By Christine Davis
I wish the phrase “It takes a village” wasn’t so overused because it really is an ideal slogan for the merchants in downtown Carlsbad. At the September Village Voices meeting, over 20 village merchants gathered to plan out the upcoming holiday season, even though we’re still sweeping sand from our thresholds left behind by summer shoppers. Ideas for new events, including a holiday concert, a “Shop Hop,” a “Taste of Carlsbad,” and new “Shop Local” marketing campaigns were discussed. Even a new tagline for the village experience was tossed about.
With Labor Day in our rearview mirror and football season in full swing, village merchants are thinking of Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and how to create undeniable holiday ambience to carry us through the end of the year. That’s where the “It takes a village” concept comes into play. When small businesses band together, we offer a more powerful shopping experience. Competing with the big box stores and the growing myriad of online stores isn’t for the faint of heart. So, the merchants are planning now to ensure that shopping and dining in the village this season will be well worth it and well worth repeating.
Why shop local? A widely acknowledged statistic shows that roughly $68 of every $100 spent locally, at a small business, stays in the local economy whereas only $43 of that same $100 spent at a big box store stays in the local economy. Statistics don’t show what the impact of that same $100 spent online at a mega site like Amazon or Zappos is on our local economy, but experience points toward even less of a measurable impact if any.
Another reason to shop local is for the personal customer service that is hard to find in a mall or online environment. Chamber Member, Zac Markham, owner of Humble Olive Oils, says that knowing his customers by name and by what they routinely order is important. “I want my customers to feel at home when they are in my store. My customers appreciate being greeted by name and the fact that I remember what they routinely purchase,” Markham said. “This familiarity also enables me to make educated suggestions for them which enhances their experience with my product and their overall shopping experience.”
Also, local businesses tend to collaborate with other small businesses. For example, two Chamber member restaurants in the village, The Compass and Café Topes, both use olive oil and balsamics from Markham’s product line. In addition, Adam Stuart, the head chef from The Compass, shops weekly at the State Street Farmers’ Market and features his locally-purchased items on the menu. These are great examples of our local dollars staying right here in our own community.
Not just for the upcoming holiday season, but for every season, we hope you will consider the village as your go-to destination for dining, shopping and playing.