NORTH COUNTY — Once again, the holiday season arrived before everybody was ready, Christmas music is already seeping into stores and local businesses are gearing up for what they hope are substantial sales.
Part of the holiday shopping trifecta that includes Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday sits in the middle of the super savings sandwich. Started by the American Express in 2010, the Small Business Saturday marketing event Nov. 30 focuses on mom-and-pop, brick-and-mortar stores while Black Friday and Cyber Monday push toward big box stores and online retailers, respectively.
Businesses in North County have been busily preparing for the holiday shopping season. Sure there will be sales and discounts, but General Store Paso Robles is taking a different approach.
“A lot of people for Black Friday and Small Business Saturday like the bigger box stores, the crazy sales and whatnot, we have a different approach and that is we want it to be a fun and charming experience to shop,” said co-owner Joeli Yaguda. “We serve donuts and coffee on both Black Friday and Small Business Saturday. If people want to go get the discounts, we totally get that but they might want to start here and have a nice cup of coffee in a calmer, downtown Paso Robles vibe.”
As far as trends, Yaguda said eco-friendly gifts are what people are seeking and they can find it at General Store Paso Robles.
“Everything from reusable straws, reusable baggies, bees wrap which is a reusable wrap that is amazing,” Yaguda said. “Those types of gifts are great for the environment and we have lots of people asking for them.”
CBD, or cannabidiol, continues to be the rage this year and guiding people through the different tinctures, ointments and oils will be available to shoppers at Natural Alternative Nutrition Center on Small Business Saturday.
While Small Business Saturday is important to local retailers, there are plenty of events scattered throughout the holiday season to entice shoppers to shop local. For Atascadero, downtown celebrations such as Winter Wonderland and quarterly Art and Wine Tours help stimulate the economy. Paso’s Holiday Lighting on Friday and the upcoming Christmas Parade are big boosts for its downtown.
Deborah Hentergardt owner of Mudflat Mercantile which just celebrated its third anniversary on Nov. 4 said, “During those events, it’s standing room only in here.”
Striking up partnerships is one way thing that local businesses can do to bring people in on big sales days such as Small Business Saturday.
Dark Nectar owner Danny Jones, of Atascadero, says that his unique coffee roasting saloon features beer from neighboring microbrewery Dead Oak. The shop also works with BarrelHouse Brewing Co. exchanging beer and coffee grounds back and forth.
Tiffany Pryor, owner of the California chic clothing store in downtown Atascadero, says she appreciates how the businesses help each other out.
“Everyone has been on this street for so long, we try and stick together,” said Pryor who is new to the block this year.
Business owners know that shopping at major retailers is going to happen and necessary, but they also hope that people don’t forget about the local shops.
“There are small businesses that against all odds — against Amazon and all of these other things that are convenient and great — are still thriving and for us, it reminds us that we are part of something much bigger,” Yaguda said. “Downtown to look around and see how many are independent and local just makes us feel part of a really beautiful thing and we love it.”