November is a time for reflection, giving thanks and spending time with those we love. It’s also a wonderful time to spread love in our community starting with Small Business Saturday. Small Business Saturday (November 28th, 2015) celebrates and supports independent small businesses. These businesses provide jobs in our community and are a critical part of downtown Fredericksburg’s culture, atmosphere and economy.
Instead of lining up in the cold or constantly refreshing your browser on the morning of Black Friday, wait an extra day and spend your Saturday shopping within our community. Ann Glave, executive director of Fredericksburg Mainstreet, Inc., has all the details on Small Business Saturday and how downtown Fredericksburg is celebrating this year.
Tell us a little about Fredericksburg Main Street. When did it get started and how does it impact the downtown community?
Fredericksburg Main Street, Inc. is about two years old. However, the exploration of Main Street started about four years ago with the city’s economic development authority. Main Street’s roots are with historic preservation and economic development. It originated from by the National Trust for Historic Preservation over 30 years ago. There are 26 Virginia Main Street Communities. Fredericksburg was designated in July 2013.
What are your three favorite things about downtown Fredericksburg?
The history, the individuality or uniqueness of the businesses, and the community’s love for downtown Fredericksburg. It’s quite strong!
What is Small Business Saturday?
It’s the Saturday following Thanksgiving. It was created in 2010 in response to small business owners’ most pressing need: more customers. It started out as an American Express event, and it now welcomes every small business whether or not they take American Express. It’s got a life of its own!
Why is Small Business Saturday important?
It shows that we care about our downtowns. Downtowns are mainly comprised of small independent business owners. Our small businesses create jobs, keep the majority of funds within the community and create a sense of pride and goodwill in downtown.
How is Small Business Saturday different from Black Friday?
It caters to the local independent businesses versus the chains and malls. It’s the shop small commitment for the day. It’s a nationwide well-known [and] celebrated event. The small business owner knows you; knows the community. It’s a local economy-driven activity.
Last year’s event was really amazing! What is downtown Fredericksburg doing for Small Business Saturday this year?
Red carpets and balloons will appear again with the Early Bird Riser promo. Between 8am and 10am, stores will offer a special incentive that they don’t normally do. This year will feature free wrapping stations and free coffee and pastries (two stations like last year) until they run out, with the help of the economic development and tourism office. Also new this year is short videos of our downtown business owners.
Are all the downtown Small Business Saturday festivities/incentives just for that Saturday, or do they last all weekend?
The main emphasis is on Saturday, though supporting your local business should be an everyday consideration. Many of the businesses are doing something special between 8am and 10am and following up with another promotion later in the day.
Where can we purchase downtown Fredericksburg gift cards?
Liberty Town Arts, The Visitor Center and at www.fredericksburgmainstreet.org
Is there a list online of businesses that accept downtown Fredericksburg gift cards?
It’s on our website at www.fredericksburgmainstreet.org. It’s always being updated.
Some people see Small Business Saturday as a kick-off event for the holidays. What does downtown Fredericksburg have in store for the holiday season?
There are many activities planned during the holidays. The holiday parade is an ongoing family tradition. Open Late Fridays will continue. Music on the streets, historic interpreters (dressed in costume) and Santa Strolls are on again. This year there will be real-time Santa Tracker app. You will know where Santa and Mrs. Claus are downtown. Window Wonderland and the Elfie Selfie open at the Holiday Open House on November 14 –this year Elfie Selfie will be Instagram driven with a weekly random drawing for $100 downtown gift card. Solve the holiday riddles and vote for your favorite holiday decorated window.
To find out more about Small Business Saturday in downtown Fredericksburg, visit www.fredericksburgmainstreet.org