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SCV businesses prepare for Small Business Saturday

Owner, Cynthia Rowley displays a Memory block entitled "Santa" in front of a display of limited edition Sid Dickens memory blocks at Refined Vintage Boutique in Valencia on Wednesday, November 25, 2020. Dan Watson/The Signal
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Shoppers are being invited to join small businesses across the Santa Clarita Valley in participating in the 11th annual Small Business Saturday this weekend. 

Though held nationwide each year on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, this year’s event is especially important to many local businesses as the pandemic continues to affect their business.

“It means the world when customers do come out and support us little guys,” said Cynthia Rowley, owner of Refined Vintage Boutique in Valencia. “I think if customers don’t come out and support small businesses, we’re not going to survive. Physical stores just are not going to be there.”

Dana Allison, owner of Propinquities, a women’s clothing store in Newhall, agreed, adding, “You have to shop local to keep your community alive.” 

As COVID-19 cases continue to surge and county officials consider shutting down non-essential businesses, those in the SCV are holding their breath.

Customers Caroline, left, and Chell Amsler examine a new line of select jams, spreads and mustards from Stonewall Kitchen available at Refined Vintage Boutique in Valencia on Wednesday, November 25, 2020. Dan Watson/The Signal

“We’re just keeping our fingers crossed that everything stays open,” added Kathleen Teague, owner of Maison on Main in Newhall.

Many of these small businesses have gotten creative in keeping business over the last few months, including using social media to their advantage.

“I feel like I’ve never worked so hard in my life,” Rowley said. “I’ve been doing live Facebook events, and sometimes it’s just a matter of showing people around Saturday morning before the store is open, what’s come in and it entices them to come into the store.” 

While Allison said you can’t keep people from shopping online, she does what she can to make customers enjoy their experience when coming into her shop.

“We have a really nice assortment of things, we have really good customer service, our store has a very nice ambience,” Allison added. “People like coming in here for that — you don’t get that online.”

inexpensive ceramic Santas on display at Refined Vintage Boutique in Valencia on Wednesday, November 25, 2020. Dan Watson/The Signal

Similarly, Teague thinks of shopping in-store as more of an experience. 

“Everything is just set up in a way to have a full shopping experience, as opposed to just a quick buy online,” she said. “You come in for one thing, but you find lots of other little hidden treasures.”

Teague also makes it a point to make sure every product she carries has a story.

“I can tell you about the maker, I can tell you about the business — that’s what I think is important,” she added. “Also, most of it’s made locally, so by you buying from me you’re supporting other small businesses.” 

Owner, Cynthia Rowley displays re-purposed shutters as vintage, antique wood mirrors and frames from Holland hang on the wall at Refined Vintage Boutique in Valencia on Wednesday, November 25, 2020. Dan Watson/The Signal

Both the SCV Chamber of Commerce and city of Santa Clarita have also been promoting Small Business Saturday, encouraging residents to make a big impact by shopping small and local.

“Despite 2020 having an enormous impact on our community as a whole, we are excited to rally our community together on Nov. 28 in a safe and socially distanced manner to ensure we all shop local and support our local restaurants to promote our small businesses and support the movement,” Ivan Volschenk, managing partner of Evolve Business Strategies, which manages the chamber, said in a prepared statement. “Especially with the most recent (health) order, now more than ever, with one purchase at a time, we are helping our community thrive and making a big impact by shopping small.”

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, not only do small businesses account for 99.7% of all businesses in the U.S., but also 68% of revenue generated at a local business will stay in the community.

Since the pandemic began, Rowley’s had customers come in specifically to support her and her business.

Owner Cynthia Rowley displays a Sid Dickens, limited edition Memory block entitled “Celestial Tree” at Refined Vintage Boutique in Valencia on Wednesday, November 25, 2020. Dan Watson/The Signal

“I think it’s awesome, especially in today’s world where so many people buy online,” she added. “This year especially we love that so many customers have come in and supported us already.”

So as Small Business Saturday nears, Rowley is looking forward to seeing what support her business can garner. 

Teague agreed, adding, “We have so many cute little hidden shops around Santa Clarita. Just get out and explore the city and see what we have out here.” 

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