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Shop local for Small Business Saturday

MORGANTOWN — Last year’s pandemic created many challenges for local small-business owners, but this year local shops are ready for your support.  This Saturday, consumers can show their support by shopping locally on Small Business Saturday.

Small Business Saturday is an annual celebration of the country’s small business community held each year on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Since its start in 2010, the day has been designed to encourage support for the local businesses that create jobs, boost the economy, and enliven neighborhoods across the United States, according to a news release from the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Last year, the total reported projected spending among U.S. consumers who shopped at independent retailers and restaurants on Small Business Saturday reached an estimated $19.8 billion, the release said. There are more than 32.5 million small businesses in the United States and about half of American workers are either employed by or own a small business.

“These businesses are local, so your dollars stay in Morgantown when you shop locally,” said Barbara Watkins, executive director of Main Street Morgantown. “These are friends or neighbors that you are helping support. In turn, they help support the Little Leagues and all the other local organizations.”

Isabella Casillas Guzman, administrator of the Small Business Administration, also encourages Americans to shop at small businesses this season. 

“On Saturday and throughout the holiday season, let’s patronize our small shops, restaurants, theaters, entertainment centers, and more to help support their recovery,” she said in the release. “It takes hard work, grit, and determination to bounce back from a once-in-a-generation pandemic. Now more than ever, let’s buy local to support small business owners who are creating opportunity and driving job growth across the nation.”

Connie Merandi, co-owner of Coni and Franc on High Street, said “a small business survives because our locals and those who are visiting come and shop with us.”  Coni and Franc will celebrate its 39th year in business Monday.

“Without the support of our locals and the wonderful people of the community — generations of mothers and grandmothers that are now bringing their daughters and their granddaughters in — that’s what keeps us in business,” Merandi said.  “We contribute locally to charities, we volunteer, we do everything for our community, and we appreciate when our community comes back and shops with us.”

There are several downtown businesses that sell merchandise made by local artists. “When you shop downtown, not only are you shopping locally but you are also getting a gift that a lot of times has been handmade,” Watkins said.  When you shop at local businesses you are not only supporting the business, but supporting the local economy, she added.  

“That’s how we make sure all of our storefronts are occupied, and there is activity in our downtown, in our small town, in our county, in our state,” Merandi said. “The more small businesses we have, the better off West Virginia is.”

In addition to holiday sale events at many of the businesses, 17 local artists will also be set up on High Street in the courthouse square to sell their artwork from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday.  

A list of artists and other information about Small Business Saturday in Morgantown can be found at or on Main Street Morgantown’s Facebook page.

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