The small businesses of Eagle Rock will roll out a collective welcome mat on Saturday, Nov. 24, with retailers and service businesses up and down the boulevards offering some of their best deals of the year and sponsoring special events.
The occasion is Shop Small Saturday, the Saturday after Thanksgiving, when small businesses nationwide showcase themselves to their local communities.
In Eagle Rock, balloons designed by Haley Solar, the owner of the Junim LA clothing boutique, will adorn the outside of participating shops, while inside, business owners and managers will personally meet-and-greet the customers. Shoppers will have a chance to see, touch and sample the goods and services on offer – a sharp contrast to the frenzied shopping of Black Friday and the impersonal shopping on Cyber Monday.
The word “struggling” is often associated with small business, but Shop Small Saturday is about thriving. When Leanna Lin, of Leanna Lin’s Wonderland gift shop, organized the community’s first Shop Small Saturday in 2011, a handful of retailers on Eagle Rock Blvd. participated. The following year, shops and restaurants on Colorado Blvd. joined in. Each year, the number of participants has grown. By 2016, there were 47. Last year, there were 56. This year, nearly 70 businesses have said they’re interested in participating. You’ll be able to spot them by the balloons.
There’s also a serious side to Shop Small Saturday. Brisk business during the holiday season is crucial to the financial survival of many small businesses. In turn, the survival of small businesses is crucial to the development and survival of shopping corridors – Main Streets, if you will – or, in the case of Eagle Rock, Colorado Blvd. and Eagle Rock Blvd. In a very real sense, when you shop small, you boost your own community.
Another plus to shopping small is that your dollars stay in the community, in the form of profits and paychecks for the people who own local businesses and employ local workers.
In the Fun Zones
In Eagle Rock, Shop Small Saturday will include two fun zones:
The Family Zone, with arts crafts, games, face painting and music will be located on the patio of The Green Bean, a children’s clothing boutique near the intersection of Eagle Rock Blvd. and Colorado Blvd.
The Health-and-Fitness Zone will be hosted by Back Benders, the center for chiropractic, massage and wellness at Colorado Blvd. and Dahlia Drive. There will be $1-a-minute chair massages; 25-minute Pilates jump board classes for $20; $40 massages, sound healing and other body work for humans to choose from; and even Reiki massage for pets, for $40. There will also be pop ups in the Health-and-Fitness Zone, where you can have a tarot card reading and buy one-of-a-kind records, mystical gifts or baked goods from a bake sale to benefit the aquatics program at Eagle Rock High School. It all gets started at 7 a.m. and goes until 4 p.m.
One more thing: Be sure to pick up and wear the collectible “We Heart Eagle Rock” button from participating merchants. The button was designed by the Mera Group, the Eagle Rock-based marketing consultancy, as a way to thank customers and spread the word about shopping small. Buttons are free on Shop Small Saturday. After that, they will be on sale at Leanna Lin’s Wonderland (5024 N. Eagle Rock Blvd.).
T.A. Hendrickson, a native of Eagle Rock, is the editor of the Boulevard Sentinel, and a former member of the Editorial Board of the New York Times. Hendrickson is committed to local news reporting and to finding a way forward for local news outlets in today's challenging media markets.