Small Business Saturday is crucial this year for Ellicott City retailers

Many are working to recover from flooding
Posted at 5:12 PM, Nov 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-25 06:53:05-05

It's been nearly four months since the devastating flash flood washed away parts of Ellicott City, making this holiday shopping season a beacon of hope for small businesses on Main Street.

This weekend, about 72 percent of the damaged businesses will be back open, including Sweet Elizabeth Jane. Crews are working extra hard to make sure customers can come shop.

"We're so ready for that,” said Sweet Elizabeth Jane Owner Tammy Beideman. “We're just ready to be done with this part and be back in business doing what we do."     

It's been a tough time for the five-year-old business. The historic flooding completely wiped out the entire store.  Inventory had to be replaced, furniture purchased and the shop moved up the street.

"We lost all the stuff, but we still had the spirit of who we are and the will and the determination to keep going," Beideman said.

A resolve that will pay off this Friday when Sweet Elizabeth Jane is officially back open.

Workers hope customers welcome them back on such a crucial shopping weekend.

"Small Business Saturday is usually our largest day of the year, and Black Friday is usually our second largest day of the year, so that's been our goal, to be back for that," Beideman said.

While some shops are still working to get back on their feet, other retailers are stocking up.

Officials say Main Street is typically packed on Small Business Saturday, and this year, it's more important than ever for the people who work here.

"Shopping small this year, especially in Old Ellicott City, is reinvesting in people's dreams, it's gonna help them get back on their feet, and it's gonna ensure the survival of our town," Kelly Zimmerman, Marketing Director for Ellicott City Partnership said.

HorseSpirit Art Gallery suffered $82,000 in damage after five-feet of water rushed through the space. The year-old showroom has only been back open for about three-weeks.

"As bad as the flood was, it's been even better in terms of people,” said HorseSpirit Art Gallery Owner Robin Holliday. “I have seen the very best of people in this situation."

Small Business Saturday was the galleries biggest single day for sales in 2015. And they're hoping for a repeat this time around, because it's needed.

"The biggest thing people can do to help Ellicott City is to come back and shop with us," Holliday said. “That is what will sustain us."

The shopping day kicks off Saturday at 10AM with the official grand re-opening of Old Ellicott City. The celebration includes local lawmakers, free t-shirts and the cutting of a massive banner stretched across Main Street. There will also be street performers, an artist’s market, and great sales.  Find out more about Shop Small Saturday.

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