With the holiday season already here, the importance of shopping local and supporting neighborhood merchants striving for success in today's ever-evolving marketplace cannot be overstated.
While the information age and the internet are drawing customers away online, there's still huge value — and an entertaining personal experience — to be had shopping old-fashioned, with pavement-pounding browsing of brick-and-mortar establishments.
The importance of shopping local is borne out in statistics. According to the federal Small Business Administration, small businesses, so-called “mom and pops,” defined in the United States as having fewer than 25 full-time employees with annual wages below $50,000, employ more than half our nation's working class.
One hot spot in this year's Peninsula holiday shopping season is Point Loma Village, where small businesses are teaming up to host a Holiday Stroll on Canon Street with guess who: a special guest, Santa.
This holiday season, these three local Point Loma businesses are giving back to their shared community in three unique ways:
• Dec. 13 – Festive Beer-and-Food Speakeasy: Barons Market at 4001 W. Point Loma Blvd. invites craft beer and food lovers for an evening filled with good cheer. Guests can mingle among stockrooms and loading docks to enjoy Black Market Brewing’s refreshing craft beer. All of the proceeds from the event will go to food banks in San Diego and Temecula.
Help rescue animals
• Dec. 6, 13, 20, and 27 – Holiday Edition Woofer: Every Wednesday, The Wine Pub at 2907 Shelter Island Drive, donates 10 percent of each guest’s check to Animal Rescuers Without Borders. This year, The Wine Pub serves up gourmet holiday food for guests while pups enjoy treats from a gourmet doggie menu – all for a good cause.
Jingle bell fun
• Dec. 9 – Jingle Bell Fun Run: Bay City Brewing Co. will host a fundraiser for the Arthritis Foundation this month leading up to December’s Jingle Bell Fun Run, the nation’s largest holiday 5k run fighting arthritis. Bay City is inviting community members to join them in celebrating the holidays with a cold one in hand.
Passport to OB
As always, Ocean Beach and its tight-knit merchant community is all in on the holiday season. The community's business improvement district, Ocean Beach MainStreet Association (OBMA), celebrated Small Business Saturday in a big way with a sand sculpture and other festivities, kicking off its nearly month-long promotional Passport to OB contest to encourage people to shop local.
The almost month-long contest, a centerpiece of OBMA's holiday shopping campaign this year, continues until Wednesday, Dec. 20. A Shop Small OB Passport furnishes customers with a card with the names of 26 participating OB merchants on it, that they can then get punched for a chance at a future drawing.
“The more businesses you visit and get your card punched at, the better your odds are for winning a prize,” said Isabel Clark of OBMA.“Then people turn in their cards and the drawing is held. Participating businesses will have gift cards and other really cool things you can win.”
Passport participants include: Abbott Street Market, Apple Tree Supermarket, Arizona Cafe, Beach Sweets, Bone Appetit, Car's Jars, Crystal Visions, Details SalonSpa, James Gang Printing Company, Lighthouse Ice Cream, OB People's Organic Food Market, Ocean Beach Business Center, Pat's Liquor, Pirate's Cove Tiki Port, Raglan Public House, Reset Float Therapy, Shot From The Hart Photography, South Coast Surf Shop, South Coast Wahines, Sunset Clipps, Swanky Sugar, Synergy, Thistle Garden Floral Home, Tony's, Sunshine Co. Saloon and OBMA.
“Ocean Beach has so many great local shops and restaurants,” said Denny Knox, OBMA executive director. “We’re really excited to create exposure for the variety of retail, dining and services offered in our community to entice people to come to OB to shop small.”
“This is the first year we've done this on this scale, really doing a big push,” pointed out Clark adding, “Hopefully, it will become an annual thing and we can expand it next year.”
Here are a few more Peninsula small businesses and what they're doing special for the holidays:
• See/Saw, 3028 Canon St.: offers the finest assortment of educational play and imagination goods for baby and kids to Point Loma Village made with organic cotton, non-toxic dyes and inks, wood and recycled BPA-free plastic. For more information the boutique, visit shopseesawkids.com.
• Wee Gather, 3030 Canon St.: is a stylish event space for (mostly) kid-centered parties, pop-ups, workshops, and community. For more information, visit www.weegather.com.
Healthful pet food
• Good Dog Pet Outfitters, 3034 Canon St.: provides vibrant, human-grade whole foods for your feathered and furred friends. The boutique features products such as health foods for pets, healing supplements for every stage of growth and development, items made from organic cotton, wool doggie duds, an assortment of leashes and harnesses for sport and fun, and toys, toys, toys. Visit www.gooddogpetoutfitters.com.
This trio of Village shops are teaming up to throw a holiday block party Saturday, Dec. 9, from 1 to 4 p.m., for folks to check off their list a couple to-do’s while giving back to smaller businesses.
The family-friendly party on the corner of Cañon and Rosecrans streets, will feature Santa Claus arriving from the North Pole and entering Wee Gather with a “Ho, Ho, Ho!” Also, tickets will be available to purchase for photos with Santa.
The block party will also offer discounts at the three retail shops, festive face painting, pop-up shops from local crafters, homemade peppermint coffee and more.
The Holiday Stroll on Cañon Street presents an alternative shopping option to big-box chains and online retail giants. Nothing says “Happy Holidays,” like supporting local businesses while mingling with neighbors,” say promoters.
“Plus, where else can you get shopping, pictures with Santa and a place to drop your kids off while you shop all in one place?”
Founded in 1978, the Ocean Beach MainStreet Association is comprised of area merchants and professionals dedicated to building a thriving business district that fulfills the needs of the neighboring community and visitors alike. Learn more at www.OceanBeachSanDiego.com or www.shoplocalob.com.