WATSONVILLE—Cool, rainy weather did not deter Watsonville residents from stopping by East Lake Shopping Center on Saturday to celebrate Small Business Saturday.
As part of the nationwide movement known as Shop Small, created in 2010 by credit card giant American Express, Small Business Saturday aims to promote supporting small, local businesses across the country. The event is sandwiched between two of the biggest corporate shopping days of the year—“Black Friday,” the day after Thanksgiving and “Cyber Monday” the following Monday.
Small Business Saturday events have been held at the East Lake Shopping Center for the past few years, with shops opening their doors and offering specials and promotions.
“It’s an awesome way to bring people out to mix and mingle,” said Meggie Smith, Production Manager at Central Coast Screenprinting and Embroidery. “It’s a way for us to support each other.”
Smith said that Central Coast Screenprinting and Embroidery often works with new business owners, helping them design new logos and products.
“Seeing people start out… helping them come up with a concept and then seeing it printed out is great,” she said. “There’s something special about being a part of that.”
Saturday’s cold temperatures and consistent rain shut down the event’s annual hayride and caroling, which has been provided by the Agricultural History Project in recent years.
Despite this, plenty of shoppers still came by, and artisan vendors selling everything from local honey to homemade art pieces set up tables outside in front of the businesses.
Megan Frandeen of Driftwood Aptos was one such artist.
“It means a lot to be here, especially right after Black Friday,” said Frandeen, who creates wood-burning art from driftwood she collects from Seacliff State Beach. “Even with the rain and cold, people have still stopped by. It’s been great.”
Watsonville artist Emily Wong also participated, selling her homemade crafts in-person for the very first time.
“It’s about strengthening the community,” Wong said. “Showing each other support. For me, being here to share with everyone something I love to do… I’m all about that.”
For information on Shop Small visit https://www.americanexpress.com/us/small-business/shop-small/.