As the holiday season approaches, shopping locally and supporting independently owned shops and restaurants is more important than ever for small businesses, as basic as supporting the community in which you live. To jump-start the action and offer the best holiday shopping possible, the city of Alameda — in partnership with the Alameda Chamber of Commerce and the Downtown, West and Greater Alameda business associations — has launched a Spend Local campaign for the 2020 holiday season, inviting everyone to spend the holidays in Alameda.
The campaign has three components. The first, Spend Local Marketing, uses web, print and social media advertising to encourage residents to shop money locally this holiday season. Spend Local Giveaway, the second component, encourages local retailers to provide a complimentary gift bag to any customer spending more than $50 at their establishments to show their appreciation. The gift bags contain a machine-washable and reusable facemask with a filter insert pocket and an Alameda Strong logo; hand sanitizer; and a keychain sanitizing wipe container with 30 wipes.
photo courtesy of Tanoa Stewart
courtesy of Tucker’s Ice Cream
courtesy of the Downtown Alameda Business Association
photo courtesy of Barbara Mooney
The third component is Visit & Shop Alameda Gift Cards that support participating local businesses. The program allows gift givers to show support for Alameda businesses while also providing flexibility, as they are not tied to a single business. Instead there’s something for everyone on your holiday list, from local restaurants and favorite retailers to gift and flower shops, toys, books and more, all with the aim of keeping holiday spending in Alameda.
The Shop Local campaign has worked with businesses encouraging them to communicate with the community describing the health and safety measures they’re employing and explaining how customers can access their products. The idea is to offer a range of shopping experiences, from in-person, online or personal shopping via Facetime to delivery and pickup options. Customers will find the method that allows them to shop comfortably and safely.
Businesses are encouraged to use social media and marketing emails during the holiday season as well as put special customer services into place, offering free returns, gift-wrapping and gifts with purchase and other special holiday touches. All of it is is meant to let customers know they’re valued. Many Island businesses are already on board. Known in downtown Alameda’s Park Street area for their dedicated customer service, Daisy’s Mercantile is ready for holiday shoppers with memorable shopping choices for items that people need or just love.
“When it comes to customers shopping, we offer many options. We have a website with some merchandise; many customers text us what they would like, and we text back pictures of options,” said Barbara Mooney. “Private appointments are available for those who need to be extra careful or just aren’t ready for much interaction with many people yet.”
Toy Safari Toys is well stocked with new and used favorites for unguided play, as well as classics, vintage and collectibles. At Bead Inspirations, enthusiasts will find jewelry-making kits, beading tools, beautiful beads and more. Park Street Wine Cellars, specializing in French and Italian wines, is anticipating a new shipment of wine from France, including many special selections for the holidays including Champagnes.
“Owner Christopher Massie is a certified sommelier with more than 30 years in the business and is happy to provide personalized advice in selecting a great wine in any price range from $15 to $100 per bottle,” said Theresa Massie.
West End’s Webster Street district businesses are also on the holiday wagon with gift ideas for everyone on holiday lists. At Feathered Outlaw, handcrafted jewelry, clothing and ritual bath and body goods will satisfy anyone looking for extraordinary gifts. J Gallerie suggests gifts of high-end home furnishings, art and consignment, while J Couture deals in highly coveted contemporary, designer and vintage clothing, accessories, bags and shoes.
Gift certificates for meals make great stocking stuffers. Choices include Café Jolie where brunch is served all day, along with breakfast and lunch; Thai food from Bhan Mae Vane; Phnom Penh House’s taste of Southeast Asia and authentic Chinese comfort food from Kitchen of Alameda. For Mexican food fans there’s Canasta Kitchen and Calafia Taqueria. Then for something sweet, try Donut Petit, the French-inspired donut shop tempting with hand crafted artisan donuts.
Pick up to-go orders anywhere on Webster to enjoy at the Al Fresco Dining Park at Webster Street and Taylor Avenue where picnic tables, a stage, two bars and the Healing Garden, made up of art painted boards from boarded up businesses, create the perfect al fresco experience.
The city of Alameda has pulled out all the stops to have this holiday season be a memorable one, for residents and businesses alike. With a slogan of “You can find any gift you want in Alameda,” the message is clear.
“Have this be on the top of your mind when you’re looking for a gift: ‘What do I need, and where can I get it in Alameda?’ Supporting local businesses during the holidays is probably more important than it has ever been,” said Linda Ashbury, the West Alameda Business Association’s executive director. “We always want people to stay in town and shop, and this year the local merchants have had such a difficult time that it’s really important that Alameda dollars stay in Alameda. There couldn’t be a better time to support our local merchants.”
Marta Yamamoto is a freelance writer, longtime Bay Area resident and outdoor enthusiast. Contact her at email@example.com.
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Author: Marta Yamamoto