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Small Shops Saturday

Small Business Saturday takes on a whole new meaning in 2020 since the pandemic has left many small businesses struggling to keep their doors open.

With many of their events cancelled this year, Bottle Works Ethnic Arts Center in Johnstown kicked off their Merry Maker’s Mart just in time for Saturday.

Organizers say the event, running until December 23rd, will give local artists with small businesses a chance to sell their work.

Caitlin Vinner of Johnstown set up her shop, called “Cait Creates,” at the Merry Maker’s Mart Saturday to sell her pour paintings.

“I started doing this type of painting at the end of last year as a way to kick the winter blues and find a new hobby,” she says.

Although, the pandemic has made her hobby turned small business difficult.

“They haven’t sold as quickly as they would, or to the amount of people they would,” she says.

Caitlin says she’s hoping that displaying her work at Bottle Works over the holiday season will increase her business.

“This is the perfect event to have. It’s Small Business Saturday, so not only would we be supporting Bottle Works, but we’d also be supporting the local vendors here,” she says.

The Bottle Works usually hosts a big event for Small Business Saturday each year, but it was cancelled over pandemic concerns.

Matthew Lamb, Creative Director at Bottle Works, says they’re glad they can still hold this small-scale holiday event throughout the season to support local vendors.

“We have a unique opportunity, because we have a building with enough space where we can social distance, and we can still allow artists to get their work out in front of the community,” said Matthew.

He says this will give artists with small businesses a chance to make up for lost time.

“The pandemic has really hit a lot of us hard, but I think that Bottle Works being able to do this event will bring in a lot of business hopefully to them – and all of us vendors individually. I think this is a really great opportunity, and fingers crossed that we get a good result,” Caitlin said.

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