The holiday shopping season has begun. As Black Friday brought in large crowds across the country and across the area, Saturday, the focus shifts to small businesses.
“Shop Small” is the motto of Small Business Saturday. But the pop-up marketplace at 1701 in Virginia Beach felt anything but small.
“It’s fantastic, this is my first stop. I’m looking forward to getting to many more,” says Rita Utz, who came from Chesapeake to check out the event.
1701 is Virginia Beach’s first “co-working space” — where anyone can rent space to work. On Saturday, they opened their doors to 25 vendors and many shoppers from across Hampton Roads.
“You’re able to find unique gifts or unique things that you wouldn’t be able to find anywhere,” says 1701 Co-Founer Lisa DeNoia.
It was their first year hosting this Pop-Up Marketplace. They’re hoping the event, and the space, will help local businesses connect with the community and sustain small businesses in the area.
“Small businesses are kind of the growth engine of the economy. A lot of times they don’t have the opportunities that the big businesses have,” says Jeffrey Werby, the other 1701 co-founder.
“These are your neighbors. These are the people that you live next door to, this is what they do for their livelihood. And there’s also just really, it’s different. There’s something else to offer, it’s not the same thing that you get anywhere else,” Utz says.
1701 partnered with the ViBe Creative district for the pop-up marketplace. They want people to remember that supporting small businesses goes beyond one day of the year.
“Today is fantastic, but many of these businesses are here everyday so don’t forget that. You know today’s sort of a holiday of sorts celebrating small businesses, but they’re here everyday,” says Utz.
Werby and DeNoia say they plan to continue the event in the coming years.