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'This is the time to support them' | DC holiday market highlights small businesses

The 16th annual Downtown Holiday Market runs until December 23

WASHINGTON — COVID-19 hurt businesses across the country but small businesses took an especially hard hit.

Now there's a place in D.C. where you can help them as you do your holiday shopping.

The Downtown Holiday Market features more than 70 local small businesses selling food, crafts, and gifts. They're perfect for stocking stuffers or bigger presents.

With COVID-19 cases rising across the region, organizers revamped the format of the market to make it safer for shoppers. Everyone is asked to wear a face mask, hand sanitizer stations are available to the public, and the entire event is outdoors.

The live music of the past had to be scrapped for safety, but a big screen features taped performances and speakers pipe the music across the market. There's even an artificial snowmaker.

It's the holiday market's 16th year, but organizer Mike Berman says for small businesses, this time it's more important than ever.

The holiday shopping period is a crucial time for small businesses--often determining whether they make a profit for the year or not. Stiff competition from online retailers and big box stores, coupled with the challenges of the pandemic, will make that tough for some small businesses this year.

"These businesses, this is their only chance to make their livelihood and to get their product out there," said Berman. "We know after Christmas...everything's going to go dark so this is the time to support them."

The market is open from noon to 8 P.M. until December 23.

You can find it on F Street between 7th and 9th Streets, outside the National Portrait Gallery.

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