Downtown Los Banos gets ready for Small Business Saturday

Businesses in downtown Los Banos are making last-minute adjustments to their window décor, setting out new products and finalizing special promotions in anticipation of Small Business Saturday.

The national movement, now in its fourth year, is meant to entice people to make at least one holiday purchase at a small business to help put money back into the community. Los Banos resident Ginger Collins, who was shopping Wednesday for last-minute Thanksgiving decorations and potential Christmas gifts at Fleur de Lis, said she’ll return to support the shop on Sixth Street this weekend. She said she believes in the “buy local” movement.

“If you don’t shop local, they can’t stay in business,” Collins said. “Plus, you find the cutest little things for gifts.”

Shops in the downtown area will be offering special discounts and promotions. More than 10 retail stores on Sixth Street are participating and will be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Local organizers of Small Business Saturday put together an offer in which customers who visit each store will have a chance to win $100.

Leah Costa, owner of Fleur de Lis, said the day boosts sales at her shop.

“A lot of people that did come out (last year) said that ‘instead of us going to Target, like we normally would do on a Saturday, we’ve come downtown to shop,’” she said. Her store offers gift items, home décor and fashion.

“Think Black Friday for small retailers,” she said. “I like that, but it’s so true. It’s kind of like small business Black Friday.” She said she will be offering 20 percent discounts storewide.

Shoppers around the country say they are planning to spend an average of $801 for gifts this holiday season, according to American Research Group on its website.

Small Business Saturday aims to steer some of that money toward small, locally owned businesses.

“The money spent locally goes around a community three times,” said Los Banos Chamber of Commerce President Geneva Brett.

“They’re going to pay their employees with it, and their employees spend it on living in Los Banos,” she said Wednesday.

Susan Daguerre, owner of Una Bella Salon and Spa, also on Sixth Street, said locally owned businesses build strong communities, and that locally owned businesses cycle a much larger share of revenue back into the local economy.

This will be the third time Una Bella is participating in Small Business Saturday.

“Last (year) was busier than any other normal Saturday, and we doubled our profit,” Daguerre said.

A vibrant downtown

She said that participating in downtown events such as the annual wine stroll and a Christmas evening dedicated to holiday shopping helps sustain a vibrant downtown and links neighbors into a web of economic and social relationships.

Una Bella Salon and Spa sells boutique items such as purses, costume jewelry and scarves.

The store will be offering a 20 percent discount on regular priced items, as well as extra markdowns on other items.

Central Valley Arms, a hunting and fishing sporting goods store downtown, offering a package deal starting today.

Store manager Bob Spaniol said he decided to participate in Small Business Saturday to show people what the store has to offer and to promote the downtown area. “It’s important for the downtown moral,” he said.

Small Business Saturday, the Saturday after Thanksgiving, was founded by American Express in 2010.