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Small Business Saturday: Shoppers flock to Old Ellicott City to show support

Small Business Saturday was especially important to Old Ellicott City, Maryland this year.

ELLICOTT CITY, Md. -- The weekend after Thanksgiving is all about shopping. After Black Friday comes Small Business Saturday. The nationwide event, started by American Express in 2010, encourages people to shop at local businesses.

Small Business Saturday was especially important to Old Ellicott City, Maryland this year.

The historic downtown was inundated with catastrophic flooding in May 2018 that forced businesses to close for months. Plus, it was the second time in less than two years Ellicott City had seen this type of flooding, which washed away cars and filled businesses with feet of mud.

VIDEOS: Jaw-dropping scenes from the Ellicott City flood

“We had been through the first flood and watched it happen,” said Teresa O’Connor, who shopped with her daughter Saturday. “Then the second flood was shocking.”

On Saturday, Old Ellicott City came back to life. The Ellicott City Partnership (ECP) says about 75 percent of businesses have opened back up after the May flooding. Heather Gaetano with the ECP says the historic area has even added new businesses since May.

“It’s ‘#ECStrong’ and their coming back strong,” said O’Connor. “And we’re very happy to be here to support them.”

Syriana Café was packed with people dining on Saturday. The café, which sells Syrian goods and employs Syrian Refugees, was one of the first to open its doors again after the devastating flood.

“Businesses are starting to really come back,” said café manager, Aaron Rocco. “But previously being one of the only things open on Main Street, there wasn’t a lot of driving force to get people to come out.”

RELATED: Did development around Ellicott City lead to worsening of catastrophic floods?

Rocco said the turnout for Small Business Saturday has been fantastic. He is especially grateful it has driven shoppers to an area that needs the community support.

“If every day could be like this, it would be a whole different story,” Rocco said.

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