Think Local. Shop Small

by Lisa Talley | lisa@fresnoflyer.com

Last year, shoppers spent a staggering $655.8 billion on Black Friday, just one single day of sales and specials. Even more, those numbers are split between in-store and online purchases as shoppers find fewer reasons to compete shoulder-to-shoulder in crowded stores for their prized item, putting online sales at $3.3 billion in 2016. As expected, the top numbers went to the most significant discounters: Amazon, Target, Best Buy, Walmart and Kohl’s. But imagine what would happen if small and locally owned businesses got a piece of that pie.

Currently, California outdoes all the other states with the highest number of small businesses (those employing under 100 people) and ranking number one in the nation. In fact, according to a U.S. Small Business Administration report in 2015, 99.2 percent of employers in the state are small firms (employing under 500). That’s 6.5 million employees who work for a small business and likewise, millions of reasons to spend dollars at local establishments.

When we choose to shop local, we decide to support local in a real and practical way. Whether it’s stopping in for breakfast at Chicken Pie Shop in Tower or grabbing a Poke bowl at 201 Kitchen in Hanford for lunch, the revenue they earn from your business is more likely to go back into the Central Valley. Everything from taxes, rent, and fees to purchasing supplies and services from other local vendors, it’s all money pouring right back here at home to improve and strengthen the local economy.

There are also some additional perks that you’ll be hard-pressed to find at the big stores as well.

It’s not uncommon for patrons to walk into a small business and unknowingly engage with the owner who is either helping their sales force move items or holding down the front desk to assist customers. In this event, a customer who is looking for the best deal has an increased chance at negotiating a better price if they’re working with the owner. Each business has their set of costs, but without a large corporation tying their hands with regulations and strict policies, the owner can work with their customer on-the-spot to beat the competition.

Building a holiday wish list can, for many, be a bit of a ritual – tireless research for the right model, brand, technical specs, price and for the store offering the best deal – however, small businesses tend to be overlooked as shoppers plan their Black Friday and holiday shopping. The Central Valley has plenty to offer and a wide range of small, locally owned businesses to choose from.

Here are just a few we’ve had the pleasure of working with.

1. Jensen & Watts – Owner: Jeff Johnston

Family owned and operated since 1960, this Fresno business specializes in outdoor equipment. Lawn mowers, generators, power saws, edgers, chainsaws, vacuums, etc. Jensen & Watts also provide parts, services, and accessories for Stihl, Honda, Tanaka, Briggs and Stratton, Kawasaki, Ariens, and Tecumseh.

Located at 516 N Chestnut Ave, Fresno. (559) 255-0465 www.JensenandWatts.com

2. Fresno Hock Shoppe – Owner: Robbie Van Gronigen

Fresno Hock Shoppe has been a Belmont Ave figure, locally owned and operated, for 30 years. Robbie took over ownership five years ago, although he has worked for the Hock Shoppe the entire 30 years it has been open. The pawn shop sells a variety of items like guitars, basses, musical instruments, tools, electronics like tablets, laptops and game consoles, and firearms. The staff, always eager to help, are known for their youthful and energetic approach.

Between now and Christmas, Hock Shoppe is offering 30% off jewelry and select electronics (except layaways).

The Fresno Hock Shoppe also offers a variety of items on eBay, and you can also check out their inventory on their website at www.FresnoHockShop.com

3. TV Guyz – Owner: Edgar Sandoval

Locally owned and operated for three years, TV Guyz – if the name didn’t already give it away – specialize in TVs, computers, gaming consoles, and games. One thing you wouldn’t expect is that they also offer furniture. TV Guyz can also repair cellphones, computers, and gaming consoles.

Currently, TV Guyz is offering $60 Firesticks (Kodi installed) $130 Fire TV box, and 32 inch TVs for $90 during the holiday season.

Located at 4843 N Blackstone Ave Fresno. View their inventory and services at www.TheTVGuyz.com (559) 493-8403

4. Karkazian Jewelers – Owner: George Karkazian

Family Owned since 1978, George Karkazian opened his first store on West & Shields, and soon after, Karkazian Jewelers moved to the corner of Shaw and Willow where they established themselves as one of the Valley’s leaders in jewelry/watch sales and repair for over 40 years. In July 2007, Karkazian Jewelers added a second location in north Fresno at the corner of Friant and Ft. Washington. In February 2009, Karkazian Jewelers moved their Clovis location two blocks to East, right on Shaw Avenue between Willow and Peach.

Karkazian Jewelers focuses on quality jewelry with a pleasant buying experience. One of the few jewelers that can cut and polish your chipped diamonds.

Located at 493 W. Shaw Ave Suite B Clovis (559) 297-0201  9447 Ft Washington Rd #110 Fresno (559) 434-9009 www.KarkazianJewelers.com

5. Bebe O’s Vintage Boutique – Owners: Lupe and Martin Oftedal

Born and raised in Fresno, Lupe and Martin opened up Bebe O’s after Lupe suffered an injury at work. They began selling new and used designer clothing and are now a vintage only store. Specializing in vintage fashions and furnishings, Bebe O’s also offers vintage party wears perfect for themed parties. Customers can even rent pieces for a special occasion in which you’ll receive some tailored attention.

Lupe and Martin say it’s not unusual to have a client several hours in the shop as they are trying on a variety of clothes and fitted properly.

Bebe O’s is also active in the local community, often involved in fundraising efforts. Some of the causes they’ve raised money and items for include cancer, autism, homelessness, battered women, and education. In fact, on December 16 they will be hosting their 8th Annual Christmas Party and Toy Drive. There will be refreshments, entertainment, plus discounts and giveaways. Admission is a donated unwrapped toy.

Located at 1130 N Wishon Ave, Fresno. (559) 445-1928

6. Deans Coins – Family Owned Over 30 years

This family owned and operated pawn shop carries a variety of items including jewelry, TVs, tablets, and tools just to name a few. For the holiday season, they’re offering 10% off all TVs.

Located at 2325 E McKinley Ave Fresno. (559) 264-4653 www.DeansCoins.com

Be safe as you head out to hunt down that perfect must-have thing on your wish list, but don’t forget to check out the local guys – you never know what you’ll find. Happy shopping!

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