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National Harbor Celebrates Small Businesses on Saturday, November 27
Free parking from noon to 6 p.m. on Shop Small Business Saturday

National Harbor

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. (Nov. 16, 2021)—National Harbor has become known for its unique, boutique shops. It also has a large number of women and minority owned small businesses. On Shop Small Business Saturday, National Harbor will celebrate these entrepreneurs by offering free parking in the garages and parking lots to the public from noon to 6 p.m.

“National Harbor has long been known for its great mix of unique boutiques and national brands,” said Deborah Topcik, director of marketing at National Harbor. “We love small businesses and our location has become a great spot for many entrepreneurs to launch highly successful retail and business concepts.”

The Waterfront District at National Harbor has more than 70 retailers and restaurants. Convenient parking and walkable streets make it an ideal destination for easy access to restaurants and holiday shopping. Here are some highlights of some of the unique shops, please visit  to see the larger list of shopping options.

Brackish Waters (178 Waterfront St.) is a locally owned surf lifestyle store focusing on everyday apparel, accessories and footwear in addition to skate and surf boards.

BrookieGirl Bath + Body Care (145 Waterfront St.) is owned by veterans Shawn and Bobby Hand who created their own skincare products when they learned that their daughter was allergic to some skin care brands.

Corinto Gallery (131 American Way) is an art gallery and boutique in one, featuring unique DMV inspired creations from Artist, Josue Martinez, a multi-media artist who has made his art accessible for all by creating a Corinto Gallery clothing and accessory line as well. You can find clothing for and accessories for the whole family including the family pets!

Crystal Café by Faith 2 Felicity (164 Waterfront St.) is a bracelet boutique with the motto, “feel good, do good.” It offers a wide array of bracelets for men and women including some with daily inspiration. The store allows customers to hand select from a vast collection of crystal beads and natural gem stones to design their own custom jewelry.

MahoganyBooks (121 American Way) Opened this year at National Harbor, this is the second location for this bookstore in the D.C. region. The store specializes in books written for, by or about people of the African Diaspora. It was featured last February on the Today Show after being surprised by President Barack Obama during the store’s virtual book club meeting.

Messy Treatz (185 Waterfront St.) Started as way for the owner to spend more quality time with her daughters doing something they love—baking. They offer a wide variety of desserts from cupcakes to pie sticks.

The Furlough Cheesecake (170 American Way) was started by two sisters after the federal government shutdown of 2019 when they found themselves furloughed. They started baking cheesecakes out of their homes and their customer base exploded. In 2020 (during the pandemic,) they opened a store in National Harbor and gave more than 5,000 cheesecakes away to area healthcare workers.

ZAAF (189 Waterfront St.) is a premium lifestyle brand with goods made entirely in Africa. Items include beautiful high-end handbags, scarves, shoes and other accessories. It’s a store that is truly unique and is helping artisans across Africa in a demonstration of social responsibility.

Abai Schulze is the Founder and Creative Director of ZAAF. Her life journey has taken her from an orphanage in Addis Ababa to the United States and the rest of the world. Abai is committed to using her academic background in economics and fine arts from her alma mater George Washington University to create unique and practical expressions of beauty.

These stores join other popular locations including Muse Paintbar, America!, Alex and Ani, A Beautiful Closet, Ben & Jerry’s, Build-A-Bear Workshop, Carhartt, Cariloha Bamboo, Comfort One Shoes, Community Love, Corinto Gallery, Del Sol Color Change, Georgetown Olive Oil, Girlkin Lashes, House of Jonlei Atelier, Miguel Wilson, New York New York, Panda Tea House, Pepper Palace, Potomac Gourmet Market, Roll by Goodyear, Savannah’s Candy Kitchen, plus another 85 brand names at Tanger Outlets and more boutique shops at MGM National Harbor. And, there are more than 30 restaurants!

For more information on National Harbor, visit





Retailers Predicting Highest Sales on Record for 2021 Holiday Season

Maryland Retailers Association

Annapolis, Md. (Nov. 12, 2021)—Retail holiday sales in 2021 are expected to increase between 8.5–10% over the 2020 holiday season according to the National Retail Federation. Since 2009, sales in the industry have grown each year with the high reaching 8.2% in 2020 over 2019. Despite the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic and many factors influencing economic unease such as supply chain issues, rising inflation, workforce shortages, and rising costs, consumer demand will be at the highest level ever. This is largely impacted by consumers spending less on travel, experiences, and dining out during the pandemic. Online sales are also projected to increase between 11–15% again as consumers are growing more accustomed to digital channels.

“Although online sales continue to boom and are a huge part of holiday shopping, brick and mortar is doing well,” said Cailey Locklair, President of the Maryland Retailers Association.  “Consumers should be reminded to support local stores as much as possible as they impact our communities with jobs and tax revenue to support the things we all care about.”

Consumer spending will continue to increase with a projected average of $1,463 spent on holiday gifts, décor, and other items. Clothing and accessories, electronics, and gift cards are slated to be the highest spend categories this holiday season. Additionally, data from NRF’s consumer survey showed that a majority of consumers plan to spend for the holidays online and with mass merchants. Independent stores followed with off-price stores closely behind.

For the past couple of years, businesses across Maryland were cautiously optimistic about the holiday season. However, the majority of our members felt they would have strong holiday seasons this year when surveyed. Many retailers are banking on higher consumer traffic on exclusive sales and options to buy online and ship to their stores for pick-up as well as personalized, in-store experiences that cannot be replicated via online shopping. Top concerns cited by our members included supply chain issues and weather.

“Digital shopping is undoubtedly here to stay, but in-store shopping will regain some lost ground this season,” said Ms. Locklair.  “As concerns with the pandemic have eased, the seven-year low we saw at brick-and-mortar stores during the season last year will reverse.  However, consumers prefer delivery to all shopping methods and will look to the internet for inspiration and research.”

MRA’s holiday forecast is based on member surveys in conjunction with a review of the National Retail Federation’s holiday forecast, consumer trends, and historical retail sales data.




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