Small Business Saturday encourages shopping, spending in Aiken | Local News

Small Business Saturday is this weekend, and some Aiken retailers, merchants, services and restaurants are depending on it.

The coronavirus pandemic has walloped the U.S. economy and has pushed many small businesses over the edge – or very close to it. Restaurants and retailers were hit particularly hard as earlier lockdowns took effect.

“This time of the year, right now from Small Business Saturday to Christmas Eve, are big, important months,” Greater Aiken Chamber of Commerce President and CEO J. David Jameson said Wednesday. “And, I fear some of our independent retailers are just holding on.”

Most chamber members employ just a handful of people: neighbors, friends, people seen around the city and throughout the county.

“So, we are a community made up of small businesses,” the chamber president said, “and some of these businesses have really, really struggled this year.”

The Yelp Economic Impact report, published in September, found that some 163,700 businesses had closed in the U.S. since the beginning of March, around the start of the pandemic.

Small Business Saturday was first observed years ago as a counterpart to frenetic Black Friday and online-savvy Cyber Monday, both of which draw crowds and clicks to big-box stores and multibillion-dollar companies.

Jameson emphasized that Small Business Saturday extends beyond the often-thought-of boutique or clothing store: “It’s broader than just the independent retailers, who you think of,” he said. “We’ve got small restaurants that need help. We have other kinds of small businesses that need support.”

Restaurants and caterers can be supported by buying gift cards or grabbing a meal to go. If you’re looking to do some home improvement, Jameson added, hire a local team.

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Start your holiday shopping early at Mistletoe + Merlot in Aiken this week | Entertainment

The Aiken Standard’s third annual Mistletoe + Merlot Holiday Shopping Market will take place Thursday and Friday at Newberry Hall, and tickets are still available.

The two-day event will showcase 50 local vendors selling a vast variety of holiday gifts.

“We’ve got a little bit of everything to get your Christmas shopping jumpstarted,” said Diane Daniell, advertising sales and marketing manager for the Aiken Standard.

A preview party will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 19; tickets are $50, and the preview party is limited to 100 guests.

On Friday, Nov. 20, three shopping events are scheduled, with each allowing a limited number of guests. A brunch event will be held from 9 a.m. to noon; tickets are $25. A lunch event will be held from noon to 3 p.m.; tickets are $25. A general admission evening event will be held from 3 to 6 p.m.; tickets are $15.

Masks will be required for entry.

To purchase tickets online, visit aikenstandard.com and click on Events.

Tickets also can be purchased at Aiken Standard, 326 Rutland Drive; Lionel Smith Ltd., 132 Laurens St. S.W.; Unique Expressions, 1521 Whiskey Road; Vikki’s Boutique, 1501 Whiskey Road; and Hibbitt’s Drug Co., 735 N. Main St., New Ellenton.

Sponsors for Mistletoe + Merlot are: United Real Estate, presenting sponsor; Gail Gingrey Team – Meybohm Real Estate, mask sponsor; Aiken Regional Medical Centers, hand sanitizer sponsor; Hibbitts Drugs, ticket sponsor; Remax Tattersall Group, photo booth sponsor; Southside Gallery Design Studio, step and repeat sponsor; Emerson, wineglass sponsor; Vikki’s Boutique, shopping bag sponsor.

For more information, call Melinda Caldwell with the Aiken Standard at 803–644-2362.

List of vendors

• Affordable Jewels – Christine James

• Aloha Aesthetics

• Bead In Love

• Country Roots

• Cupcake Niki

• Danny O’Driscoll

• Eastlake Design

• Florale Designs

• Focus On Light

• Fresh Air Limited

• Gail Gingrey Team – Meybohm Real Estate

• Good Karma Designs

• Handcrafted Cutting Boards

• Irongate Candles

• Julie Steen

• KD Soapworks

• LC’s Delightful Designs

• Mack’s Poppin Kettle Korn

• Maddie P Boutique

• Marie-Lyn’s Greenleaf Designs

• Mary Kay – Delores Martin

• Miss Bea’s Pickles

• Nerdy Acres

• Nowicki’s Chickies

• Open Leaf CBD

• Pampered Chef – Cassie Dawson

• Richards Furriers

• Ron Bonar

• Sal Gal – Salli Cupstid

• Shady Lady

• Southside Gallery

• Sweet Cream Treats

• TLC Confections

• Tupperware – Shirley Pinkston

• United Real Estate

• V-Style

• Vikki’s Boutique

• Village 2 World

• What Can I Say by Carteka

• Witch is Best

• Young Living Essential Oil – Nicole Miller

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