Capitol Hill businesses unite to encourage local shopping

Celebrate small this weekend, tomorrow is Small Business Saturday, but the stores of Capitol Hill are working together to make Christmas shopping all the better for Friday, November 25th through Sunday, November 27th.

As a small business owner, it can often be difficult to compete with large companies. But some small businesses on Capitol Hill have a strategy — to work together.

This year, local business owners launched the Better Together gift card exchange campaign – a way to thank their customers for shopping, eating and drinking locally and supporting their colleagues in the neighborhood. When a guest makes a purchase at one of the participating Capitol Hill businesses* November 25-27, they will receive a $5 gift card to another local business. Each individual company sets its own parameters for gift eligibility.

Participating companies include:

barrel (613 Pennsylvania Ave SE) * Beuchert’s salon (623 Pennsylvania Ave SE) * Capitol Hill Books (657 C St SE) * Craft beer cellar (301 H St. NO) * Crazy Aunt Helen (713 Eighth St. SE) * D’Canter (545 Eighth St SE) * Oststadt bookstore (645 Pennsylvania Ave SE) * fight club (633 Pennsylvania Avenue SE)* Granville Moores (1238 H St. NE) * Groovy DC (321 Seventh Street SE)* mountain restaurant group (Tortuga, Ophelia’s, Box Car, Lolas, Hawk ‘n’ Dove, Stadium) * Hill’s Kitchen (613 D St. SE) * Maze Games and Puzzles (645 Pennsylvania Ave SE) * Mister. Henry’s (601 Pennsylvania Ave SE) * music on the hill (801 D St. NO) * 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 have worked together before. When shops closed early in the pandemic, restaurants stayed open – so Mr Henry offered to use their pick-up window for books, games and toys purchased at East City Books and Labyrinth Puzzles and Games.

Hill business owners and entrepreneurs say they share a common mission – to build and maintain a strong, inclusive Capitol Hill community while maintaining its “small town-in-a-city” feel.

In addition, businesses on Capitol Hill have special events planned for this weekend. On Saturday, Labyrinth is offering free “Gingerbread” crafts, free Labyrinth-branded gifts, a staff Gingerbread House contest, and a gift card exchange with local Capitol Hill stores at Chat’s Liquor offering buy one, get half, or less value on any items not for sale. Little District Books offers free gifts with purchase—spend $50 and get a free pin; Spend $150 get a free bag and pin. Each purchase will be entered into a giveaway to win a curated Mystery Box, Mystery Package or $25 Gift Card. DC Canter invites you to a walk-in tasting on Saturday and Sunday from 1pm to 4pm – you can taste delicious wines from the Italian Piedmont.

Many companies also offer weekend parties. As owner Tony Tomelden of bar The Pug put it, “The weekend after Thanksgiving, we celebrate DC. It’s going to be a shop local weekend.”

“I love our neighborhood and small businesses help make it great. I have 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 each other and show our customers how important they are to our business. We are stronger when we support each other,” said Kathleen Donahue, owner of Labyrinth Games & Puzzles.

There are businesses on the hill that not only source their products from their neighbors, but also raise funds annually and consistently to help vital community groups thrive.

“Small businesses enrich the Capitol Hill community by enthusiastically supporting the public space beautification efforts of Washington, DC’s Guerrilla Gardeners through contributions, promotions and volunteers,” said Jim Guckert, founder and CEO of Guerrilla Gardners.

D’Canter Wine Boutique partners with charities DC Central Kitchen and Martha’s Table to provide development opportunities for the workforce. Other companies 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 runs year-round fundraisers for local schools and teachers and is one of DC’s largest donors 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 they will thrive through continued support of one another and collaboration on programs like Better Together.

The Better Together campaign is sponsored by the Capitol Hill Association of Merchants and Professionals (CHAMPS), Eastern Market Main Street (EMMS) and Barrack’s Row Main Street.