Sol Eufracio of Fresno set out for holiday shopping looking to support small businesses rather than brave crowds at big-box stores.
Her goal fit perfectly with the theme of Small Business Saturday, the event after Thanksgiving that puts the emphasis on locally owned shops.
Eufracio and Melissa Montecuollo, a friend from Los Angeles, went to the Fulton Mall in downtown Fresno and looked in several boutiques for gifts. Eufracio said she was glad to support “their livelihood and also be able to just enjoy what they’re offering our community, but also being able to just support downtown Fresno and Fresno as a whole.”
Montecuollo thought it was important to support local businesses, no matter where they are located.
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“I love that (my money is) going to support local people who have a dream and care about their community and care about their business they’re trying to grow and run,” she said.
Small Business Saturday, started by American Express in 2010, has received support from the U.S. government, including the Obama administration and Congress.
Maria Contreras-Sweet, the head of the U.S. Small Business Administration, said that the day was a chance to support small businesses and the jobs that are created locally.
“By shopping local and small, the majority of the money stays within the community,” Contreras-Sweet said. “Small business owners and Main Street businesses are the fabric of our daily lives. They have energy and passion for what they do, and when we support small businesses, jobs are created and local communities preserve their unique culture.”
Pablo Orozco, co-owner of the Raizana Tea with his wife, Sol, has participated in Small Business Saturday for two years since opening their brick-and-mortar location on Tuolumne Street.
“I think people like Small Business Saturday because economically it makes sense,” Orozco said. “But also they get a good feeling out of supporting small businesses. Like they say, ‘OK, if we actually go out there and we buy there, these small businesses are going to hang out and survive for a little bit longer until they get a foothold in the economy and they can flourish.”
He said Small Business Saturday brings a little spike in business during the holidays, with about 40 percent more customers in the store than on a typical Saturday.
Raizana Tea took advantage by offering holiday promotions, such as half off for packages of tea with one purchased, as well as free shipping for orders of $40 or more.
Jeff Bennett, co-owner of Ampersand Ice Cream in central Fresno with his wife, Amelia, offered a 10 percent discount for the store’s products.
Of Small Business Saturday, he said: “It’s hugely important because it keeps the money in the city and in the community. For us it’s like, my wife and I are owners, we’re the end of the line when it comes to the money, and so whether it pays us or it pays the people we’re buying products from, everything stays here.”