North Park, Little Italy Communities Celebrate Small Business Saturday

In San Diego, communities like North Park and Little Italy – which are filled with small businesses – urged residents to shop small on Saturday

Communities in San Diego, including North Park and Little Italy, urged locals to shop small on Saturday and support tiny, independently-owned businesses.

As Small Business Saturday began, many of the shops along 30th Street in North Park planned to offer deals on unique merchandise and extend their hours of operation.

North Park is among the many communities in San Diego County participating in Small Business Saturday, a day for local businesses to offer deals, and for shoppers to support small stores. NBC 7’s Ramon Galindo reports.

Noel Paris, owner of the Torque Moto Café in North Park, said Small Business Saturday is meant as a day to get people to explore the small business options their communities have to offer. For her, shopping small means you get to shop in a much more relaxed fashion.

“I avoid the malls, because the malls create stress and the holidays should be a feeling of family and love and happiness and peace,” Paris told NBC 7. “Small business, you can go in, you can browse. You have that relaxed feeling instead of that crowded tension.”

Patric Stillman, owner of The Studio Door in North Park, said his shop looks forward to Small Business Saturday all year.

“We have over 80 local artists in the gallery right now, for Shop Small Saturday. We call it our ‘Holiday Art Market,’” Stillman explained. “Shop small is about your neighborhood and supporting your local businesses. And I think that individuals, like myself, who own a small business really need the local support to keep going.”

“When people go out on a shop small Saturday and support local businesses, they’re really helping to bring a flavor into the neighborhood that is unique and authentic,” he added.

Businesses at the center of San Diego’s Little Italy community did the same Saturday, offering deals in support of the nationwide day designed to shine the spotlight on small, local businesses. There, shoppers could grab a Little Italy “passport” that mapped out all of the shops participating in Small Business Saturday including boutiques, art galleries and food markets.

The Mediterranean-inspired Azzurra Capri Boutique, for example, offered 15 percent off regular priced items and 50 percent of sale items. The shop, located at the Cottages on Fir Street, sells clothing, swimwear, accessories and handmade Italian shoes.

Meanwhile, Caffe Italia – an espresso bar on India Street – offered 15 percent all sandwiches and salads until 3 p.m. to refuel hungry Small Business Saturday shoppers. The Meyer Fine Art gallery had this discount: 10 percent off select artwork from its current exhibition, “Art Social.” Some proceeds from the art sales in this exhibition will help fund Little Italy’s newest piazza, Piazza Giannini.

Other Little Italy businesses offering deals on Saturday included Power Keg Athletics on Kettner Boulevard, R.D. Alchemy Natural Products and Studio Europa, Inc. / LEICHT San Diego. For a full list of Little Italy businesses offering specials on Saturday, click here.

Jenn Caffrey was among the shoppers browsing businesses in North Park Saturday. She was happy to lend her support to the shop small movement.

“Small businesses are everything. We have these dreams that we want to own our own businesses and we want to be successful and we want to all the things we always wanted to do,” she told NBC 7. “I feel like whenever you shop small, you get a better quality product because it’s coming from someone; it’s made with love; it’s made with time. You’re supporting someone’s wellbeing.”

North Park resident Autumn Colley also came out to support Small Business Saturday.

“You can have fun shopping instead of being stressed out at a store, waiting in line, camping out for a TV or something,” she said. “You’re going to enjoy your time shopping around, walking and eating at new restaurants and buying one-of-a-kind gifts that are made from local artists as well.”

“We really appreciate all the hard work the businesses put into our community,” said North Park resident Jessica Langley-Degroot. “A lot of the businesses here support the local schools, so we’re happy to use our patronage to better our own community.”

San Diego Councilmember Todd Gloria also touted the importance of Small Business Saturday and what it means locally.

“Our small businesses are over 90 percent of our employers in San Diego,” said Gloria. “They employ your neighbors, they keep their money local, and they are vital to the economic vitality of neighborhoods like North Park.”

“It’s more than just the gift that you buy,” Gloria added. “You end up supporting the overall San Diego economy.”

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