Old Town Boutique District 10-Year Celebration at Sonoma Cellar (Photo: Katie Smythe)

By Carla Branch

In April, the Old Town Boutique District turned ten. To celebrate, OTBD had a party; introduced its new advertising campaign, “Shop Around The Corner” and launched the new $250 VIP membership program, which offers access to special events, discounts and more. Shopping at local, independently owned businesses is vital to our economy and our community as a whole. 

OTBD Shop Around the Corner (courtesy photo)

OTBD’s website explains why shoppers might want to join the VIP membership program:

Become a VIP customer and receive 10% off (some restrictions apply) at OTBD member boutiques, valid through April 30, 2019. As a VIP you’ll also receive exclusive access to VIP events, as well as special offers at OTBD partner retailers.

ARP Restaurants
Choose your own Wine Down Wednesday

Sonoma Cellar
10% off food & wine, 20% off merchandise

Refresh Yoga
$20 for a week of Unlimited Yoga

Local Motion Studio
Free 5 class pass

fibre space
$50 Gift card

Pilates ProWorks
2 Classes for $20 + 1 guest pass per month

When you become a VIP, you’re not just getting a discount.  You’re supporting our local economy, small businesses and entrepreneurs. Shopping with small businesses has a huge impact on everything from our economy to the environment & more.

Top 10 Reasons for Shopping Locally

  1. Keep more dollars in the local economy.
    For every $100 spent in a local store, $68 will stay in the community. But, spend $100 at a chain store and only $43 stays in the community.
  2. Create more local jobs.
    That extra money is spent on hiring more people in the community, who buy their own products and services and pay taxes.
  3. Attract tourism and visitors.
    It’s old Town’s independently owned businesses that make it a unique destination for tourists and residents of the Washington, D.C. area.
  4. Get better service.
    Local businesses take more time to get to know you and the products they’re selling.
  5. Help local causes.
    Studies have shown that local businesses provide 350% more support to community causes than national chains.
  6. Enjoy a diverse range of product choices.
    Small businesses choose products based on what their customers love and need — not a national sales plan.
  7. Help the environment.
    By shopping in a central business district, you discourage sprawl. Plus, purchases by independent businesses typically require less transportation. And our easy Metro access and King Street Trolleys reduce congestion and pollution.
  8. Invest in the community.
    Local businesses are owned by people who live here, work here, and are more invested in our future.
  9. Invest in entrepreneurship.
    Local entrepreneurs work hard to grow their businesses. As they expand, they create more wealth for the local economy.
  10. Put your taxes to good use.
    Shopping in old Town requires less public infrastructure, less maintenance and more money available to beautify our community. Also, spending locally instead of online ensures that your sales taxes are reinvested right here in Alexandria.

How It All Began 
Although OTBD is official ten years old, the name came to Elizbeth Todd in 2003. “When I opened The Shoe Hive 15 years ago, I reserved the name Old Town Boutique District,” she said. “I didn’t know how I might use it in the future but I thought it might have some purpose later on.”

That purpose would not emerge for five years but an alliance of independent small businesses in Old Town would. “When the City introduced its marketing fund, a group of us put together a proposal to apply for funds to develop a joint marketing campaign,” Todd said. “I believe we got around $20,000 that we had to match and that was the beginning of the marketing collective that became the Old town Boutique District in 2008.”

Todd and Putens – the owner of Bloomers – are OTBD co-founders. “We stared with 12 small businesses and now include more than 30,” Todd said. “Our members are stores, salons, fitness studios, restaurants and more.

“We don’t see ourselves as a political advocacy organization (that’s the Chamber’s role) although individual members may write letters or express our opinions about various issues such as changes to parking regulations. We really are a marketing collective and that’s what we do,” Todd said.

Old Town Boutique District 10-Year Celebration