Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Small Business Saturday in Benicia encourages residents to shop local

(Originally published in the 11/24/15 edition)

   As the crowds dissipate from the malls and large chain retailers of the world when Black Friday ends, people can feel free to continue their shopping the following day in a way that benefits the local businesses of their community.
   This Saturday, Benicia Main Street and the city of Benicia will be presenting the sixth annual Small Business Saturday. The nationwide shopping event typically held the Saturday after Thanksgiving was founded in 2010 by American Express as a way for communities to celebrate the smaller businesses that help support their towns. Nancy Martinez, executive director of Benicia Main Street, said the program held its first Small Business Saturday that year, and it was officially recognized by the city in 2011.
   This year, fifty businesses from all across Benicia have chosen to participate in Small Business Saturday, including Bookshop Benicia, Wheels in Motion and Honeysuckle Rose. However, retail stores will not be the only businesses taking part. Shoppers can also eat lunch and get haircuts or manicures at participating businesses. 
   Teri Davena of the Economic Development Office says new benefits have been added this year.
   “Benicia Main Street is offering $5 in Downtown Dollars to the first 30 people who stop by the Depot,” she said. “That will kickstart their shopping in downtown Benicia.”
   Additionally, some participating businesses will have giveaways like designer tote bags. Some stores may offer discounts, but Martinez says that is not the focus.
   “It’s more about the public recognizing small businesses,” she said. “There’s a lot of chains and online shopping, so the fact that they can survive in this economy, we want the public to acknowledge them. We also want to thank them for helping them survive.”
   Davena says the event is a good way to get people to patronize the independent businesses that give Benicia its unique character.
   “It’s important to our town to keep them in business and offer the unique opportunities that they provide for our residents and keep our downtown vibrant and alive,” she said. 
   However, Davena recommends that residents don’t take just one day out of the year to support their local businesses.
   “This is a day to remember all of our small businesses and to remind them to shop every day locally,” she said. 

   Small Business Saturday will kick off 11 a.m., Saturday Nov. 28 at the Southern Pacific Train Depot, located at 90 First Street. For a complete list of participating businesses, visit BeniciaMainStreet.org

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