MONTREY — As people pack their groceries for Thanksgiving and department stores ramp up sales for Black Friday, local stores are preparing their own holiday special: Small Business Saturday.
To promote investment in the community, the Old Monterey Business Association encourages customers to explore and shop in downtown Monterey on Saturdays, where stores and restaurants will have storewide sales, limited-time offers and other popular attractions.
“It’s hard for a small business to have sales and stuff like this all the time,” said Peter Cofresi, director of the Old Monterey Business Association. “There’s no competition between the big stores and us, but there’s a warm, fun, local vibe here.”
The post-Black Friday and pre-Cyber Monday community sale in downtown Monterey on Nov. 26 is one of many happening across the country.
Small Business Saturday is a national event launched in 2010 by American Express. It aims to redirect shopping to local stores as the holiday season approaches. Today, it is complied with in all 50 states and sponsored by the U.S. Small Business Administration.
According to the 2021 Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights Survey commissioned by American Express, projected spending by U.S. consumers who shopped at retailers and restaurants on Small Business Saturdays reached an estimated $23.3 billion last year. Hopes are high for a similar or even more successful vote in 2022, especially as small businesses continue to recover from the pandemic.
Locally, Monterey businesses are looking for a boost.
“It provides a focal point,” said James Bryant, who co-owns Carpe Diem Fine Books at 245 Pearl St. with his wife, Mary Hill. “When there are a lot of businesses in an area doing something special or having sales, it tends to attract more people than just two or three stores.”
Carpe Diem is marking Small Business Saturday with 20% off everything in-store. But the occasion also prompted the bookstore to do something bigger to attract new customers: It was operating normally for the first time in years.
Since the pandemic, Carpe Diem is open by appointment only. However, from 11am to 4pm on Saturdays, patrons will have the opportunity to peruse the store’s stock of out-of-print and unusual titles. It was a change of pace for the owners, who were already accustomed to selling their products online. They revamped their store in preparation for the big day.
“It gave us a catalyst to beautify our displays and launch books that we didn’t already offer,” Bryant said. “It’s made us look at the store in a whole new way because many of the customers who come in are new customers.”
Meanwhile, around the corner at 486 Washington Street, Workhorse Bicycles is excited about the opportunity to attract more customers before the colder, often slower months arrive.
“We tend to slow down when it gets cold outside, so any opportunity to liquidate product and get cash flow is definitely a bonus,” a member of the Workhorse team said on Wednesday.
In Small Business Saturdays 2022, Workhorse Bicycles is having a storewide sale.Open from 9am to 6pm
Slowfiber (517 A Hartnell St.) and Feral Market (261 Alvarado St.) will also have storewide promotions on Saturdays.
20% off bottles of wine at Sovino Wine Bar & Merchant for on-site consumption or take away.Wine lovers can also enjoy a drink at Puma Road Portola Plaza, where jazz singer Akina Miyata will perform at 5 p.m.
Inside the Custom House Plaza behind the Portola Hotel and Spa, Monterey’s seasonal ice skating rink will be open and running for anyone looking to play ice on the coast. The rink officially opened Friday, just in time for weekend festivities.
For a complete list of local shops and restaurants participating in Small Business Saturday this year, visit https://www.oldmonterey.org/event/2022/11/small-business-saturday-downtown-old-monterey-2022.