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Small Business Saturday expands in Vermont village

(WCAX)
Published: Nov. 24, 2018 at 5:09 PM EST
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After the rush of Black Friday deals, people around the country stopped by local businesses on Saturday.

Francesca D'Elia, of Jeffersonville, embraced the small business world, when she started her own business, Homegrown Jewelry, as a sophomore in high school.

"It started as a hobby and now it's really sort of taken over," D'Elia said.

Running a small business has its challenges. It can be tough to participate in events like Small Business Saturday when you don't have a physical storefront. Some businesses live online in shops like Etsy or on social media platforms.

"Often times with Black Friday and Cyber Monday, these are the businesses that are overlooked, especially in small towns like Jeffersonville," D'Elia said.

Last year, she decided to team up with Jane Shaw at Visions of Fine Art Galleries to host an Artisan Market. It gave seven artists a chance to show off their work on Small Business Saturday.

"We had just about the whole town, we like to joke, showed up," D'Elia said.

This year, D'Elia and Shaw expanded the Cambridge Small Business Saturday Festival to include nine area businesses and six artisans.

Eryk Tomlinson, owner of Dfom, was grateful for the opportunity to meet customers face to face.

"I saw Eryk's Instagram post, and it was close which was nice. Because sometimes you see really cool stuff that's not so close," shopper Stephen Webb said.

The festival is a success even if shoppers do not buy items right away. D'Elia said it's about making lasting connections.

"When they're thinking I need to get a Christmas present or I need to get eggs or bread or something, they are more likely to go to the farm store down the road where Jen has fresh eggs," D'Elia said. "Jeffersonville is really it's own special place."

It may not be New York City, Boston, or even Church Street in Burlington, but D'Elia is determined to help "homegrown" businesses, just like her own.

Shaw and D'Elia are already planning for next year, hoping to recruit more businesses for the festival.