KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Small Business Saturday is an annual tradition across the country, encouraging people to stop by local shops to help bolster the economy.
But this year’s event takes on an extra meaning due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
On the 11th annual Small Business Saturday, sponsored by American Express, people across the country are going above and beyond to highlight local businesses impacted economically because of the virus.
The same rings true for businesses in Knoxville.
Moonshine Mountain Cookie Company is just one of the businesses that spent Saturday welcoming customers into their shop.
“It’s very important for the community to support local community businesses,” said Mike Maddux, cofounder of Moonshine Mountain Cookie Company. “Those are the businesses our community comes to, to ask for donations to support their ball teams, their schools, their 5K runs, to all the things they believe in and support. We are here for them.”
Moonshine Mountain saw it’s dark days at the beginning of the pandemic. In March, they saw a 50% decrease in sales. But Maddux says, with the support of the community, sales are picking back up and they’re on track to have a strong holiday season.
The DW designs clothing store in Knoxville used this year’s Small Business Saturday to invite other local online businesses in, giving them a space to sell their products for the day.
“This is how we feed our children, it’s how we pay for the things we have at home,” said co-owner Dan Wilson.
Wilson makes custom Tennessee themed designs and puts them on T-Shirts, stickers, glassware, coasters, mugs, license plates and more. Their brick and mortar store features products such as handmade jewelry, hand-painted folk art and locally made hand-poured candles.
Owners Dawn and Dan say they have been lucky through this pandemic. Online sales picked up tremendously during the lockdown, and they’re even set to open a second location early next year.
The Wilson’s say supporting small businesses creates a larger ripple effect than people realize.
“First and foremost, its your community. It’s where you live,” Dan said.
“You get to put a face with a name and you’re like I’m actually supporting this person, not just this store. We have one full time person that we pay their salary and then we have all of our other staff so this means a lot to them too.”” Dawn said.
A report by Fortune.com in September indicted more than 100,000 small businesses across the country closed as a result of the pandemic, with the fear of others following that trend due to COVID-19’s impact on the country.
As the country continues to rebound, elected officials are also weighing in about the importance of small businesses, including Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee.
You can learn more about Small Business Saturday HERE.