And in this corner… | Nov. 17

Nov. 25 is an important day in Bixby Knolls. It’s Small Business Saturday. You may already know about Black Friday or Cyber Monday, which are designed to stimulate shopping for the larger big-box retailers. But Small Business Saturday is a critical component for your neighborhood.

American Express sponsored Small Business Saturday in 2010 to give attention to brick-and-mortar businesses around the country that cannot compete with the huge marketing machines of national corporations.

I think we all can agree that every day is a good day to support our local businesses. And we all know how important it is for our local economy. And we all know that a healthy, thriving business district is important for our neighborhoods. So, we rely on all of you to participate and help with this wonderful village of ours.

What I am really getting at is we need you to spend some money right here in the Bixby Knolls business district.

Folks, we are pretty fortunate right now. The area had a period of being dark and quiet– loaded with vacancies– but right now we have more and more businesses coming to invest in the neighborhood. We are the envy of other parts of the city.

But we cannot just sit back and applaud this fact and think it’s good enough to just drive by and wave at it all.

Everyone has to take part in keeping the district vibrant and healthy. I always say that it’s not legit to mourn a business when it’s gone or about to shut down. The right thing to do is to celebrate them all while they are here. And definitely celebrate the fact that the district has come to life! (Does anyone really want to go back to a dark and vacant district?) So, the bottom line is we are relying on you to spend some money in our businesses. It’s a regular part of your investment into the neighborhood where you live.

We have added a fun game for Small Business Saturday. Bixby Knolls Bingo is for you to play between now and Nov. 30. You, the community member, shop, dine or use services in the district, attach your receipts to the Bingo card and turn them in to enter to win prizes. You can go to our websit– bixbyknollsinfo.com– to download the Bingo card or find one at a local business and start playing immediately. Event details, sales, programs and other fun bits are posted on our website. It’s a fun incentive to get you to explore and discover the district. Simple as that.

Enter as many times as you wish using a new card. You can find the cards on our website or in person at a few different locations around the neighborhood.

What can you win? The two grand prizes are a $100 and $75 gift card to any business within the Bixby Knolls Business Improvement Association district. And if you do a “blackout” of the card (filling in every square), you automatically receive a $100 gift card to the business of your choice.

So…we want to invite everyone to “discover” a local business between today and Nov. 30 by shopping, dining, and/or using a service in the “greater Bixby Knolls area.” Take this time to meet our small-business owners and spend some money in their place.

When you start to really explore, you’ll discover that many of our businesses offer exceptional expertise. Patrick from Stateside Crafts has incredible knowledge to share about beer and cider. The attention and service from the gals at Lucy’s Boudoir is award-winning. Miss Hilde creates amazing costumes for dancers across the county. Servando from Orozco’s Auto Service lives so close he can walk to his shop on Atlantic Avenue. Jason from Dutch’s Brewhouse lives right around the corner and offers incredible pizzas in his place. Katie from The Better Half Boutique is guaranteed to remember your name and life story after meeting you once. Healthway Foods has more expertise and a huge library of resources as any chain health-food stores. Stephen from Hashtag Burgers is prepared to make you something extra delicious. Jane owns both Baskin-Robbins stores and can be seen giving out free ice cream at our Kidical Mass ride and school events. Bjoern from Rasselbock also lives around the corner and sells his pretzels himself at First Fridays so he can meet the community.

Try as many local options as possible. Get a car wash or haircut, or treat someone to a salon day. Head to the dry cleaners, use printing services, ship packages off to friends and loved ones. Try a Cinnamon Bomb from The Merchant.

It’s always the right time for shave ice at Steelcraft. Try a workout in our gyms. Buy clothing. Stop by the pharmacy. And who wouldn’t want a Lemon Lush pie from Bake & Broil or something sweet from Polly’s?

Try a sandwich from Handy’s Smoked Meats. Hang out with Sandra at Furniture Consignment and More and stroll the aisles. Meet Norm from Edward Jones, and he’ll convince you to join his soccer team (and manage your finances). Visit Mary at Baja Sonora and say “Blair sent me.” She’ll give you a sly smile and probably a hug. And here’s an easy one: buy a friend a treat on the “pay-it-forward-board” at Willmore Wine Bar.

Online shopping can be fun– I get it. And having a package delivered to your door without parking hassles or long lines can be addicting. But it’s the face-to-face, hands-on interactions inside the stores that makes a world of difference.

I used to think this statement was a cliché, but mom-and-pop business owners represent the American Dream. Truly. And many of our business owners live in the neighborhood. That’s a double bonus. Eighty-five percent of our city is made of small businesses, and that’s an extra-special statistic for Long Beach to brag about. You can brag about your neighborhood being extra special, too.

So, on behalf of the BKBIA, we wish you all a wonderful kick-off to the holiday season with lots of good cheer and laughter. And please commit to investing in your neighborhood by putting some dollars inside your local businesses on Small Business Saturday. You’ll feel great by doing so, and your heart will grow three sizes in your chest.

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