Shop Small and Support Small Businesses in Carlsbad This Holiday Season

November 21, 2022

With many shopping options across the city, it’s easy to shop small and support small businesses in Carlsbad this holiday season.

Shoppers can get a jumpstart on their holiday shopping during Small Business Saturday at Carlsbad Village.

The first 100 attendees to check-in at the Carlsbad Village Association hospitality booth at the corner of Grand Avenue and State Street will receive a free reusable canvas tote bag. Shoppers can also pick up a shopping passport that promotes more than 40 stores offering specials, discounts, or gifts with purchase. There will also be $1,500 in dining gift card giveaways and a $100 restaurant gift card photo contest.

Small Business Saturday, which takes place Saturday, Nov. 26, encourages consumers to support local businesses by shopping small — and businesses throughout Carlsbad are participating in the annual event.

Small Business Saturday is Nov. 26. (Courtesy of Carlsbad Village Association)

American Express launched the shopping holiday on the Saturday after Thanksgiving in 2010, amid the Great Recession, to encourage people to shop small and redirect holiday shopping to small businesses.

The movement has gained momentum over the years. In 2011, the Senate passed a resolution recognizing the shopping holiday, and today, Small Business Saturday is observed in all 50 states. Consumers have reported spending an estimated $163 billion at small businesses across all 12 Small Business Saturdays combined, according to American Express.

Carlsbad businesses are hoping for a big turnout locally this year, with some businesses still working to make up the revenue they lost during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Keeping our dollars local now is more important than ever before as we continue post-pandemic to thrive and repair the damage that was done,” said Christine Davis, executive director of the Carlsbad Village Association, a nonprofit organization that champions Carlsbad Village by promoting and enhancing its business, cultural and community vitality.

Carlsbad Village has become a premier shopping, dining, and entertainment destination for Carlsbad and all of San Diego’s North County. 

The Village offers “the best shopping experience,” for North County residents, according to Davis.

“Where else can you shop and dine and experience a beautiful outdoor setting just two blocks from the beach?” she said. “It’s truly a community and village experience.”

Get a jumpstart on holiday shopping during Small Business Saturday at Carlsbad Village. (Courtesy of Carlsbad Village Association) 

Downtown Carlsbad is a distinctive shopping destination because it’s outdoors, walkable and features a variety of restaurants, retailers, and services. In fact, Davis said there are roughly 100 eateries and 80 retail stores in the Village.

“It’s very relaxing, comfortable, enjoyable, and accessible,” Davis said. “I think we’re a very accessible village. There’s so much just within a small amount of walking distance.” 

Trove Marketplace is another home goods store on State Street. A couple owns the store, which features items from more than 40 independent vendors.

Coolest Shoes in California, also on State Street, is the Village’s only all-shoe store. Owner Megan MacIntyre also owns Blues and Shoes, Flourish, and Ragz Revolution, all in the Village.

Family owned and operated Humble Olive Oils on State Street offers olive oils from around the world and several varieties of aged balsamic vinegars.

Hollywood Barn is another example of a unique place to find gifts on State Street.

With Small Business Saturday around the corner, it’s already beginning to look a lot like Christmas in Carlsbad Village.

The Carlsbad Village Association had 20 light poles on Carlsbad Village Drive professionally wrapped with mountain pine garlands and decorated with big red and gold bows. The light poles are also decorated with large bows and a dozen baskets of poinsettias on State Street, a main dining and shopping corridor.

“It has a festive flair,” Davis said. “Some of the windows of the retailers are also already decorated for the holidays. As the kickoff to the holidays, we invite all residents to come down and get unique gifts and experience what true customer service is all about.”

“You’re helping fulfill the dream of a small business owner,” she added. “Where would we be without our small businesses? These are our family-owned businesses, our mom-and-pop shops, and our solopreneurs. Supporting the dream of a small business owner is key.”

The Beacon La Costa is another booming Carlsbad shopping destination.

The 123,000-square-foot shopping center, which recently underwent a $10 million renovation, offers a collection of curated shops, contemporary designers, eateries, independent merchants and other services.

The Beacon is home to a variety of small businesses and big brands, including fast casual restaurant Sweetgreen, restaurant chain Shake Shack, and butcher shop The Wise Ox.

La Costa Wine Co. has been at the shopping center for nearly a decade. The store offers a variety of wines, beers, and cheeses, and features a full wine bar with tastings and pop-up events.

“It really has become that community destination that I had always hoped to create,” said owner Michelle Velchek, who bought the business about eight years ago.

Michelle Velchek owns La Costa Wine Co. (Credit: Studio Carre’ Photographie)

La Costa Wine has been in the community for about 20 years and located at The Beacon for roughly nine years, Velchek said.

“The Beacon is an eclectic mix of more local to regional businesses — and that’s the goal with a few larger anchors,” said Velchek, who has lived in Carlsbad for more than 30 years.

Several women-owned small businesses at The Beacon teamed up to create a holiday punch card, encouraging customers to shop small for a chance to win big this holiday season.

“We’re pretty excited to support each other,” Velchek said.

La Costa Wine Co. offers a variety of wines, beers, and cheeses. (Credit: Studio Carre’ Photographie)

Customers can get one punch per purchase at participating businesses to fill the card and enter to win a drawing for $250 worth of products and services. The promotion runs from Small Business Saturday on Nov. 26 through Saturday, Dec. 3. Participating businesses include La Costa Wine Co., as well as home goods store Adobe by Jess Vargas, women’s fashion boutique Bloom, boutique med spa Glow Theory, and stationery and gift boutique Shout and About.

“Small businesses really are the backbone of the community,” Velchek said. “They are people who live in this community. We contribute to the schools and local charities. We have kids that go to school here. It’s important to us to support our community. Hopefully, in turn, the community supports us.”

Carlsbad offers other shopping centers and many ways to invest in the city’s community and economy.

Other local shopping destinations include Carlsbad Premium Outlets, which has about 90 designer and name-brand outlet stores that offer everyday savings. The Forum Carlsbad is an outdoor shopping center with a collection of restaurants and stores. The Shoppes at Carlsbad has a variety of retail stores, along with department stores JCPenney and Macy’s and Regal Cinemas.

An estimated $0.68 of every dollar spent at a small business stays in that business’s local community, according to a study by American Express. Furthermore, every dollar spent at small businesses creates an additional $0.48 in local business activity with employees and local businesses purchasing local goods and services.

“I am so grateful for the support of our community,” Davis said. “We have some very dedicated locals that continue to shop small, day after day, week after week.

“One of the reasons Carlsbad has such amazing streets, fire department, police department and infrastructure is because we have a strong economy,” she added. “And when we shop local, our tax dollars stay local.”