Small Business Saturday helps warm up holiday spirit in Milford

MILFORD — Small Business Saturday offers a welcomed and unique spin on holiday spending a decade in the making.

It began 10 years ago with American Express leading the charge by encouraging shoppers to give their hard earn money to smaller, hometown businesses with the help of a designated day.
Now, entrepreneurs and shoppers alike say the national event is a helpful reminder of what it means to celebrate community.

“It’s been really great. It makes me want to stay open a little later. We’ve had a nice flow of people. I think it helps to have Santa down the road. When Santa’s in town, it’s pretty important,” Tamara Leuty of Lady Maggie’s Boutique said.

“It brings attention to the small businesses downtown. Because that’s what we need. Small businesses need help; Amazon doesn’t, but we do. It’s a necessity to have events like this. It builds community. I think it’s essential for small businesses.”

Maggie Stewart, owner of the antique store attached to the boutique, said customers who visited her side of the business took Small Business Saturday seriously Nov. 30.
“It gives people an opportunity to give back to the small businesses instead of doing the big stores. We had a lot of people in here today. On this side, it was awesome,” Ms. Stewart said.

Stephenie Tatman, Dolce Bakery & Coffee Shop co-owner, echoed her thoughts, saying, “Small Business Saturday is one of our favorite days of the year.
“Most of our regulars come out to find a unique gift and we get the chance to meet a lot of new faces, too. It’s a great way to kick off our holiday season and fuels us through the long days ahead.”

With a focus on shopping, Downtown Milford, Inc., and the city of Milford joined in the fun, using the event as an opportunity to bring out activities the whole family. Santa Claus arrived to his downtown home at 11 a.m. atop an antique Carlisle Fire Department truck. Milford Mayor Archie Campbell was escorted in town ahead of him on a motorcycle driven by Dave Pickrell of Gallery 37: A Destination for Artful Living. Caroling and the annual Christmas tree lighting was held in the evening at city hall.

Marcia Reed, also from Gallery 37, noted many of the visitors came from neighboring towns this year, including Monique d’Almeida of Gaithersburg, Md. who stopped in while traveling through the area. She said she not only had the chance to shop at the small businesses found in the downtown area, but also had the chance to have other experiences, as well.

“I have so enjoyed your town. It has been fantastic,” Ms. d’Almeida said. “I had the best time at the museum; and it was just me. I love small towns. This was great. It was fantastic. And I’m from Washington, D.C., so we know a little about museums because there’s lots, right? That museum reminds me, and I’m sorry to say, of the Holocaust Museum because everything was donated, just like in that museum. Sometimes, you go to museums and it’s,

‘This is what it would have looked like,’ so, it was pretty interesting. Milford has been fantastic and I can’t wait to come back.”

Reach staff writer Jennifer Antonik at jantonik@newszap.com

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