The busiest shopping week of the year has consumers turning out in droves at some of the biggest doorbusting sales of the year. But on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, San Diegans are encouraged to "think small" instead.
Small Business Saturday, a national shopping event that encourages residents to shop at independently-owned businesses in their neighborhoods, is a big deal for the people behind the storefronts.
Last year, nearly $18 billion was spent at local shops and restaurants on Small Business Saturday. But "shopping small" is just as beneficial for the community; about two-thirds of every dollar spent is pumped back into the local economy, according to an American Express-commissioned study.
In San Diego County, there is no shortage of small businesses peppering our neighborhoods. More than 96,000 provide jobs to hundreds of thousands of workers, according to a 2019 study by the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corp.
And, on Small Business Saturday, many of those retailers and restaurants are enticing shoppers to their doors with promises of deals and holiday fun. So, whether your searching for the perfect gift or looking for decorations to deck the halls, grab your shopping list and visit one of these neighborhoods on Nov. 30.
Adams Avenue's Spirit Stroll
Get into the holiday spirit, literally, at this cocktail-centric walkabout. From 2 to 5 p.m., guests with a $20 ticket will get 20+ holiday-themed libations served inside independent businesses in the neighborhood, allowing you to shop cocktail in hand -- and what's better than that?
This beachside community of Cardiff is pulling out the stops for their Small Business Saturday celebration. On top of the usual local retailers and restaurants that line the stretch of Coast Highway 101 will be sidewalk vendors and pop-up shops, many offering special deals for the event. Start in front of Seaside Market for some live music and games before heading out. Local artist Brian Banash will even be offering a special art print for those that spend $20 on Cardiff 101 merchandise.
The walkable Little Italy neighborhood is filled with independent boutiques, art galleries and restaurants. More than a dozen will be offering deals and discounts on Small Business Saturday. Start on one end of the neighborhood -- either near Ash or Laurel streets and make your way to the Piazza della Famiglia in the heart of Little Italy.
Santa's sleigh is gliding down Goldfinch for Small Business Saturday. Cake Bakery is crafting a life-size winter sleigh that will be available to shoppers for photos. Plus, crafting supplies will be available for kids to decorate their very own holiday ornaments. With about 500 small businesses in Mission Hills, there are plenty of shopping opportunities in this San Diego neighborhood.
From perfectly potted plants at Pigment to vintage finds galore at The Girl Can't Help It, North Park has all the shops you need for your holiday shopping and many will be offering discounts for Small Business Saturday. Some Lucky shoppers will even win prizes for choosing to shop small. Those with a proof of $100 purchase from a North Park business will get a pair of bluetooth ear buds or a traveler mug. The neighborhood will also have live music and other fun offerings to get you in the holiday spirit. Take a look at the retailers offering discounts here.
This community is known for its quirky shops and artisan craft goods, making the perfect stop for your holiday gift shopping. For Small Business Saturday, the Ocean Beach Main Street Association will host additional pop-up shops and photo ops, including a vintage CW bus booth at Veterans Plaza. Shoppers can also win gift cards for "shopping small."
Bring on the merry! Oceanside's Artist Alley will transform into the Merry Makers Fair for two days this weekend, starting on Small Business Saturday, to offer goods from more than 40 artisans, boutique pop-ups and photographers offering anything from handmade jewelry and candles to glasswork and edible creations. Looking to add a little spirit to your shopping experience? Oceanside's Sip and Shop will give guests a chance to sample beer, wine and cocktails while they browse more than a dozen participating small businesses in the downtown Oceanside area. Tickets cost $20 and offer tastings from 1 to 4 p.m.
And Many More!
There are so many small business shopping opportunities across San Diego County. Other neighborhoods offering deals and delights include the Carlsbad Village in Carlsbad, where 20 totes will be given away in a raffle, One Paseo in Carmel Valley, in San Diego's Hillcrest neighborhood and in Poway. In Escondido, shoppers can play bingo as they browse. Those that complete their card will be entered into a raffle.
To find more small businesses near you, try the American Express Shop Small Map.
Chances are, someone you know is part of a small business. To find out, go to your Facebook page and search “Small Business Saturday.” Narrow your search to "your friends" and discover some great small businesses to support within your own friend group.