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Vernetha Thomas and Olive Branch general manager Kendra Hitt pause a moment in a busy Saturday of business at Nothing Bundt Cakes in Olive Branch. Saturday was the first of a recurring series of Restart DeSoto promotions by local Chambers of Commerce to help small businesses recover lost income when ordered closed with the coronavirus pandemic. 


DeSoto County small businesses got a little boost on Saturday with the first of a recurring series of promotions aimed at pushing the need to shop locally.

Tailored after the Small Business Saturdays promotions that take place the day after what is called Black Friday in the retail world, DeSoto County Chambers of Commerce initiated what they call Restart DeSoto. The first Restart DeSoto Saturday was this past weekend.

First conceived by the Southaven Chamber of Commerce and promoted by the other Chambers in Olive Branch, Horn Lake, and the Hernando Main Street Chamber, Restart DeSoto is meant to help local shops start to recover from the loss of business they suffered when forced to close over coronavirus concerns.

As stores have been able to reopen with restrictions, business owners have started to see shoppers return, and Restart DeSoto helped them out.

“We’ve been busier these last two weeks,” said Olive Branch Nothing Bundt Cakes general manager Kendra Hitt. “We’re very happy and very pleased about it.”

Many non-essential businesses were forced to shut down by executive order as the COVID-19 pandemic began to sweep the country. Some relaxation of the restrictions have allowed stores to reopen, but as Hitt said, extra precautions are being taken.

“We’ve put partitions up,” said Hitt. “We closed down our lobby for five days before we opened back up to deep clean the store and make sure we were ready for the general public to come in. We have only four guests at a time. We are constantly sanitizing our hands, the doorknobs, and everything every 30 minutes to make sure that we are in the best possible condition to serve our public.”

The Restart DeSoto campaign is geared to continue on the fourth Saturday of each month for the foreseeable future. Hitt said backing local businesses makes for a stronger community.

“It’s important to shop small and shop local,” she explained. “That way, you’re supporting people that live in your area, your friends, and your family.”