Mission Hills shops participate in Small Business Saturday

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SAN DIEGO – Carefully decorated storefronts in Mission Hills made the perfect place to get lost in for an afternoon of treasure hunting on “Small Business Saturday.”

Tucked in between craftsman homes in the Mission Hills neighborhood, there’s a quaint little street called Lewis.  Jimmy Ferrari opened a small specialty card shop there called With Love 10 years ago.

“I choose my cards one by one.  I look at everything before I buy it. I also like to support local artists,” said Ferrari.  It’s that love and individual attention that keeps his customers coming back.

“It’s a chance to meet the owners, learn why they started their business and what their philosophies are,” said Bruce Sterling who came from East County just to shop the area.

A recent survey by American Express found about half of American shoppers know what Small Business Saturday is. An answer to Black Friday and Cyber Monday benefiting big box stores.

In the survey, 80 percent of the people said they were willing to spend a little bit more to support a local business.

“Seventy percent of the money that you spend goes right back into the local economy. We help to throw community parties and decorate the neighborhood,” Ferrari said.

Ferrari and his wife, Valarie Lee, are sort of mini Mission Hills moguls. They own four businesses on the block including a salon and two boutique clothing stores called La Bel Age and Chateau Bel Age. Lee opened the first business on her own more than 30 years ago.

“We give personalized shopping attention. All the pieces here I pick myself and you can’t find anywhere else,” she said. “We do see a spike – about 20 more customers on this day, which is a lot.”

Small Business Saturday is a welcomed boost every year.

Nationally, 8 million consumers shopped on Small Business Saturday last year, up 15 percent from the year before. They collectively spent $14.3 billion on just that day.

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