Shop Local on Small Business Saturday!

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High Street in Chestertown – She, She apparel and gift shop

The Holiday and Christmas Season begins this weekend in downtown Chestertown — and it’s a great chance to find a special gift while supporting your local small businesses and enjoying the holiday spirit.  This Saturday, November 25, is national Small Business Day, when people are asked to support their local communities by buying local.  It’s a perfect follow-up — and a nice contrast to — the day before, Black Friday, when all the national chains and big box stores have their first big holiday sales.

Arrival of Santa Claus and Elves in the 2016 Chestertown Christmas Parade.

Here in Chestertown, the season kicks off Friday night with Santa’s arrival at Fountain Park, where he will greet visitors in his house throughout the season. The Kent County Community Marching Band, Rudolph, Olaf the Snowman, even the Grinch will be there to welcome Santa! The marching band will perform holiday favorites beginning at 6:30 p.m., and Mayor Chris Cerino will turn on the lights in the Historic Downtown district.  The Chestertown Volunteer Fire Department will deliver Santa to town in style. A favorite event for kids of all ages!

Saturday begins with another great tradition, the annual Christmas parade at 10 a.m. on High Street, featuring marching bands, fire trucks, classic cars, floats, and of course, Santa! Bring the whole family to enjoy this holiday tradition. The parade begins at Dixon Drive and follows High Street to Queen Street, a block past Fountain Park.

After the parade, you can get a jump start on your holiday shopping and support local independent businesses. Many of the member businesses of the Downtown Chestertown Association have invested in the community through volunteerism, community events, and charitable giving. When you shop in these independently owned boutiques, galleries, and stores, you’ll find unique gifts, generous sales, and genuine appreciation for your business.

For more shopping fun – be sure to pick up a local “shopping passport” created by local businesses and filled with special offers. Then get your Passport stamped at each participating merchant that you visit.  Submit the stamped passport for a chance to win fantastic prizes.

Another option for gifts with a local slant is the “Spend Local, Stay Local” gift card from Chesapeake Bank and Trust. The bank has partnered with about 50 local businesses to create a “local” gift card. Available in any amount from $25 up, the card can be used at any business that accepts Discover Card. Glenn L. Wilson, President of the bank, said on Wednesday that since the program began in 2011, more than 3,000 cards have been purchased, with total sales of nearly $100,000 — with most of that staying in the local community, supporting the merchants of Chestertown and Kent County.

Glenn Wilson, President & CEO of Chesapeake Bank, and Russell Gertsch hold a copy of the bank’s local gift card, good for around 50 local businesses plus any store that accepts Discover Card.

Wilson said that the program, created by Chesapapeake employee, Kristen Owen, is one of the ways the bank can give back to the community.  It’s not a money-maker for us, Wilson said.  But it’s something that the bank can do to help make the community stronger, and that, of course, helps everybody. Among the local businesses in the program are Aqua Fit, Twigs and Teacups, Hegland Glass, and the Garfield Center for the Arts.  The list covers almost every category of business from apparel — Dockside Emporium, Empty Hangers Consignment, and Mimi’s Closet — to home construction and repair — JBK Hardware, Chestertown Lumber, and Rock Hall Lumber. Restaurants and groceries  are also on the list , including Evergrain Bread Company, Chestertown River Wine & Cheese, Luisa’s Cucina Italiana, JR’s Past time Pub, the Fish Whistle, and Bayside Foods in Rock Hall. A complete list of participating merchants is on the bank’s website.

To purchase the “Spend Local, Stay Local” card, call 410-778-16– or email spendlocal@chesapeaketrust.com or just come into the bank.  There is no fee for gift cards $50 and over.  For cards under $50, there is a $1.00 processing fee.

However you do it, please remember to support your neighbors, your community, and your local economy by shopping locally when possible.

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