Friday, November 25, 2022

Thinking Big/Shopping Small

Since yesterday’s post was more “free form” than usual, let’s go local today.

This Saturday is Small Business Saturday. The event was created in 2010 by American Express to encourage people to do more of their holiday shopping at small businesses. Often when people in Columbia/HoCo think of Small Business Saturday they think of Main Street in Old Ellicott City. And there is certainly some great shopping to be done there.

Today I’d like to turn your attention to an event at The 3rd at the Lakefront.

From the event page:

Small Business Saturday is a national event that kicks off the holiday shopping season, showcases the power of small businesses, and supports the “buy local” movement!

We will open our doors to the community for a day of fun and shopping!

All vendors are members of The 3rd and women of color-owned product and service-based businesses.

There will be a variety of unique, handcrafted items on sale, as well as delicious food items in our café. Attendee's can also sign up for a 'Make your own Sugar Scrub' workshop, hosted by Queen's Temple Handmade Artisan Soaps and a 'Get Organized for the Holidays' demo hosted by Tidy Milso, as well as personal chair massages from LBH Therapeutic Massage

We will be collecting feminine products to support our partner, The Women's Giving Circle of Howard County, and their feminine products drive in a continued effort to support women and girls in Howard County. All products go to The HoCo Food Bank, Columbia Community Cares and other local food pantries. Look out for the pink bin. Let's fill it a couple of times over!

Register at Eventbrite for your free ticket to Shop Small 2022 at The 3rd. If you can’t make it this Saturday, mark your calendar for December 17th, when The 3rd is hosting their second (annual?) Christmas Bazaar, from 1 - 5 pm.  I should warn you: when I went last year I ended up buying a present for myself. Totally worth it, though. (Heads up: YOLO Health and Wellness will be at the Small Business Saturday event tomorrow.)

When I went last year, I came away with these thoughts. (The Bright Spot, December 13, 2021) 

First and foremost, The 3rd is intended to serve as an incubator space for businesses owned by women of color. But it seems to me that supporting ongoing initiatives at The 3rd will also be a way we can show strong support for a Lakefront that is alive with people and businesses and things to do. 

What can we do? It’s pretty simple. We can show up when they have an event. We can tell friends, family, and coworkers what The 3rd is all about. We can commit to spending money to support these Black-owned businesses. 

The 3rd presents us with an opportunity to rethink which businesses we support, how we spend our money, when we’re willing to show up and be a part of things, how we use spaces like the Lakefront. Maybe even who we are as a community.

Aside from special events like Small Business Saturday and their Christmas Bazaar, there’s especially big news that not everyone has heard yet: 

Image from The 3rd on Instagram

The 3rd Downtown Columbia Lakefront Community CoWorking and Cafe Space is now open Tuesday-Sunday 9am-4pm. That means that anyone can drop in, get coffee, meet friends, grab something to eat, get some work done, have a cup of tea and read a book…

This means you. Make a date to stop by and enjoy the new space. When a friend asks “Is there any great place to get coffee downtown that isn’t a chain?” then you can fill them in. The 3rd’s business model is a perfect mix of both/and. It’s “a mixed-use community hub that provides a gathering place for the entire community while showcasing and incubating WOC owned businesses.” 

Remember when I wrote about the two women in the Howard County Tourism advert? 

The ideal location for them to get coffee is at The Third. But they may not know it yet. You can tell them. You can be them.

Woukd you like to see new life at the Lakefront? You just need to put your money where your mouth is.

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