Small Business Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet Visited Alexandria for Small Business Saturday

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Alexandria Singers welcomed Administrator Contreras-Sweet with Christmas Carols. (Alexandria Chamber of Commerce Collection)
Alexandria Singers welcomed Administrator Contreras-Sweet with Christmas Carols. (Alexandria Chamber of Commerce Collection)

For small business owners, seeing Maria Contreras-Sweet in town is akin to Adele popping in to listen to the church choir. It’s exciting. And so it was this past Saturday in Alexandria.

As in past years, the Chamber handed out shopping bags containing maps, coupons, prizes, and special treats for small business Saturday shoppers.  Strategically positioned at Market Square and outside of Pork Barrel BBQ in Del Ray, over 250 bags were distributed. Staff were joined by Councilman John Chapman in Old Town, and Mara Benner from Four Directions Wellness in Del Ray.

4)Ray Sweet and Administrator Contreras-Sweet spoke with Alexandria Cupcake owner Adnan Hamidi during her visit. (Photo; Alexandria Chamber of Commerce Collection.)
Ray Sweet and Administrator Contreras-Sweet spoke with Alexandria Cupcake owner Adnan Hamidi during her visit. (Photo; Alexandria Chamber of Commerce Collection.)

Adnan Hamidi, owner of Alexandria Cupcake joined Chamber staff to meet the Administrator, who took home a dozen cupcakes.  Making her way down King Street, Administrator Contreras-Sweet visited a number of local businesses before stopping for lunch at Sonoma Cellar with owner Rick Myllenbeck and Chamber staff.

Chamber staff were joined by Councilman John Chapman to greet shoppers with bags stuffed with prizes and coupons to Alexandria businesses. (Photo: Alexandria Chamber of Commerce Collection.)
Chamber staff were joined by Councilman John Chapman to greet shoppers with bags stuffed with prizes and coupons to Alexandria businesses. (Photo: Alexandria Chamber of Commerce Collection.)
Mara Benner of Four Direction Wellness joined Chamber staff members Morgan Yarnoff and Stan Brinkley at the Chamber table in Del Ray outside of Pork Barrel BBQ. (Photo: Alexandria Chamber of Commerce Collection.)
Mara Benner of Four Direction Wellness joined Chamber staff members Morgan Yarnoff and Stan Brinkley at the Chamber table in Del Ray outside of Pork Barrel BBQ. (Photo: Alexandria Chamber of Commerce Collection.)

Encouraging shoppers to kick off their holiday shopping and patronize local businesses, random bags contained gift cards to local eateries or attractions.  For example, A la Lucia, Pork Barrel BBQ/ /Holy Cow, Port City Brewery, and Red Rocks Pizza, all donated gift cards.  Other businesses provided coupons, special deals, give away items, and other treats for shoppers, including free tickets from George Washington’s Mount Vernon and Historic Alexandria.  Seventy lucky shoppers received a collectible plate from George Washington’s Mount Vernon and every bag contained maps and a special surprise from Mount Vernon.

Chamber President & CEO Joe Haggerty and Vice President, Marketing & Events Shari Simmans, joined Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet and her family for a lunch at Sonoma Cellar. Owner Rick Myllenbeck is also pictured. (Photo: Alexandria Chamber of Commerce Collection.)
Chamber President & CEO Joe Haggerty and Vice President, Marketing & Events Shari Simmans, joined Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet and her family for a lunch at Sonoma Cellar. Owner Rick Myllenbeck is also pictured. (Photo: Alexandria Chamber of Commerce Collection.)

“We are excited to help build the buzz for Small Business Saturday and promote our members’ businesses as the places to ‘shop and dine small’. We were thrilled to host Administrator Contreras-Sweet, a true champion of the small business community, and demonstrate why Alexandria is the capital of Small Business shopping.” stated Joe Haggerty, President & CEO, for the Alexandria Chamber of Commerce.