Kimberly McGlonn of Grant Blvd is excited about this year’s Small Business Saturday, a national day established to support small retailers across the country during the holiday shopping season.

“I think Small Business Saturday is an opportunity for us to invest in the fabric of our communities,” said McGlonn, whose West Philadelphia-based clothing brand specializes in sustainable fashion.

“For the most part there (are) always places, whether it’s the corner store or the coffee shop, that add character to the places we call home.”

“I think that the only reason why they survive is because we love on them and we tend to them and Small Business Saturday is a really important opportunity for us to figure out how we can do that,” she said.

Grant Blvd is marking the occasion by dropping a new clothing collection for the cold weather.

“It’s a commentary on the ways in which we aspire to remix fashion but also this idea of bringing people together in the holidays for a festive vibe,” McGlonn said. “The bold colors of this collection, I think, will communicate that and give off the energy that is reflective of this season.”

Shaw Lewis of Expect Lace regards Small Business Saturday as a huge deal. Her shop on Main Street in Manayunk specializes in high end lingerie.

“This will be our third year participating,” Lewis said. “It gets better and better each year.”

Last year they had a huge turnover, she said, as many people wanted to support minority-owned and small businesses.

“I think being an entrepreneur, things can be a little stressful, but having a day where we can celebrate each other and people get a chance to support us and show their appreciation means a lot, especially during these crazy times,” Lewis said.

Her business was impacted by pandemic-related shutdowns and the historic flooding that Manayunk had in September. The flooding, which devastated area businesses, damaged some of Expect Lace’s inventory and equipment.

Lewis said many of the impacted businesses rebounded by relying on each other and receiving community support.

Rashida Watson, the owner of the Silk Tent, is hopeful that customers will turn out to shop as she marks her fourth year in business this Friday. She will offer specials throughout the weekend.

Her shop on Lancaster Avenue in West Philadelphia carries an array of art, jewelry, textiles and home décor.

Watson appreciates how the spotlight is being placed on small businesses like hers this Saturday.

“I think it emphasizes that we’re set apart from the large business chains by our individual and very personal care to our business,” Watson said. “It gives us a platform to show that we take extra care to our customers and that we support the creativity of some of the artists and artisans who we showcase in our shop.”

The East Passyunk Avenue Business Improvement District and its 160 independently owned shops and restaurants are urging residents to shop local this Saturday. Retailers, service providers and restaurants will be offering specials, sidewalk sales and pop-up events.

“This holiday season, people’s commitment to shopping locally can mean a world of difference for our independent business community,” said Adam Leiter, executive director of the business improvement district. “When you spend locally, your dollar goes further, making a personal and positive impact that resonates with multiple small businesses.”

Last year, spending by U.S. consumers who shopped at independent retailers and restaurants on Small Business Saturday reached an estimated $19.8 billion, according to an American Express survey.

City Councilmember Jamie Gauthier released a new 3rd District Holiday Shopping Guide to encourage people to support West and Southwest Philadelphia’s small business community this holiday season.

The online guide contains listings for shops, entertainment, restaurants, cafes and organizations across the district, and features interviews with a variety of business owners.

“Small businesses are the backbone of our city,” Gauthier said in a news release. “They sustain our neighborhoods, provide essential services to our communities, employ a diverse array of Philadelphia residents, and foster our local economy, keeping money close to home.

“I hope this guide makes your holiday shopping a little bit easier, and I hope it gives a boost to our small businesses as they continue to recover from the impacts of COVID-19,” she said.

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