner of Ma Petite Shoe, Susannah Siger, will celebrate with an 11 a.m. ceremony and event to promote The Sock Shop, next to the shoe store, at 832 W. 36th St. Her new shop joins others that have opened in the past couple of years, including Andamento Gallery, Center Cut Doughnuts, Baltimore in a Box, Brightside Boutique, White Fox and Puptrait Studio. New eateries include Five & Dime Alehouse, Avenue Kitchen, Mount Everest, Chuck’s Trading Post and Soup’s On.
Highlandtown: The Southeast Community Development Corp. is hosting a breakfast of free pastries and coffee at Conkling Plaza, outside 418 S. Conkling St., from 8 a.m. to noon, where visitors can get a free tote bag and shopping bag. The community is promoting locally owned businesses that offer fine arts, vintage items and locally made goods near Eastern Avenue and Conkling Street.
Pigtown: Pigtown Main Street will mark the opening of one of the newest small businesses, Our Spot, a massage and barber shop, with an event at 9:30 a.m. at 783 Washington Blvd, and kick off shopping until 5 p.m. The Main Street organization invites shoppers to stop at holiday pop-up shops and enjoy music, wine tasting and promotions while filling up the Pigtown Passport at participating businesses.
Westminster: Shoppers can pick up a Small Business Saturday passport at any participating business between Saturday and Dec. 3 and get eight stickers to qualify for a drawing for $100 gift certificates good at any participating business. Completed passports must be turned in at any Carroll County public library or town hall by Dec. 4.