A Guide to Shopping Local on Small Business Saturday

How to find and support DC-area retailers going into the holiday season

Small Business Saturday is just around the corner—on November 27, the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Created in 2010 to support small retailers during a recession, the day seems even more important now, as some local retailers compete for inventory with big-box stores while others may still be recovering from the pandemic.

Here’s a quick guide to a few events and websites that may make buying local easier this holiday season.

Georgetown Small Business Saturday Promotions

More than 300 small businesses make up the heart of Georgetown’s dining and retail community. For this Saturday’s event, about 35 shops, service providers, restaurants, and cafes are offering special sales, gift-card promotions, prize drawings, free gifts with purchase, and other deals. Among the participants are fine-art sellers, wine cellars, clothing boutiques, and coffee houses. 

See the entire list here.

Alexandria Shop Small Week

Alexandria is hosting its second annual “Shop Small Week” from November 26 through December 2. The seven days of events and deals include small-business versions of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Small Business Saturday itself will be filled with specials at more than 50 independently owned boutiques throughout Old Town and Del Ray. 

Live music performances and outdoor shopping displays will also line certain areas along King Street. And 30 of Alexandria’s makers will be setting up shop for an especially spirited time-out that evening in the Port City Brewing Company parking lot.

DC Shop Small

What started as an initiative to feature and support online sales for small businesses in DC continues to be a great resource for those looking to shop in the Washington area. DC Shop Small provides a detailed directory that can be organized by region and category. This Wednesday, November 24, the site plans to release a full list of promotions from local businesses and eateries.

Mallory Shelter, owner of Shelter and Mallory Shelter Jewelry, started with the mission of highlighting small businesses struggling at the start of the pandemic. The site launched a virtual, off-season Small Business Saturday on April 25, 2020, which drew in almost $200,000 in revenue for about 100 local businesses.

DC Shop Small  will continue to add local businesses to the registry starting in January of next year. Business owners can submit an application to have their own added here.

Made in DC

This registry includes nearly 350 local businesses that design, make, or produce their products in the District. The DC Department of Small & Local Business Development began compiling businesses on the site starting in 2016. You can find everything from teahouses and pastry shops to breweries and barbershops.

See the entire list here.

Zach Bright

Zach joined Washingtonian in October 2021. In the past, he’s written for The Colorado Sun, The Nevada Independent and SRQ Magazine.