SAN DIEGO — The Saturday after Thanksgiving is normally one when small businesses take center stage, but the Coronavirus has changed everything.
“We’ve been in North Park for eight and a half years, and we’d like to try to make it to nine,” said Gail Higgins, who owns The Girl Can’t Help It vintage shop on Grim Avenue. Higgins says in-store sales are now at about 30 percent, as foot traffic declined amid the pandemic.
“We give out gloves, if people want to try things on, we make sure everyone has a mask on, we keep the door locked so we can let in a certain amount of people at a time,” she said.
Normally the Saturday after Thanksgiving – called Small Business Saturday – is one that helps boost sales for mom and pops, with all sorts of pomp and circumstance to welcome the public. This year, the live music, and refreshments that typically line main streets aren’t happening.
“If we want North Park and communities like North Park to be around next year, we have to pull it out this year,” said Angela Landsberg, who heads the North Park MaiN Street Association. “We have to come on out to our local shops, shop online and support these small businesses. Keep it local.”
The association is now helping local retailers beef up their online presence, launching a shop local campaign with an online directory on its webpage, Explore North Park.
At North Park’s ArtElexia, which specializes in Mexican gifts, art, home decor and gourmet foods, owner Elexia de la Parra says her increased online presence could help for the future.
“Now when all this comes back to normal, I’ll have a really get website,” she said. “You just got to keep positive.”
In that light, Higgins says she has something for any occasion.
“Come on everybody, get dressed up at home, get dressed up for your next Zoom meeting,” she said. “We can find you something for the top half.”
Something maybe to be found this Small Business Saturday.