‘Small Business Saturday’ helps Montpelier shops bounce back after floods

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MONTPELIER, Vt. (WCAX) – Started by American Express in 2010, Small Business Saturday is an opportunity for people to find great deals while supporting the local economy. Small Business Saturday celebrates and supports small businesses and all they do for their communities.

The event takes place between Black Friday and Cyber ​​Monday every November. This year, the challenges of the summer’s historic flooding still hit the state’s hardest-hit centers like Montpelier.

“We were on Elm Street. We moved on March 1 and decided we wanted to take advantage of more foot traffic,” LaRosa said.

Joyce LaRosa, co-owner of Cheshire Cat Clothing, said it was terrifying to see the flooding destroy businesses like Bear Pond and World Cow. Even though her store took a hit – LaRosa says they’ve been able to recover and are now excited to participate in the holiday shopping tradition.

“It’s exciting. Even in 2023 it’s great to be in Montpellier, just to see people, to see tourists, to see old friends or customers. So, it’s a great feeling,” LaRosa said.

World Cow founder DJ Barry said they opened shop when the water was high.

“We opened in April three months before the whole place was torn down. And it’s been a tough year for us,” Barry said.

But despite starting off on the wrong foot… Barry said he took advantage of the flexibility of the business and the support he received from the Montpelier community.

“As soon as the flood came, we took a unique detour… and started going out in Vermont with paintbrushes, spray paint and stencils, and painting cows. You know, going back to Montpelier, we didn’t know how things were going to go, but we’re excited to be back,” Barry said.

In the year According to the 2022 Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights Survey, people who shopped on Small Business Saturday at independent retailers and restaurants generated $17.9 billion in revenue nationwide. Robert Kassow, with his book Bear Pond, says revenue and patronage are key to the future success of businesses like theirs, which make downtown Montpelier.

“We have a very passionate local customer base, who have been incredibly generous and put us through this difficult summer flood, so we love them,” Kassow said.

There are approximately 32 million independent businesses in the country…and the hope is that they all find success during the holiday season.

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