Restored Ellicott City businesses hang hopes on Small Business Saturday

WASHINGTON — After floodwaters brought extensive damage and forced doors to close, business owners in historic Ellicott City are thrilled at the new start Small Business Saturday brings.

The town is hosting a celebration Saturday, asking shoppers to support their local businesses and help them recover from the flood.

Business owner Barry Gibson, of the Forget Me Not Factory on Main Street, is happy Ellicott City is celebrating the downtown shops and says he’s ready for the revenue that comes with it.

Home of the self-playing piano, Gibson has a memorable way of describing his shop. “It’s a magical store; it’s where fairies and bubbles meet,” he said. He’s also fondly known around town as the “Bubble Man.”

The fatal July flooding ravaged about 40 businesses, including his 33-year-old store.

“We had to put utilities back in. Of course, we had to clean the building and go ahead and redress the first floor with new displays and new products,” Gibson said.

He also took part in an ad promoting downtown as part of the “Ellicott City Strong” campaign.

For fellow business owner Macy Della of Bear Fox Babe, Saturday’s event is great for community building. Her clothing store sits in a little red cottage adjacent to Main Street.

“It’s so important that people realize shopping small, shopping local just promotes the community. The foot traffic has been insane compared to the weeks prior to this,” she said.

Della’s shop fared better than most in the flood, but she couldn’t have anticipated how the closure of other downtown businesses would interrupt her bottom line.

“It’s been really good to have a strong support system,” she added. “They are hosting a lot of events for the merchants here, trying to get people into Ellicott City, and let them know we are open for business and we want the community to be here and help us.”

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Megan Cloherty

WTOP Investigative Reporter Megan Cloherty primarily covers breaking news, crime and courts.

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