February 26, 2024
Annapolis, US 57 F

Third Midnight Madness or Eleventh Hour to go on as planned THIS Thursday!

This Thursday evening is the final Midnight Madness event of the season. It is also known by many as the Eleventh Hour Shopping night. The stores stay open until 11 pm on December 17 to make it easy for shoppers to enjoy the beautifully decorated downtown Annapolis while shopping.

This late-night shopping night is just one day after the County’s new restrictions take effect against stores and restaurants so occupancy in stores will be limited to 25% and the restaurants will be restricted to just carry out which will include both food and drinks. Under the State Executive order, you can order to-go beer, wine, and liquor beverages from restaurants. Shoppers are asked to wear a mask, social distance, and use a hand sanitizer while visiting.

The 90 downtown Annapolis retailers will be offering a range of great gift ideas including locally made crafts, art, home decor, jewelry, clothing, specialty foods, gift cards, and other unique gift items. Independent stores often seek out unique items that you will not find at the large national big box stores or internet giants of the retail world.  This makes exploring the downtown shops, boutiques, and galleries the perfect place to find special gifts for your family and loved ones. Shoppers will have a festive atmosphere for shopping at their favorite downtown businesses and the 19 new businesses that have opened downtown over the past year. Downtown Annapolis has three Christmas trees, two light canopies, a menorah, snowflake alley, lighted trees, traditional garland, wreaths, and holiday storefront windows that everyone loves to photograph. Restaurants will be offering carryout food, cocktails, and gift cards.

This year has been a challenge for small retailers, restaurants, and other businesses. Unlike the national chains, many small businesses have to sign personal guarantees to their landlords and suppliers. This makes it hard for them to close their business even if there is a negative cash flow. Plus they have had to finance to continually adapt to the safety requirements and other restrictions related to COVID. All of these pressures mount up and currently, there are no government grant programs for retailers. “Truth is if you are not selling food, toilet paper, or home improvement, sales are probably down in retail stores. Retail stores depend on the holidays for their survival,” says Erik Evans of the Downtown Annapolis Partnership. “The downtown Annapolis businesses are really appreciative of all the locals that have continued to shop downtown in-person and online despite the many challenges they may also be facing due to COVID.” A strong next couple of weeks of sales is needed, and grant relief from local and federal governments if we want the many small businesses to remain in business.

The premise of encouraging shopping, dining, and doing business with local businesses is that when people shop local unemployment drops, the local government collects more tax and income tax revenue and business can afford to give back more to the community organizations. When you order from an out-of-area company another city, county or state gets the jobs, tax revenue, and charity donations.  This year all of the areas downtown Annapolis businesses groups are pushing shop local so that everyone in the area can benefit from their survival.

The City and State parking garages downtown including Hillman, Knighton, Gotts Court, and Calvert Street will be free on Thursday evening during the Eleventh Hour shopping night. The Downtown Annapolis Partnership has created a directory on their website of local online stores, local gift cards, and carryout for those that prefer to shop from home or want to plan their local shopping at www.DowntownAnnapolisPartnership.org . Many businesses are also offering orders by phone, curbside pickup, shopping by appointment, and additional evening hours the rest of the week to accommodate local shoppers during COVID.


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