Small Business Saturday at Home and in Nature’s Mountain Playground
Here in America, we love a good marketing campaign. At the risk of dating myself, how many of you remember the iconic 1980s catchphrase “Where’s the Beef?” Those famous three words were first spoken into television fame by 81-year-old, 4-foot 10-inch tall, Clara Peller in a 1984 Wendy’s commercial. The Wendy’s campaign was taking aim at their competitors, McDonald’s and Burger King while allowing Wendy’s to tout the fact that their burgers were made with more beef than either the Big Mac or the Whopper. The ad was a huge success. It spawned further commercials featuring Peller and gave birth to merchandise ranging from bumper stickers to t-shirts as well as generating a 31% increase in Wendy’s annual revenue. As I said, America loves a good marketing campaign. Well, except maybe New Coke – but I digress.
I usually tend to view marketing campaigns with a bit of a suspicious eye. For example, if my favorite brand of cat litter is suddenly marketed as “New and Improved” I’m left asking, “Was it old and inferior before?” “Will Mr. Whiskers truly be happy with the improvements?” (Probably not – it’s a cat after all). But over the years my cynical outlook has, on occasion, been proven wrong. And one marketing campaign I can wholeheartedly endorse is Small Business Saturday. Established in 2010 by American Express, Small Business Saturday is all about supporting and celebrating small businesses throughout the United States. Set aside each year on the Saturday after Thanksgiving (right between Black Friday and Cyber Monday), this special day was conceived to inspire holiday shoppers to get out and support their local retail stores, shops, restaurants, or whatever other kinds of small businesses are a part of their community. As a kid, I grew up working in my parent’s small retail store and I know first-hand the long, hard hours that go into running your own business; that’s why I’m a supporter of this marketing campaign. Small businesses are the backbone of our country. People pour their lives into these businesses, and they should be celebrated and supported. And of course, while we here in Pocahontas County encourage you to shop local wherever home is for you, we would also love to share our shops, restaurants, and galleries with you the next time you find yourself in Nature’s Mountain Playground.
While we work very hard to promote Pocahontas County, West Virginia as a year-long, outdoor recreation destination, we don’t want to forget the great selection of locally-owned shops, galleries, and restaurants available – just waiting to be enjoyed by locals and visitors alike. What could be better this holiday gift-buying season than taking in the sights of Nature’s Mountain Playground while picking up some unique Christmas gifts for family and friends? If you’re looking for that one-of-a-kind, made-in-West Virginia item, be sure to check out the Pocahontas County Artisan Co-op. With galleries in Marlinton and Cass, the Co-op is made up of member artists and craftspeople working in multiple mediums. From woodworking, jewelry, paintings, to locally sourced jams and jellies, the Co-op is one of those West Virginia small businesses that always has something truly unique to offer. And if an art purchase is your goal this season, be sure to check out the Durbin Art Gallery in Durbin or the Art in Green Bank Gallery in Green Bank for a locally created masterpiece.
Many of our destination attractions like Snowshoe Mountain Resort, Cass Scenic Railroad State Park, and Watoga State Park, feature small gift shops, offering that special memento of a past visit to Nature’s Mountain Playground. Be sure to pay a visit to the shops in The Village at Snowshoe, the Cass Company Store in Cass, or the gift shop at Watoga State Park to find those unique reminders and keepsakes.
If you’re shopping for hunters or anglers this holiday season and want to help support small businesses in Pocahontas County, you won’t want to miss an opportunity to visit Appalachian Sport and The Men’s Shop both in Marlinton. Whether you’re looking for hunting or fishing supplies, Appalachian Sport has just about everything you could need for the outdoor enthusiast on your shopping list. And to make sure those loved ones weathering the elements are suited up with the best of rugged outdoor clothing and footwear, The Men’s Shop has got you covered (er, got them covered – you get the idea).
Buying for a quilter this Christmas? A quick visit to Sunflower Fabric in Hillsboro should definitely be on your to-do list for quilting fabrics, ideas and accessories. For those of you that enjoy a treasure hunting vibe to your shopping, and are buying for antique buffs and nick-knack lovers, take advantage of the 4th Avenue Mason Jar Trading Post and The Cackling Hens, both located in Marlinton. The Mason Jar offers handmade furniture, antiques, and rustic décor items, while The Cackling Hens is a resale/consignment shop, featuring a variety of gems such as clothing, household goods and furnishings, furniture, jewelry, and collectibles. Both of these locally owned businesses are full of charm and promise the hunt will be as rewarding as the purchase.
Don’t forget while you’re out shopping and supporting those locally owned businesses to take some time and refuel at a locally owned restaurant. We sometimes forget, as we rush around in a frantic search for that perfect gift, our local restaurants are just as vital as our retail shops and need our support as well. Here in Pocahontas County, there is no shortage of great places to find a good meal. Now, by no means is this a complete list of locally-owned restaurants and cafes in Nature’s Mountain Playground. Instead, these are just a few locally owned eateries that serve as a good place to begin your search in discovering and supporting our locally-owned restaurants. Be sure to check out the Facebook page of each of these restaurants:
Dean’s Den in Frost
The Dirt Bean in Marlinton
The Levels Depot in Hillsboro
Mim’s Kitchen in Marlinton
Rayetta’s Lunchbox in Marlinton
S&D Diner in Marlinton
Station 2 Restaurant in Durbin
I see know no way to possibly list every locally owned business here in Nature’s Mountain Playground. Instead, I’ve tried to give you a sampling of what we have to offer and invite you to pay us a visit and discover these and other small businesses for yourself. After all, the discovery of the unexpected and new is the best part of travel. So this holiday shopping season I encourage you to take part in one worthwhile marketing campaign – Small Business Saturday. And wherever you call home, shop local and shop small there, first. Then we invite you to shop in Pocahontas County, West Virginia. We believe there are treasures here to be found and we can’t wait to share them with you.
Authors note: Small Business Saturday, 2021, is November 27. As I completed this blog, I realized its posting may not correspond with that date as well as I had hoped. So, in an effort to redeem myself, I ask that you allow my poor time management skills to help serve as a reminder to all of us, that shopping locally does not have to be relegated to just one day a year. We can and should shop locally as often as possible and do our part to support those small businesses in our community and beyond.