Delaware celebrity chef encourages people to shop local for Small Business Saturday

Chef Dana Herbert
Chef Dana Herbert Photo credit Courtesy of Dana Herbert
By KYW Newsradio

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The pandemic has hit small businesses hard, and with Small Business Saturday approaching, owners are getting creative hoping to drum up some holiday sales.

Dana Herbert is a celebrity chef who’s baked his lavish cakes for the likes of Oprah Winfrey and President-elect Joe Biden. But that still hasn’t spared his Delaware bakery from the effects of the pandemic.

“The wedding business was almost annihilated. It just disappeared overnight,” he said. “I remember looking at emails one day and we were probably already down 30-50k just in the amount of cancellations that were happening in a short week or two weeks.”

He said since sales were slower, he had to furlough some of his employees which was a difficult decision to make.

“When you work with people very closely they become your second family. So it hurts when you can’t provide for them,” said Herbert.

Which is why he said remembering small businesses in your community is especially important this holiday season.

“What a lot of people don’t realize, even though there’s a lot of wonderful big boxes out there, the big chains, big stores, if you look around and pay attention, there’s a plethora of small businesses in your community,” he said.

He added that these small businesses keep money flowing in their communities.

Herbert says his business has pivoted to some virtual opportunities, since COVID-19 has changed the way his bakery operates.

“We do online cooking classes for adults called date night. We started that because we saw that because we noticed that the pandemic created almost like a separation, even if you were in the same household that stress was there. We wanted to bring people together around the table,” he said.

He said couples are enjoying the break from pandemic stress so much that he has started an online cooking class for the “little chefs.”

Herbert is still baking though, and he hopes to sweeten up shoppers to buy local this weekend with his “clear the case” sale.