Supporting Small Businesses This Holiday Season: @umdvintage & Smile Herb Shop
By Emma Schmalz
December 12, 2022
Image Credit: Chimere Ukwuani
The holiday season is upon us, and if UMD students are looking for small businesses to support, they should look no further than @umdvintage and Smile Herb Shop.
Both businesses are planning something special for the upcoming holiday season.
@umdvintage is a vintage Maryland apparel Instagram account owned and operated by Chimere Ukwuani. This holiday season, he plans on “dropping presents random places around campus with UMD stuff inside and just letting the first student who gets to it have it.”
Ukwuani started the account a few months ago and has been surprised by the amount of growth and attention it has gathered from the UMD population. Students, alumni and even parents have reached out to purchase his curated vintage items.
Game days are huge at UMD, and Jennifer Haworth, a senior marketing major, purchased a ‘90s UMD windbreaker for this exact reason: “I first discovered UMD vintage because someone I followed reposted one of their posts for a giveaway they were doing. I shopped there because I love vintage clothing and wanted some cool items to wear for this game day season.”
Jade Shaw, a sophomore criminology major, bought a Jacksonville and Maryland Terrapins t-shirt together for $40. She has experience shopping at other vintage stores and compared her experience with @umdvintage to the other places she has shopped at. “I think it’s less expensive but still a bit too pricey. But the odds of seeing something you like and being able to say just like, ‘Oh, I’m going to go ahead and buy it’ are slim.'”
Ukwuani does not know where @umdvintage is headed in the long term, but when asked, he said that he hopes to have @umdvintage participate in flea markets with other vintage vendors.
Clothing is currently sold first come first serve through the account on Instagram and at occasional pop-up shops on UMD’s campus.
Another small business located in College Park is Smile Herb Shop. Located at 4908 Berwyn Road, Smile Herb Shop has been in College Park for almost 50 years.
Store manager Annie Wilson said, “Our small business is offering hand-curated gift boxes for the holiday season, as well as teas specifically made for the winter months and immunity.”
Smile Herb Shop offers a wide range of herbal and natural products. These include herbalist-blended teas, supplements incense and oils. The small business also offers consultations that address a range of different health and wellness needs.
“It's common for people to drive right by thinking it's a house. We love to see people stop by and wander through the garden, smell the herbs and admire the crystals, books and other sensory delights we have. It's always a delight to have someone stop by who didn't know Smile even existed!” said Wilson.
Melina Parsi, a sophomore criminology and communications double major, has been to Smile Herb Shop and had a good experience. “I like to support small businesses in the area, and Smile is a unique store near campus. It’s exciting to hear about the holiday bundles especially since I am looking for gifts for my family right now,” Parsi said.
College students often have a small budget to work with, but supporting local businesses helps to stimulate the local economy and keep business up within your region. Small business owners often return the favor by participating in fundraisers or donating to UMD in this instance.
Supporting small businesses, especially those in College Park and related to UMD, is important during the holiday season. Both @umdvintage and Smile Herb Shop are good options for students and faculty alike to shop locally this holiday season.