U.S. Rep. Janice Hahn joined fellow shoppers in the Riviera Shopping Village Saturday to shop local and support small businesses during the second annual nationwide campaign known as Small Business Saturday.
Started by American Express last year, the campaign encouraged shoppers to shop local on one of the busiest shopping weekends of the year. As an extra incentive, registered shoppers who spent at least $25 on their American Express cards at qualifying small businesses on Saturday will receive a $25 credit on their billing statement.
To support the campaign, Rep. Hahn shopped at local stores at the Riviera Shopping Village including , , and the children's boutique, Lollipop.
"I think today is a great reminder to people that... you can't beat shopping locally and in small businesses," said Rep. Hahn, D-San Pedro. "These are the businesses that are hiring people. These are the businesses that are really helping our economy."
Hahn also pointed out her belief that shopping local offers a degree of personalization that bigger stores can't always offer.
"Small business kind of help you pick out the perfect gift ... They know what your preferences are," said Hahn. "It is friendlier, it is more convenient, and I think it helps the local community."
In Redondo Beach, many small-business owners said they hoped the campaign would draw in some extra business.
However, Debbie Talosi, co-owner of Fringe, said that many local residents are already very supportive of small businesses in Redondo Beach.
"Instead of going to the busy malls and getting pepper sprayed at big stores, we are protecting our people and they are being loyal to us shopping here," said Talois, referencing a recent incident where a Walmart shopper pepper sprayed other customers while scrambling for an Xbox on Black Friday.
Across the street at Lollipop, store owner Veronica Maguire said that at her business, she strives to know her customers, the economy, and what shoppers can afford these days. She said this personalization gives her a leg up on her competition, including online retailers.
"Our customers really want to shop in small businesses. They like to come in and have the experience and they can't have that on the internet," said Maguire.
Maguire also noted that when people shop at her store, they generally go and support other businesses in Riviera Village when they eat at restaurants, get their hair done, or browse other stores on the street.
"[Shopping local] builds community and that is what we really need in this environment," said Maguire.