ALEXANDRIA, Va. (WDVM) — Alexandria is known for its’ small businesses, and this year, the local owners are hosting their first-ever Alexandria Shop Small Week.
“It’s a week to, especially in this year, just focus on small businesses and keeping them afloat,” said Abby Bennsky, floor manager at Old Town Books.
After months of businesses in the community suffering due to the coronavirus pandemic, the shop owners came together to create a common solution.
“Alexandria is known for having a pretty strong community and COVID has really just brought that out and reinforced it,” said Nicole McGrew, owner at Threadleaf. “It’s really helped strengthen our working together, bouncing ideas off of each other.”
Each store is hosting a week full of deals and promotions, with sign up sheets to allow social distancing in each location.
“We’re doing thirty percent off all day today since you couldn’t really come and crowd the store at 6 a.m.,” said Elizabeth Todd, owner at The Shoe Hive. “We really wanted to make it safe, so we did sign-up spots.”
Despite the pandemic, the city is keeping with some special traditions to kick off the week. Alexandria hosts ‘Plaid Friday’, an initiative that encourages locals to come out and shop small.
“Small and independently owned businesses are all incredibly unique and they form this incredible woven fabric of our community,” said Danielle Romanetti, owner of Fibre Space and creator of Plaid Friday.
“It’s the local version of black Friday, kind of a little more civilized, a way for us to compete with the big box and give people a reason to come out and shop local,” said Todd.
Owners say that big box stores can’t compete with one quality these tiny boutiques provide — a personal touch.
“They are run by actual people,” said Bennsky.” You know the people behind the counter, you know the people who answer the phone…so it is that personal touch.”
The city’s small businesses are depending on locals to keep them around to see next season.
“Most of us don’t have huge margins or huge reserves to get through a nine-month downturn,” said McGrew. “So just think about what you want to see when all this is over.”