In case you haven’t heard, we’ve declared this coming Saturday, April 25, (Virtual) Small Business Saturday in DC. While this, of course, is an effort to generate revenue among local businesses, it’s also a way to showcase the community efforts currently going on in DC for small businesses to stay afloat.
What most of you are probably not privy to is what goes on behind the scenes of running a business. A lot of times, it can feel incredibly isolating. I often wonder “Am I doing ok?" "Are my sales on par with other shops?" "How do I handle X, Y, Z problem?" I’ve been fortunate enough to have several strong mentors in the industry and the city, but there is a guardedness about sharing certain information, and it’s hard to know where you stand or how to manage the day-to-day drudgery like payroll, employee issues, taxes, landlord relations, revenue, and more.
Once talks began about the city shutting down in the midst of coronavirus, the DC business and restaurant community immediately rallied together in a matter of hours. Email chains started, slack channels formed, and I shared several tearful, late night phone calls with fellow business owners about what on earth we could do. People I wasn’t particularly close to or had even met in-person before suddenly became confidants, advisors, and cheerleaders. Resources were shared, advice given, and in real time we were able to navigate this very messy landscape together (as much as any business owner possibly can). In the midst of a global pandemic, where arguably you could feel the most isolated, I suddenly felt more surrounded by a community than ever.
I am certain, sadly, that this sense of community is not felt everywhere. I’ve heard stories of competition and undercutting among business owners. I’ve had peers in the jewelry industry laugh in my face when I asked a question about suppliers. I’ve seen first hand how cut throat business can be. And yet, at the end of the day, it’s not really about any one of us, is it? The only way we’ll all get through this together is as a community.
So…this is my long winded way of saying…if you find yourself in a position to make a purchase this coming Saturday (and beyond), please consider spending your dollars at a local business. I am so incredibly proud that we’ve come together in this way to lift each other up, and i’m certain this will continue well beyond 4.25. Small businesses are the backbone of a community, and it’s imperative that as many of us as possible stay alive.
In the spirit of community, we’ll be donating a portion of our sales to Underbare’s efforts to create masks for frontline workers. We will also be giving a $10 gift card to spend at another local business with any purchase over $100.
Be well, shop local, and see you on the other side of this.