Businesses adjust to ‘Small Business Saturday’ amid COVID-19 pandemic

“It’s so important this year and every year, but this year more than ever. Small businesses are struggling. Everybody’s struggling.”

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Americans across the country spent Saturday at some of their local coffee shops and favorite boutiques for “Small Business Saturday.”

“Small Business Saturday” usually means crowded local shops and people ready to get some of their holiday shopping in. 

RELATED: Locals gear up for Small Business Saturday after taking huge financial hit during pandemic

While this year things may look a tad different, local business owner Kendall Sandifer said this day is more important now than ever before.

“It is so important this year and every year, but this year more than ever. Small businesses are struggling. Everybody’s struggling,” she said.

The American shopping holiday that falls every year the Saturday after Thanksgiving holds a whole new meaning in 2020, according to local business owner Brandy McNair.

“Any small business is going to great lengths right now to keep their doors open because of COVID,” she said. 

Going to great lengths for McNair’s store, Bella Vita Jewelry in Little Rock, means normal “Small Business Saturday” traditions had to be altered.

“We always go all out and do coffee, free coffee, sometimes we do mimosas, we do giveaways and free gifts and stuff, but we’ve really scaled back on that this year,” she said. 

Instead of treats and free goodies, it was temperature checks, hand sanitizer, mandatory masks, and a limit of ten people in the store at once. 

McNair even hired extra staff for the day to make sure the environment was as safe as possible.

“We’ll have someone kind of stationed at the door, stationed at the register, and then we do a lot of custom jewelry and stuff, so we’ll have people helping put together orders” she said. 

Down the street at Fringe Clothing in the River Market District, a few COVID-19 protocols were tweaked for the holiday shopping weekend. 

While masks and social distancing were always required, owner Kendall Sandifer said to keep flow moving, they had to close their dressing rooms.

“It was a hard decision to make and one that I’m really not a fan of, but we just didn’t have a choice,” she said. 

RELATED: Arkansas small businesses focus on safety for Black Friday shoppers

Sandifer described small businesses as the “heartbeat of the community,” while she reminds everyone to shop local.

“Our small businesses make Little Rock cool. Let’s support them. It’s so important,” she said.