by Terry Rogers
This holiday season, more than any in the past, small businesses need the support of as many customers as possible. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on small businesses, especially smaller, family-owned businesses. Many retailers earn half their annual revenue during the holiday shopping season during a normal business year. With COVID-19 closures earlier in the year, small businesses are asking for support during the holidays.
In an effort to promote small businesses, American Express created Small Business Saturday, held on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, in an effort to promote shopping small for the holidays. The day after Thanksgiving, Black Friday, is the day most people begin their Christmas shopping and, in the past, has been a day for shopping in larger, chain stores. On Saturday, shoppers are encouraged to visit local small businesses for holiday shopping needs.
In downtown Milford, many stores are offering discounts and savings in celebration of both Black Friday and Small Business Saturday. Eugenia Sparks and Shelley Moore, owners of Irish Rose Gift Shop on Walnut Street will be open both days from 10 AM until 5 PM.
“On both days, we will have a discount bowl available,” Sparks said. “Customers will be invited to choose one token. It will indicate 10, 15 or 20 percent off their purchase. One token in the bowl will be for 50 percent off. Sales have been down considerable this year. The holiday season is very important to Irish Rose as well as the other small retail businesses in Delaware.”
In addition to the Black Friday and Small Business Saturday discounts, Irish Rose is also offering sales on certain merchandise throughout December. They also offer, by appointment only, a personal shopping day for customers on Sunday and Monday. Appointments can be made by calling 302-491-4125. All COVID-19 protocols are in place with limits on the number of customers in the shop, providing hand sanitizer, requiring masks as well as providing masks to customers if they need them.
“Irish Rose would like to express a sincere advance thank you to all shoppers who visit on Black Friday and Small Business Saturday,” Sparks said. “To our regular customers whom we have not seen for a while, we understand, we miss you and we hope you stay safe.”
Dolce will be closed on Black Friday in order to give their team some rest in order to serve customers from 8 AM to 3 PM on Small Business Saturday.
“We’re debuting a brand new Dolce product, perfect for gift giving, on Small Business Saturday that we know everyone will love,” Stephanie Tatman, co-owner, said. “Our community has been so supportive during the pandemic. We look forward to paying it forward by providing a little comfort in the form of organic coffee and handmade pastries during the holiday season and throughout the pandemic. The pandemic has been difficult in many ways for everyone. With the support of our community and the tireless effort of our Dolce family, we’ve adapted and treated each obstacle as an opportunity. We’ll continue to offer our charcuterie style dessert boards this holiday season, which are perfect for small gatherings.”
Santa also arrives in Milford on Small Business Saturday. This year, the Santa House will be decorated for children and children-at-heart to peak in through the front door window, but Santa himself will be in the City of Milford Customer Service Center drive-thru window Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from Nov. 28-Dec. 20. Click here for Santa’s hours and complete information.
In past years, the City of Milford has held a tree-lighting ceremony with caroling in front of City Hall. This year, due to the pandemic, they will not be holding a public tree lighting event but hope to reinstate the program for 2021.
On December 5th, Santa will join the staff at Dolce. Tatman explained that Santa’s elves have created a festive snow globe for Santa so that he can safely visit with families. Children can also deliver letters for Santa during their visit. Masks, social distancing and indoor capacity rules apply. Tatman stated that Dolce will continue to find ways to provide a sense of normalcy and comfort for Delawareans in a safe manner.