Santa Barbara County retailers prepare for big day
Local businesses are encouraging consumers to “shop small” on Black Friday.
Despite the huge deals at big box stores, small retailers are preparing for foot traffic and strategically inserting themselves into the shopping frenzy for the coming weekend.
“With local businesses you can’t compete (with big box stores), it’s not possible,” Darcy McElroy, manager of The Shopkeepers in Santa Barbara, told the News-Press. “So we focus on great customer service and provide personal attention which is unique to us.”
The Shopkeepers, which is at 137 Anacapa St., is collaborating with Coastal Coffee Collective to offer free coffee to anyone who visits its pop-up shop on Friday.
Ms. McElroy said her store offers services such as gift wrapping and unique pieces that shoppers might not find at a larger retailer.
“You’re gonna find a unique gift,” Ms. McElroy said. “You’re able to find something really special when you shop locally.”
Elsewhere in Santa Barbara, Jennifer Steinwurtzel, owner of Jake & Jones boutique, noted her store’s access to novel items is a way to distinguish itself from larger retailers.
“Bix boxes have endless inventory,” said Ms. Steinwurtzel, whose store is at 136 E. Canon Perdido St. “We will always corner that market by representing the smaller designers and selling unique and limited products.”
Though Ms. Steinwurtzel and others say they are unable to offer the steep discounts that retailers with huge inventories peddle, the local businesses still have great deals to compete with big box sales during Black Friday weekend.
“We are offering deals up to 70% on past and current fashion,” Torrie Smith, owner of Loom Boutique in Santa Ynez, told the News-Press.
“There are some good deals in store,” said Ms. Smith, whose store is at 1050 Edison St., Suite B.
While no one denies the struggle of running a business during COVID-19, small retailers are thankful for the community that continued to support them throughout this past year.
“The foot traffic has already increased so much from last year,” Ms. McElroy said. “We were so lucky to have the business we had last year, and the community really showed up for us. We had a great December, and this year is going to be even better.”
Ms. Steinwurtzel added that Santa Barbara is a “special place” where people enjoy shopping locally and have a great relationship with small business owners.
When asked why people should shop local, Gregg Feitt, general manager of Chaucer’s Books, told the News-Press it is a worthy investment in the community.
“We do our best to earn the support of our community and to give back to the community,” said Mr. Feitt, whose independent Santa Barbara bookstore is at 3321 State St. “Almost every dollar spent at a local business stays here in town. It pays for rent, for goods, for services. That is one of the most important aspects of local business.”