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Carlsbad Village is one of several North County coastal cities hosting a Small Business Saturday event on Nov. 26, offering customers deals and promotions. Photo courtesy of Visit Carlsbad
Carlsbad Village is one of several North County coastal cities hosting a Small Business Saturday event on Nov. 26, offering customers deals and promotions. Photo courtesy of Visit Carlsbad
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Carlsbad, Del Mar, Encinitas gear up for Small Business Saturday

REGION — The retail season is expected to take a hit this holiday season as inflation, and potential recession concerns loom over shoppers nationwide. 

However, the annual Small Business Saturday event in Carlsbad Village is expected to boom, according to Christine Davis, executive director of the Carlsbad Village Association. Since the pandemic, Davis said consumer behavior has largely shifted to favor local and small businesses.

The annual event, which starts at 10 a.m. on Nov. 26, showcases businesses in the Village and offers several promotions, such as a total of $1,500 in gift cards for restaurants, holiday deals, free swag, a shopping passport featuring 50 businesses and live music.

“We’re asking people to come down, shop small, support their local businesses and get a jump on their holiday shopping,” Davis said.

Cardiff 101 Main Street Association is also hosting a Small Business Saturday event to encourage shoppers to buy local from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Nov. 26 at Cardiff Town Center and the surrounding area. The event will feature sidewalk sales, local specials and pop-up shops, and a limited-edition print will be gifted to shoppers who purchase at certain businesses.

Even with growing concerns over a slowing economy, Davis said the number of consumers who moved to support small and local businesses over the past few years indicates “Main Street” may see more robust sales than larger corporate retailers.

“I hope I’m not being foolishly optimistic,” Davis said. “I just haven’t seen as great support for small businesses. It’s very rewarding.”

On a larger scale regarding Black Friday, Bret Schanzenbach, CEO of the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce, who studies consumer trends, said more prominent retail outlets are focusing less on Black Friday by stretching the unofficial shopping holiday to a weeklong concept — “Black Friday Week” — in a race to reach consumers. 

“When one big one does it, the others tend to follow,” Schanzenbach said.

Del Mar Village is just one of several North County coastal cities celebrating Small Business Saturday this weekend. Courtesy photo
Del Mar Village also hosts a Small Business Saturday event this weekend. Courtesy photo

Another recent trend is major outlets closing on Thanksgiving Day. Several years ago, the fourth Thursday in November typically drove buyers to camp out in front of their favorite stores in anticipation of Black Friday deals.

Much of the weeklong push is designed to drive customers online, where shopping is more straightforward and free shipping from most retailers has become somewhat the norm, Schanzenbach said.

And while the weeklong concept is in full swing, nonprofits are gearing up for Giving Tuesday, a day reserved for individuals or businesses to donate to their favorite charities or nonprofits.

Other Local Holiday Events

The Encinitas Chamber of Commerce also supports small businesses with a digital coupon book distributed at last weekend’s Encinitas Holiday Street Fair and its “Surfy the Snowman” social media campaign inspired by “Elf on the Shelf.”

Customers can follow Surfy the Snowman’s holiday adventures twice a week starting Nov. 26 on the Encinitas Chamber’s social media pages to win a $25 gift card.

All participants will also be entered into a grand prize drawing on Dec. 21 for a one-night stay at the Alila Marea Beach Resort – an $850.00 value.

“The Encinitas Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center has been supporting our local businesses for over 60 years,” said Sherry Yardley, CEO of the Encinitas Chamber of Commerce. “We are excited to bring this festive campaign to Encinitas businesses and hope to drive traffic and sales to them during this important shopping season. Chamber members interested in participating should contact [email protected].”

For more information, visit

The Del Mar Village Association will also host a Small Business Saturday event on Nov. 26 along with a lineup of festive offerings in Del Mar Village throughout the holiday season, including free all-day holiday parking for customers on certain days, a snowman scavenger hunt, restaurant “taste and sip,” and Del Mar Village Dollars. More information at

For more local holiday happenings or to share your own event in North County, visit the The Coast News’ Events Calendar.