After Black Friday comes Small Business Saturday. Alexandria, Virginia, Mayor Justin Wilson joined WTOP’s Anne Kramer on Friday to talk about how important that is.
Anne Kramer: The holiday shopping season has started. People stood in line early this morning for Black Friday deals and they’re also shopping online to get a head start on tackling that list for the holidays. (Nov. 25) is Small Business Saturday. That’s the day where the focus is on the mom- and-pop stores around the country to help boost their sales. And part of our region sure to be packed with shoppers is Alexandria, specifically Old Town Alexandria. Joining us now is Alexandria Mayor Justin Wilson. Mayor, thanks for joining us this afternoon. We do appreciate it. How important is it for small independent stores to be recognized and have their own day basically designated for shopping during the season?
Justin Wilson: This is a vital time for our small businesses. Certainly in Alexandria, we are a small business community and small business is very much big business for us in Alexandria. And this holiday season is very much when our small businesses are going to make it or break it. And so they rely on the support of customers. During this time — this is when they’re going to make their money for the year. And so we’re excited to welcome folks to Alexandria today and tomorrow to celebrate both Small Business Saturday, as well as today we’re celebrating Plaid Friday, which is our version of Black Friday.
Kramer: Mayor, tell us about what is offered, because you all have so many different types of stores — there’s independent stores, unique stores, unusual ones.
Wilson: Absolutely. Our small businesses are focused on providing that kind of experience that makes shopping wonderful. And tomorrow, as part of Small Business Saturday, we’re gonna have a little over 50 businesses that are going to be participating. They’re going to be offering different sales, free gifts, discounts, all kinds of treats in their stores — they’re really working to welcome you to their businesses and make sure you have a great experience, as well as find those gifts that are going to be the perfect thing for that holiday, that unique holiday gift. And they’re very excited. And we’re excited to welcome folks from around the region here.
Kramer: How is Alexandria helping small businesses, the moms and pops?
Wilson: This has been a key focus for us, certainly, during the pandemic, we had small businesses that were on the edge, and we worked to support our small businesses during that difficult time. And now as we put that time in our rearview mirror, we have just launched a brand- new small business support program, really rebooting how we support small businesses with a special focus on trying to address some of our businesses that are really hurting right now., as well as helping folks, some of our diverse businesses. So we’re now going to have services and not only English, but Spanish and Aramaic, with interpretation for other languages. We’re growing our business associations and working in partnership with them. Just really trying to expand the support that we provide, not only to create new small businesses, but help our existing small businesses grow and thrive.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.