Only in CT: Support Local, Small Businesses from Your Couch

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As we approach the gift giving season, small businesses hope you’ll consider shopping local.

They say your business is a gift to them during these difficult times.

This holiday season, you can check off your gift list and support your community from the comfort of your own home.

Sassy Black Yarns is one of more than 60 small, locally owned businesses that will soon be showcased on the Women’s Business Development Council’s website.

In lieu of a pop-up shop this holiday season, the council is creating a virtual marketplace: a one stop shop that organizers say will surely help support our community.

"When we think about small businesses most of them are owned by women. We’re going to keep people employed, we’re going to keep people in business and we’re going to be contributing to the rich, rich fabric of our state’s downtown Main Streets,” said Women’s Business Development Council CEO Fran Pastore.

“I dye it right here in East Hartford, right in my kitchen,” said Lakisher Hurst, who created Sassy Black Yarns in January.

“It’s not yarn that you would normally see at a big box store.”

The East Hartford resident hand dyes her bright, bold, and creative creations at home after she clocks out of her day job.

NBC Connecticut is bringing you stories of small businesses across the state so you can shop local this holiday season!

“Out of the pandemic, there has to be a gray, silver lining somewhere and who would have thought I would have started a business during a pandemic when everything else around me was shutting down?” she said.

Store owners with an online presence can still apply to take part in the virtual marketplace, while current participants like Hurst prepare for this close-knit shopping experience that will be open to customers later this week.

“For me, to be able to put my own spin on it, and give that to someone who may be stuck in the house for a couple of months, couple of weeks, gives them a little brightness in their, you know, existence."

Like Hurst, Lyndsay Meiklem Dean has had to mold her work around pandemic precautions.

But the so-called vegan potter has stayed positive.

“It’s been 25-years and I’m still just as excited about making pots as I was in the very beginning," Dean said.

Dean’s functional and eye-popping pottery will also soon be for sale on the  virtual marketplace.

 “I want it to be on people’s tables. I want people to be serving food out of it,” said Dean.

“I really want to say we are all in this together and use that same energy and let’s support women-owned and all small businesses right now,” said Pastore.

"When you keep your money local, you’re supporting your own community and when your community thrives that sort of gets passed along," said Dean.

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