(Washington Post) — Amy Rutherford, owner of Red Barn Mercantile in Alexandria, has a full agenda of holiday promotions and events planned at the furniture and gift store. On top of the early-bird specials on Black Friday, she is hosting a number of free workshops in the coming weeks. One such class will teach creative ways of setting the table. Rutherford, like many independent retailers, has long realized that to compete with national retailers’ door-busters and deep discounts she had to offer more than just sales. Hosting workshops, she explained, is a “more personal way to be in touch with our customers,” and keep them coming back.