BLOWING ROCK — In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Janet Calhoun, an owner of Bolick Traditions and Pottery in Blowing Rock, felt the desire to help small retail businesses who were made to shut their doors as “nonessential businesses.” She created the Blowing Rock Retailers Facebook page to provide a link directly from retailers to customers, including community members who are regulars of the establishments.

“Now more than ever we need to support our neighbors and shop local,” Calhoun said. “I felt that this was something that I could do to help out. I contacted a few other retailers and asked what they thought about the idea. High Country Candles, Monkee’s and a few others said they would be interested, so I built the page and started inviting retailers through Facebook Messenger.”

Calhoun added that “the chamber and the tourism development authority were quick to get on board and help contact all the businesses.”

Suzy Barker, event and communications specialist of the Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce said, “It is very special to see our local businesses support each other. As a chamber, we love to see our members working together especially during hard times. The sense of community in Blowing Rock has strengthened as we navigate the pandemic.

We are seeing locals and businesses doing what they can to spread a positive message right now and supporting each other in any way they can.”

Additionally, Calhoun said that her goal is for any interested retailer to be a part of the group.

Retailers can post events, sales, links to their social media platforms, coupons, online stores, shopping opportunities and other news they would like to share with their customers. Even if customers are unable to make a purchase during these financially trying times, keeping Blowing Rock shops in the forefront of their minds can be beneficial for the town’s businesses.

Within two days of the group’s creation, there were nearly 100 members on the page. Local retailers immediately took to the page to share their products.

“Tazmaraz sold a beautiful shirt to a new customer. Mountain Thread Company posted some beautiful rope baskets and linked its website. Larry with Blowing Rock Pottery made and posted some nice mugs, and Monkee’s started promoting a raffle,” Calhoun said.

“There is power in numbers, and retailers know their numbers.”

The Blowing Rock Retailers Facebook page can be found at https://www.facebook.com/groups/685609485601027/. Questions can be directed to the page by sending a message through Facebook Messenger.

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