MARYLAND — Thanksgiving typically kicks off a chaotic shopping weekend with Black Friday and Small Business Saturday. Because of the coronavirus this year looks different but businesses still need your help, especially those small businesses.
They're just asking for your patience this holiday season. Because of social distancing and capacity limitations, stores can only have a certain amount of people inside at a time.
"Lets keep the cheer here you know. The small businesses, we really need your help right now but you gotta be safe. Wear masks and sanitize you’re hands. If it looks like there are two many people in the store, just have some patience because we are going to have to hold people back to keep the shopping safe," said Amanda Goddard, the CEO of Boutique 44 in Bel Air.
To make sure they're getting your support while keeping everyone safe, many businesses have expanded their hours with an extra hour in the morning and an extra hour in the evening to spread out shopping. Some owners are considering doing this for the rest of the holiday season, depending upon how this weekend goes.
They're also extending their deals and discounts, instead of just offering them for one day.
"We started an event called 44 day’s of Christmas so that means we are doing a deal or giveaway a day, all the way up until Christmas Eve so people don’t feel like they have to rush in here just for the weekend," said Goddard.
Just a few minutes away, on Main Street in Bel Air, the Nest on Main has some of their own deals. "A free gift with every purchase. We have 15 percent off all of our greens and wreaths and stems and then all of our candles are 15 percent. We carry a line called Beekman. It's a goat milk line. It’s a great company. They gave us these beautiful totes to give away," said Kathi Gromacki, the owner of the Nest on the Main.
Gromacki said typically they would give the totes to the first 20 shoppers on Small Business Saturday but this year, to not encourage big crowds, she spread it out to five bags over four days with a $100 Beekman purchase.
She is one of many small businesses who created an online website during this pandemic. She said, "I was brought on to it kicking and screaming but we did it so that’s been a lot of fun! So we get a couple orders a day. I literally do a dance when I wake up and see the thing. It’s like oh my gosh, this is awesome!" She loves how orders can come through when the store isn't even open.
If you don't feel comfortable going into a store to shop, check online for a website or Facebook page. You can order things online or many stores offer curbside pick up.