Small Business Saturday gets big push in D.C.

WASHINGTON (WJLA) - From the busy 14th Street retail corridor to a pair of indoor merchant fairs, Small Business Saturday got a big push in D.C.

“It’s sort of the anti-Black Friday experience, if you will,” says Jay Diamonon.

“I’m a firm believer if you build it, they will come,” says Stacey Price, the executive director of Think Local First D.C.

“To me, it’s about bringing back local flavor,” says June Blanks, the founder of Junius Cold Brew Coffee Co.

Banks was among those making sales at the D.C. Brau brewery, where the non-profit group Think Local First D.C. is trying to connect small businesses with new customers.

“When you go into a small business they are fighting for your attention, and they usually started it because they’re passionate about something,” says Blanks.

In the past eight months, 25 new businesses have opened on 14th Street. Retailers hope the small business will continue right through the holidays.

Retail experts say nationwide, holiday shoppers spent about $5.5 billion at local stores this weekend last year, about 10 percent of the total market.

“You definitely find more unique items here than you would at the mall,” says Tricia Bucklen. “You’re supporting the person and not just the profit margin.”

The big pitch at Union Market: small business and quality goods.

“I think there’s this yearning and this desire to reconnect with making things,” says Gert Barkovic, the founder of Mutiny D.C. “I think we’re real tactile individuals and we love quality.”

For shoppers, it’s a different approach during the busy shopping season.

“Any opportunity to keep everything here, avoid the crowds, be a little more selective, more quality kind of products,” says Diamonon.