WATSONVILLE — According to the National Retail Federation, more than 115 million people across the nation are expected to shop on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving where retailers slash prices to attract droves of holiday shoppers.

Another 78 million are planning to shop online during Cyber Monday, when shoppers forgo the brick-and-mortar locations and order gifts from such giants as Amazon.

But a rising number of people say they will support Small Business Saturday, an event founded by American Express in 2010 meant to encourage shoppers to patronize small businesses. According to the annual survey by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics, 76 percent of the 71 million people who say they are going to shop on Saturday claimed they will do so because of Small Business Saturday.

Shoppers in Watsonville will now have even more of an incentive to shop locally. For the first time, the East Lake Village Shopping Center will attempt to draw in shoppers for Small Business Saturday with a variety of deals and activities.

Hayrides and Christmas caroling will be featured from 1-4 p.m., with live music being performed at Carmona’s BBQ Deli from 1-6 p.m. A special Christmas drink will be available from Coffeeville, and Central Coast Shipping and Screen Printing will be offering custom embroidered Christmas stockings and hats for purchase.

The Pajaro Valley Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture teamed up with the East Lake Village Shopping Center to put on the event.

“We love it,” Chamber President/CEO Shaz Roth said about Small Business Saturday. “When you support a small local business, it means your dollars are going to remain local and will be spent over and over.”

Small Business Saturday is not only growing nationwide, with an estimated $15.4 billion generated in 2016, according to American Express, but across Santa Cruz County as well.

The Santa Cruz County Office for Economic Development reports that more than 2,000 local businesses participated in Small Business Saturday last year, which was more than double the number in 2015.

“It’s great to see how much this event is growing as the community comes together to support local small businesses,” Economic Development Coordinator Barbara Mason stated in a press release. “This is truly becoming a countywide celebration of our craftspeople and entrepreneurs.”


For information, visit www.americanexpress.com/us/small-business/shop-small or www.facebook.com/santacruzcountysmallbusinesssaturday.

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