After nearly two years of COVID-19, the Salem businesses move forward

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American Express founded the Small Business Saturday shopping day in 2010 — a quieter, locally-based antithesis to the corporate spend-fest of Black Friday. 

It’s a celebration of another year of surviving the economic downturn, connecting to the community and giving back. 

Highlights

  • ‘Saving small organic family farms’:Organic Valley rebuilding McMinnville creamery

  • Millions have supported the holiday in years past by buying their holiday gifts from small businesses and dining out in local restaurants. 

This year, businesses are cautiously returning to more events and celebrations.

Last year, Small Business Saturday coincided with the two-week freeze in Oregon placed to stem the rise in COVID-19 cases. Restaurants were limited to delivery and take-out only, and retail stores were given capacity limits and still required to enforce mask mandates and distancing measures. 

Longtime business marks 30th year

The Arbor gift shop on 367 State St. is celebrating its 30th year in downtown Salem. 

The store sells wine made from grapes at Miller’s local La Chouette vineyard and olive oil made from olives grown at Redding’s grove outside Salem. They also sell Christmas ornaments, decorations, gift baskets, and bath and body items.  It opened in 1991 as a cafe and gift shop. Marni Redding and Michelle Miller took over ownership in 2019 and the previous owners retired. Redding said she had long thought about opening a shop but waited until her children grew up before committing to the business. 

Months after taking over, the pandemic swept through Oregon. Redding and Miller closed The Arbor for several months. “It was sad because we just had gotten our gift shop kind of where we wanted it to be,” Redding said. “I’d come in and water my plants and just sit in the shop and think, ‘Oh, it’s like I’m all dressed up with nowhere to go’.”

They offered curbside pick-up, stayed in touch with customers and weathered the worst of the lockdown.  “We feel like Salem is really supporting small businesses and we’re doing really well,” Redding said. 

Redding said they wanted to mark the 30th anniversary with a celebration but shied away from having a big party in light of the pandemic.  Instead, they are marking the Thanksgiving shopping weekend and Small Business Saturday by offering festive decorations like bottle brush trees and colorful ball ornaments and entering customers into a raffle for a gift basket stocked full of goods sold at the store. 

They are now heading into the holiday season with fully-stocked shelves. Redding said she was able to overcome current supply-chain issues because she proactively stocked up on items in January.  Support local journalism: Stay up on city and business news. Become a Statesman Journal subscriber and get unlimited digital access to stories that matter.