MONTEREY — As people pack groceries for Thanksgiving and department stores ramp up for Black Friday, local businesses gear up for their own holiday special: Small Business Saturday.
To encourage investment in the community, the Old Monterey Business Association encourages guests to spend Saturday exploring and shopping downtown Monterey, where shops and restaurants are offering sales, limited offers and other attractions to create a buzz .
“It’s difficult for small businesses to have sales and things like that all the time,” said Peter Cofresi, director of the Old Monterey Business Association. “There’s no competition between big stores and us, but there’s a homely vibe here, a fun local vibe.”
The post-Black Friday, pre-Cyber Monday community promotion in downtown Monterey is one of many taking place across the country on November 26th.
Small Business Saturday is a nationwide campaign launched by American Express in 2010. It was designed to redirect purchases to local stores at the start of the holiday season. Today it is watched in all 50 states and sponsored by the US Small Business Administration.
Last year, reported projected spending by U.S. consumers shopping on Small Business Saturday at retailers and restaurants reached an estimated $23.3 billion, according to the 2021 Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights Survey commissioned by American Express. Hopes for a similar, if not better, turnout for 2022 are high, especially as small businesses continue to recover from the pandemic.
Local Monterey companies are looking forward to the boost.
“There’s a focus,” said James Bryant, who co-owns Carpe Diem Fine Books with his wife, Mary Hill, at 245 Pearl St. “If an area has a lot of stores that do something special or have special offers, it tends to attract more people than if there were just two or three stores.”
Carpe Diem is celebrating Small Business Saturday with a 20% discount on everything in their store. But the occasion is also urging the bookstore to do something bigger to attract new customers: for the first time in years, it’s opening its doors during regular opening hours.
Since the pandemic, Carpe Diem is only open by appointment. However, from 11am to 4pm on Saturday, customers are free to browse the bookstore’s collection of out-of-print and unusual reads at their leisure. The affair is a change of pace for the owner couple, who have become accustomed to selling products online. They have remodeled their store in preparation for the big day.
“It gave us an impetus to revitalize our exhibitions and release books that we didn’t have,” Bryant said. “That made us look at the store with new eyes because a lot of the customers that are coming in will be new customers.”
Meanwhile, around the corner at 486 Washington St., Workhorse Bicycles is embracing the opportunity to bring more customers indoors ahead of colder and typically slower months.
“We tend to slow down a bit when it gets cold outside, so any chance to liquidate product and get cash flow rolling is certainly a bonus,” a member of the Workhorse team said Wednesday.
For its portion of Small Business Saturday 2022, Workhorse Bicycles will be hosting a store-wide sale. It is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m
Slowfiber (517 A Hartnell St.) and Feral Market (261 Alvarado St.) will also host store-wide sales on Saturday.
At Sovino Wine Bar & Merchant there is a 20% discount on wine bottles, good for consumption on site or to take away. Wine lovers can also enjoy a glass at Puma Road Portola Plaza, where jazz singer Akina Miyata will perform from 5pm
And behind the Portola Hotel and Spa, in the Custom House Plaza, Monterey’s seasonal ice skating rink will be in operation for those looking for an icy spin just off the coast. The rink officially opens on Friday, just in time for the weekend’s celebrations.
For a full list of local businesses and restaurants participating in Small Business Saturday this year, visit https://www.oldmonterey.org/event/2022/11/small-business-saturday-downtown-old-monterey-2022 .