Celebrate small this weekend, It’s Small Business Saturday tomorrow, but the shops of Capitol Hill are working together to make holiday shopping better all around starting Friday, Nov. 25 through Sunday Nov. 27.
As a small business owner, it can often feel hard to compete with large corporations. But, some Capitol Hill small businesses have a strategy – to work collaboratively.
This year, local business owners have launched the “Better Together” gift card exchange promotion – a way to thank their customers for shopping, eating, and drinking small and local, and to support their fellow neighborhood businesses. From November 25th to the 27th, when a guest makes a purchase at one of the participating Capitol Hill businesses*, they will be given a $5 gift card to another local business. Each individual business will establish their own parameters for gift eligibility.
Participating Businesses include:
Barrel (613 Pennsylvania Ave. SE) * Beuchert’s Saloon (623 Pennsylvania Ave. SE) * Capitol Hill Books (657 C St. SE) * Craft Beer Cellar (301 H St. NE) * Crazy Aunt Helen’s (713 Eighth St. SE) * D’Canter (545 Eighth St. SE) * East City Bookshop (645 Pennsylvania Ave. SE) * Fight Club (633 Pennsylvania Ave. SE)* Granville Moore’s (1238 H St. NE) * Groovy DC (321 Seventh St. SE)* Hill Restaurant Group (Tortuga, Ophelia’s, Box Car, Lola’s, Hawk ‘n’ Dove, Stadium) * Hill’s Kitchen (613 D St. SE) * Labyrinth Games & Puzzles (645 Pennsylvania Ave. SE) * Mr. Henry’s (601 Pennsylvania Ave. SE) * Music on the Hill (801 D St. NE) * Queen Vic Pub (1206 H St. NE) * Spotted Fish Digital (online) * The DC Dentist (509 11th St. SE) * The Pug (1234 H St. NE).
They’ve collaborated before. When shops closed at the start of the pandemic, restaurants remained open –so Mr. Henry’s offered to use their pick up window for books, games and toys purchased from East City Books and Labyrinth Puzzles and Games.
Hill business owners and entrepreneurs say they share a common mission – building and maintaining a strong, inclusive Capitol Hill community while preserving its “small-town-in-the-city” feel.
Additionally, shops on Capitol Hill have planned special events for this weekend. On Saturday, Labyrinth is offering free “gingerbread” crafts, free Labyrinth brand swag, a Staff Gingerbread House Battle, and a gift card exchange with local Capitol Hill Businesses At Chat’s Liquor, thhey’re offering buy one get one half off equal or less value on any items not on sale. Little District Books is offering gifts with purchase –if you spend $50, you get a free pin; spend $150, get a free tote and pin. Every purchase is entered into a giveaway to win a curated surprise box, a surprise swag pack, or a $25 gift card. DC Canter is having a walk-in tasting Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m. –you can try delicious wines from Italy’s Piedmont.
Many businesses are also offering weekend-long festivities. As the owner, Tony Tomelden from The Pug bar put it, “The weekend after Thanksgiving, we’re celebrating DC. It’s gonna be a shop-local weekend.”
“I love our neighborhood and small businesses help make it great. I reached out to the members of CHAMPS, Eastern Market Main Street and Barrack’s Row Main Street. We all wanted to come together to support one another and show our customers how important they are in keeping us in business. We are stronger when we support each other,” said Kathleen Donahue, owner of Labyrinth Games & Puzzles.
There are businesses on the Hill not only source their products from their neighbors but also annually and consistently raise funds to help vital community groups thrive.
“Small businesses enhance the Capitol Hill community by enthusiastically supporting the public space beautification efforts of Guerrilla Gardeners of Washington, DC through contributions, promotions, and volunteers,” says Jim Guckert, founder and executive director of Guerilla Gardners.
D’Canter Wine Boutique works with DC Central Kitchen and Martha’s Table charities to provide work-force development opportunities. Other businesses sponsor neighborhood Little League teams, veterans’ groups, school marching bands, and local teachers. Music on the Hill collects used instruments to donate to veterans. Labyrinth Games & Puzzles has fundraisers for local schools and teachers all year long and is one of the largest DC-area contributors to Toys for Tots each holiday season.
After more than two years of digging deep to stay relevant during the pandemic, Capitol Hill entrepreneurs know that continued support of each other and collaborating on programs like Better Together is how they’ll thrive.
The Better Together promotion is sponsored by The Capitol Hill Association of Merchants and Professionals (CHAMPS), Eastern Market Main Street (EMMS), and Barrack’s Row Main Street.