As the holiday shopping season kicks off, homeowners bank on small businesses on Saturday

WASHINGTON (Great District) — Doug Abbey, wearing a red hat and tight scarf, stood outside in the cold, ready to welcome shoppers to his pop-up store next to a busy holiday market in downtown Washington, D.C. It’s an opportunity to promote his small business, iconsDC, and his passion throughout the year.

“It’s called late-life transformation,” he says of how his small business got started. “I’ve actually been able to tap into my passion for my city and architecture. So, it’s been a real joy, not as rewarding as I’d like. But I’m having a good time.”

If holiday shoppers are able to take a good look at the big box stores on Black Friday, the US Small Business Administration (SBA) wants shoppers to turn their attention to Small Business Saturday, Nov. 26.

Each year, the SBA partners with American Express on outreach efforts.

“It’s been a great way for us to get our reliance back on the local economy and make sure we support real support for these orders,” said SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman. All the staff and families at this incredible mom-and-pop store.” She was at the Small Business Holiday Market in downtown’s Penn Quarter neighborhood with Gray Television’s Washington News Bureau correspondent Jamie Bittner.

Amex estimates small business Saturday spending will hit an all-time high of $23.3 in 2021. trillion. The National Retail Federation also reported that holiday sales last year were up nearly 14% over 2020, totaling $889 billion.

The US Small Business Administration reports that the nation’s 33 million small businesses employ nearly 62 million people.

Guzman acknowledged that challenges lie ahead as the country continues its economic recovery from COVID-19. However, she remains hopeful.

“We saw in the data last week that inflation was cooling, and experts expect that to continue. I’ve been shocked because I travel a lot with small business owners across the country where there’s hope and they’re looking forward to the future. Encouraging. They’re investing in their business and counting on consumers to shine this holiday season,” Guzman said.

Abbey reminds shoppers that small businesses can provide variety, choice and service. Additionally, he added, there is a “feedback loop” that can help businesses thrive.

“Just getting some sort of real-time feedback in front of customers or clients to find out what works, what they like, what they don’t like. You know, you don’t get it from a big box,” he said.

As for how many people Abbey expects to attend the holiday market on Small Business Saturday, he thinks it’s hard to say. But he said, “I’m optimistic, I think people want to go out, they want to buy local.”

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