Think Big, Shop Small — support your local merchants!

When I think of a vibrant neighborhood I can’t help but think of Sesame Street. Remember Mr. Hooper’s store? Luis’s Fix-it-shop? Well, that’s what today’s all about — supporting local business! Life before big box retailers seemed simpler, if you needed a carton of milk, you went to the local grocery; if you needed something fixed, you went to the fix-it shop. Everyone knew everybody. There was always service with a smile.

And that’s what today is all about. The day after that major shopping holiday known as Black Friday, and two days before Cyber Monday is – you guessed it: Small Business Saturday. The event hopes to encourage consumers to dedicate just a part of their holiday shopping to local merchants. Sure Target and Walmart will have those special deals but Small Biz Saturday is about supporting your neighborhood stores – whether its buying books at an indie book shop or grabbing a cup of coffee at your neighborhood cafe.


1. Locally owned businesses stimulate the local economy. When you buy from an independent store, the money goes into payroll, paying taxes and other expenses (like sourcing material from other local suppliers) creating a ripple effect. Furthermore, buying local creates jobs. Studies show that small businesses create 60 percent of all new jobs.

2. Local merchants care about the community. They support your kids’ athletic team, they donate to your school year book, they participate in community events. They are members of the local chamber of commerce that help the community stage events! This is so because these local businesses are PART of your community, they are truly the people in your neighborhood.

3. Each community is unique and local businesses recognize this and foster this unique characteristics. Hence we have surf shops in Huntington Beach and not a country store selling tchotchkes. (Though I’m sure if you really wanted to find something like this, you’ll find it around).

4. Customer service is better! Local shop owners are friendly and more accommodating because they know you or would like to get to know you. They know you by name and they’ll call you when a certain item you want arrives, they’ll let you know honestly about certain products. They are your neighbors so you see them around town and are less likely to be rude because of course, they want your business. (And why wouldn’t you want theirs?)

4, It’s greener! In a way, shopping local has less of an environmental impact. Since many local shops are located in the village centers, or in local strip malls, they are easily accessible — you can walk or bike to it. So they contribute less to sprawl, congestion and pollution.

Here are some of the local stores, we love: Childrens’ Boutiques Rascals to Rebels and Bears, Buddies and Toys; coffee shops like Mr. P’s, Cafe Enchante, Monkey House Cafe, and Paul’s Coffee (Fountain Valley); the cute shops on Main St. and so so much more. Let’s do our part and support our neighborhood small businesses!

By the way, to support the cause, American Express is giving Amex card members a $25 statement credit when they shop at small businesses on Small Business Saturday.

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