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Small Business Saturday keeps surging in Roseville, Rocklin

By: Scott Thomas Anderson, Editor
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Living in the cluttered bastion of box stores that spackles South Placer County, independent business owners sometimes feel they are in a David and Goliath-type struggle to reach customers: But as Small Business Saturday is out to prove across the nation, sometimes independent business owners can bring the products, service, knowledge and shopping ambiance mega-retailers simply can’t compete with.

Taking place Nov. 30, Small Business Saturday is national shopping holiday designed to support and champion independent stores. The idea was the brainchild of American Express, which founded it in 2010 and has added financial incentives to its customers who participate in it ever since.

One store that’s about to experience its very first Small Business Saturday is Roseville Cyclery, which opened several months ago at 404 Vernon St. This week, owners Oliver and Yi Bell were stringing up flashy Christmas decorations, making displays with top-quality kids bicycles by Giant and getting ready for Small Business Saturday.

“Kids bikes look like they’ll be one of the main things people are shopping for this season,” Oliver said. “But our bike-riding apparel — the jackets, sweatshirts and gloves — are already starting to be some go-to items for the holiday season.”

For those who have an absolute cycling fanatic to buy gifts for, Oliver said two nutritional books — “The Feed Zone” and “Feed Zone Portables” — are thoughtful and solid gifts that won’t go unappreciated.

“People who are die-hard into cycling absolutely love these books on sports nutrition,” Oliver observed. “They show you how to eat like a top-performing athlete, and the ‘Portables’ book also shows you how to make and pack those types of meals with you for long rides.”

Yi Oliver added that Roseville Cyclery has no shortage of stocking stuffers.

“We have socks, winter headbands, arm warmers, leg warmers and small nutritional items,” Yi said. “We’ve been really excited about the holiday parade because we think new people will be stopping in to look around.”

Not far from Roseville Cyclery, the creative spirits at Beatnik Books are also prepping for the holiday season. To them, Small Business Saturday is an important symbol of how independent stores help give a city its special character and charm.

“I really believe that every dollar you spend is a vote for the community you want to live in,” Beatnik Books owner Chelsea Johnson said of shopping local. “In a culture and place where big advertising and cookie cutter experiences are the standard, it is extremely important to use your votes mindfully … We have a family that has committed to coming in and spending at least $60 at the store a couple times a month.  We love them: Not in a general Walmart share-holders-appreciate-their-third-villa kind of way, we love and appreciate them specifically. This family allows us to pay a significant chunk or our expenses each month, and with just a handful of likeminded locals a business like Beatnik can stay open and thrive.”

Customer support has allowed Beatnik Books to recently double the size of its operation at 309 Lincoln St., adding 5000 more books to its collection, with a soon-to-be unveiled Kids’ Room on the way. The store has also added selections of $5 vintage and brand name clothes, along with unique furniture and vintage curiosities. Record-lovers can dig into the store vast selection of $3 vinyl albums.  

“So many people in Roseville miss out on buying one-of-a-kind gifts for their loved ones from local stores,” Beatnik Books manager Laura Hillen. “Buying from local shops and artisans this holiday season makes for a more intimate gift - one that comes with history, character and thought. It’s wonderful watching people gift shop in the store, they get so excited at giving unique gift perfectly suited for their friends; that kind of enthusiasm is definitely infectious.”

Hillen added, “Because advertising and marketing ventures are dictated primarily by corporations, local businesses simply can't receive as much exposure as national ones do. In the chaos of today's world, that kind of gap in marketing can really hurt: Small Business Saturday is great because it urges people to go out and discover businesses in their neighborhood and opens up the possibility that individuals will fall in love with their local shops and start to utilize them more.”

One business in Rocklin that’s also jazzed about Small Business Saturday is Bark Avenue, a store that specializes in high-quality and hard-to-find pet products. Bark Avenue opened five weeks ago at 4187 Granite Drive. Owner Robin Mizell says her shop helps locals jump into the holiday spirit by getting Christmas clothes for their favorite pet.

“Customers usually come in looking for sweaters, reindeer antlers and Santa hats for their pets,” Mizell said. “For us, Christmas shopping is really about helping families get festive by bringing their animals into the celebration: It helps overall, because customers can come in and see that we have full grooming services, premium dog and cat food and an educated, knowledgeable staff that can them in a way employees at a box store won’t.”

As far as Small Business Saturday goes, Mizell sums up the importance with a straightforward observation: “I love the holiday,” she said. “Anything that creates an awareness about what local business owners offer is important.”