Lexington Park, MD – Although Small Business Saturday has already passed (November 24th), there is ample opportunity and reason to continue to shop local through the holiday season. When you shop local, you are ensuring the longevity of your community’s small businesses. Your dollars spent shopping local typically remain in the local economy. Often, the products and services at local, small businesses are much more unique, rather than being part of the carbon-copy society that can be witnesses in most of the country. Shopping local can encourage more jobs and better wages for your community. It also contributes to healthy competition, ensuring lower prices for longer periods of time. Remember: the folks running these small businesses are counting on you, and they are your neighbors.

Rich Fleming, the CEO of the St.  Mary’s County Chamber of Commerce, provided some approximate numbers to account for the makeup of St. Mary’s County businesses. First, he remarked on the basis of what is considered a small business. In the past, a business with 10 or fewer employees was considered a small business. Now, since the Sick Leave Act, it has been slightly increased to those businesses with 15 or fewer employees; this is the new standard. Mr. Fleming estimates that there are about 2,000 businesses in St. Mary’s County. Out of those 2,000, about 460 are members of the Chamber. He believes anywhere from 70-80% (depending on which employee count you are using to determine your percentage) of these members are small businesses. He did mention that a large portion of the county consists of government and contractor employees which belong to Patuxent River. Mr. Fleming also mentioned that non-profit organizations are not considered businesses, but the majority of non-profits have 15 or less employees.

TheBayNet encourages everybody to continue the shop local movement through the end of 2018 (and beyond). If you’re doing your holiday shopping these next couple of weeks, rather than online shopping or quick trips to your big box retailers, do a bit of research in to local, small businesses that might have a more specialized product or service than what you were originally picturing. Even a gift card purchase, which most places offer nowadays, will significantly help your mom & pop businesses. As well, a gift card purchase can curate a long-time customer for these small businesses.

Throughout the month, TheBayNet will be featuring local merchants on our Shop Local page. These are businesses we feel offer incredible products and services to the Southern Maryland people, and above all else are reliable members of our community. Here are a few examples of outstanding businesses that we appreciate:

Kris Kringle Christmas Market

Pam’s Hallmark

SideTrack Hobbies


Tri County Hearth and Patio

Rod ‘N’ Reel Resort

St. Mary’s Museums


Calvert Marine Museum


We Make Kids Smile

Great Mills Trading Post

Ward’s Marine

Dairy Queen

State Farm – Phil Riehl

Choice Floor Center

Schneider Orthodontics

Dyson Building Center

Mattingley Gardiner Funeral Home

Fatemi Family Dentistry

St. Mary’s County Chamber of Commerce

Shepherd’s Old Field Market

Fenwick Street Used Books & Music