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‘Live Love Local’ London Downtown helps local shops on Small Business Saturday

Published: Nov. 28, 2020 at 4:24 PM EST
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LONDON, Ky. (WYMT) - Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, small businesses have been hit hard, which made Small Business Saturday more important than in years past.

“Small businesses are the backbone of London and Laurel County as well as small towns and communities across America and Kentucky,” said Daniel Carmack, a London City Council Member.

To help local shops, London Downtown began ‘Live Love Local’. Through a partnership with First National Bank Manchester, they bought 13 gift cards worth $25 each to local retail stores and restaurants.

“That’s what it is, is an investment back into your community. It builds your city, it builds your town and again it supports your neighbor so go out and do it,” Carmack said.

People could register to win the gift cards on social media, and they gave them away every 30 minutes from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.

“Trying to promote people to go to these businesses and spend your hard-earned money there in those stores,” said Carmack.

They also sold t-shirts to raise money for the Love Local fund, which will support locally owned businesses struggling due to COVID-19.

Jon Oliver, owner of Silver Spoon Formals and Dogwood Market says it has been a tough year.

“Most retailers will tell you if they don’t have a good Christmas they don’t have a good year and in formal wear, if you don’t have a good prom you don’t have a good year so it was a tough year to shut down for two months during prom,” said Oliver.

Saturday, Oliver hosted a Christmas Open House with the theme, Make it Memorable. Oliver hopes the community will support them, as they have supported the community for 23 years.

“Amazon isn’t buying your kid’s uniform or helping a kid go to band camp, so small businesses are what’s helping that,” said Oliver.

At Creekside Gardens, manager Jason Sproles says his business has grown through COVID-19, but he knows other people have struggled, so he opened his property to about one dozen vendors for the busy shopping weekend.

“There’s been a lot of cancellations this year all of them will tell you that that the ones they’ve had planned that they normally do annually is no longer happening so they’re very fortunate very grateful to come out somewhere like this and do it,” said Sproles.

One of the vendors, Shanna Vidal started her business, Nerdz with Lazerz right before the pandemic began.

“Our plan was to start doing festivals and craft shows unfortunately with the pandemic they’ve been mostly closed down but we were lucky enough to be able to get into this one and everyone is distancing and being safe,” Vidal said.

She said it has been financially difficult and the business is surviving with online orders.

“Luckily we’ve been able to sustain ourselves enough to not have to take it out of our own pockets and the business has been able to sustain itself,” she said.

London Downtown is also promoting the #2424londonky challenge. They are asking people to shop local from November 24 through December 24 and post a photo of their purchase. Everyone who participates will be entered to win a $100 gift card to a local business.

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