Yucca Valley’s small businesses celebrate holiday season

Tonya Van Parys gives Austin Alfaro, a 22-year-old Marine, a tattoo during Small Business Saturday at Strata Tattoo Lab.

YUCCA VALLEY — Small businesses come in all shapes and sizes, from locally run tattoo studios and coffee houses to art galleries and florists.

Small Business Saturday, held Nov. 30, was a day dedicated to supporting small businesses across the country.

This year marked the 10th annual Small Business Saturday, which falls between Black Friday and Cyber Monday and serves as the kickoff to the holiday season for independent retailers and restaurateurs.

Strata Tattoo Lab celebrated in its new location on Mohawk Trail. The business offered the “gift that literally lasts a lifetime” with 20 percent off all gift certificates of $100 or more all day Saturday.

“We do it every year for Small Business Saturday,” said Strata Tattoo Lab owner Jay’e Jones.

Saturday was a busy day for the business and the artists were already fully booked.

Austin Alfaro, 22, who is on active duty in the Marines, said he was happy to help out a small business while getting inked. Alfaro had less than 10 days left in the military and was celebrating with one of his favorite pastimes — getting a new tattoo.

Tonya Van Parys, a tattoo artist for more than 15 years, helped Alfaro achieve his tattoo goals.

Artfx & Furnishings advertised with bright blue Small Business Saturday posters and flags outside the Old Town business.

Owner Carlos Reyes said he’d had about 132 customers in the store by around 4 p.m. Saturday.

Reyes said most of his customers are tourists traveling from outside of the Morongo Basin.

“We’re surviving on tourists,” Reyes said. “Locals are not here in Old Town. It’s mostly tourists.”

Morongo Basin small-business owners said they hope the momentum will continue throughout the holidays, with shoppers remembering that small businesses are the heartbeat of the community.

According to American Express, consumers reported spending more than $100 billion at small businesses on Small Business Saturday over the past nine years. The company estimates that two-thirds of every dollar spent at a small business stays in the community.

“Retail is changing, but local shops are the fabric of our communities, helping them to thrive in the future is part of our brand ethos and backing promise,” Elizabeth Rutledge, American Express chief marketing officer, said in a news release.

Cactus Flower Florist & Farms owner Lindsy Gummig said she has always participated in Small Business Saturday, but in recent years has seen less buzz about it.

“I posted it on Facebook and Instragram,” Gummig said. “We do it every year. The first years American Express did it was a hit.”

American Express founded Small Business Saturday in 2010. It originally offered $25 to cardholders to use at small shops, but the amount dwindled and this year there is no incentive offer. A corporate spokeswoman told Fortune magazine that the day had taken hold in the U.S., so incentives are no longer necessary.

Data released on Dec. 1 found U.S. shoppers who shopped at independent retailers and restaurants on Small Business Saturday reported spending a record high $19.6 billion.

According to a 2019 Consumer Insights Survey, 97 percent of consumers who shopped on Small Business Saturday agree that small businesses are essential to their community.

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