Park Street Merchants Poised for Small Business Saturday

Small Business SaturdayAs you prepare for your holiday shopping keep in mind that the Park Street Business District has plenty to offer… charming shops, great food & drink establishments, professional services, and fun things to do!

Many of the businesses in the Park Street Business District will be offering holiday treats and fun discounts on Small Business Saturday. Be sure to stop by participating businesses such as Alameda See Spot Run, Cafe QJulie’s Coffee & Tea Garden, Daisy’s, Farmstead Cheeses & Wines, Silk Road, and The Clothes Line, among others.

Also, compliments of the City of Alameda and PSBA, there will be free street parking on Saturday, November 24 (and every Saturday through the end of December).

For more information and a directory of local businesses in the Park Street Business District, go to

Save the Date: Bring your kids, age 12 and under, to visit Santa at Tucker’s Super Creamed Ice Cream (1349 Park Street) on Saturday, December 1, 1:00-3:00pm.

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(The following article was written by Alameda resident Corey Hill, a social media and marketing adviser. It appears in the Alameda Sun on November 22, 2012.)

The American Express sponsored Small Business Saturday returns November 24th, the third outing for the event aimed at driving local shopping during the retail sweet spot between Black Friday and the newly minted “Cyber Monday.”

Here on the island, merchants of all stripes are poised to Monkey Bars, Alamedacapitalize on the spotlight generated by the AMEX marketing machine, a combination of subtle self-promotion and financial incentives that have generated widespread awareness of the initiative. Whether or not actual participation reaches the 100 million shoppers cited by American Express, business owners nonetheless welcome the attention.

“We want to really get people to check us out first before heading to the malls. We appreciate their business, and you don’t have to head off the island to get taken care of,” said Heather Rider of children’s specialty store Monkey Bars.

Skipping the malls means more than avoiding crowded parking structures and piped in Muzak; shopping locally provides a boon to the entire community.

For every $100 spent at a chain store, just $43 remains in the local economy. For local stores, that figure is $68. Not to mention that local businesses tend to rely on other local businesses, creating a multiplier effect that is difficult to quantify. The local pizza joint, for example, is likely to use a local accountant to help balance the books.

Over the last two decades, local businesses have gradually lost ground to the big chains. In 1990, local retailers held a 59% share of sales. By 2009, that figure had fallen to 48%.  Shoppers frequently cited the lower prices and larger selection as the reason for the shift.

Julie's Coffee & Tea Garden, AlamedaAlameda’s residents are keen to buck this trend, and have taken action to spur island-centric growth. Two prominent examples: city-wide investments in facade improvement projects, and construction of the parking center adjacent to Park Street. Restaurant and night life options have multiplied in recent years, making the prospect of a day spent strolling local storefronts all the more enticing.

“I’ve been here for eight years now, and I’ve definitely seen a huge change in that time. Things have just shaped up, the parking structure, the unity of the whole street (Park Street)  together with the new upgrades, and the support of the community coming out and making it what it is,” said Julie Baron of Julie’s Coffee and Tea.

Shopping local is better for the planet, too. Americans drive a great deal, and shopping plays no small part in this behavior, especially around the consumer-driven holiday season.  Shopping locally means less driving. Small businesses tend to source locally, which means your stuff had a shorter drive, too.  Generally, small businesses have smaller carbon footprints.

Silk Road, AlamedaWith Small Business Saturday just around the corner, Alameda’s business owners are optimistic.

“I moved here about ten years, and opened my store about three and a half years ago, in the worst of the recession. But the loyalty of Alameda has kept us in business. That’s the beauty of Alameda, it’s a small, close-knit community,” said Michelle Stibbs, owner of Silk Road on Park Street.

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