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The Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce's "Gift Carlsbad" program is offering bonus incentives for those purchasing gift cards. Courtesy photo
The Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce's "Gift Carlsbad" program is offering bonus incentives for those purchasing gift cards. Courtesy photo
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Carlsbad orgs want buyers to ‘shop local’ this Black Friday weekend

CARLSBAD — Shop, shop, shop. Local, local, local.

This is the message being stressed by the Carlsbad Village Association and Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce for the biggest shopping days of the year.

Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday generate tons of traffic, sales and deals across North County. On a macro level, though, there are concerns of supply chain issues as dozens of ships with thousands of containers remain parked off the ports in Los Angeles and Long Beach, having at one point stretched down to San Diego.

Christine Davis, executive director of the Carlsbad Village Association, said small businesses may not be as impacted by the struggles with the supply chain as those retailers can be more flexible and creative than bigger businesses.

“Black Friday is tough on small businesses because that is when people go to the big box stores,” Davis said. “It’s the opposite of shopping small. So, we embrace Small Business Saturday.”

In support of Small Business Saturday, Carlsbad Village Association, along with other Main Street associations, are pushing for residents to keep their dollars local, Davis said. Carlsbad Village Association has planned a full day (10 a.m. to 5 p.m.) of retail and dining discounts, live music and two jazz ensembles, one of which is the Carlsbad High School alumni group that is releasing its first album.

Additionally, the organization is raffling 40 gift cards, for free, totaling $2,500 to various participating retailers. And there’s more gift card action, which came onto the scene last year as a way to help retailers make up for losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bret Schanzenbach, president and CEO of the Carlsbad Chamber, said the Gift Carlsbad program, which is a chamber program but partners with Carlsbad Village Association and others, comes with several benefits and a new change, which he expects to strengthen the program.

Individuals can purchase cards from $40, $75 and $100, with each card giving bonuses of an additional $10, $25 and $40, respectively, to the purchaser. The newest addition is these gift cards can be used at any participating retailer. Last year, the gift cards were specific to one business.

“This year it is much more versatile for the consumer,” Schanzenbach said. “The bonus money has gone up. The bonus money only works with a participating merchant. It’s not like you can buy a gift card and go spend it on Amazon.”

Schanzenbach said the trend over the past several years is the growing popularity of shopping online. However, regional and national supply chain issues may have an impact this year.

Schanzenbach said there is an easy way to avoid any potential issues with the supply chain — buy American or shop local and “you’re good to go.” He said there may be some reversal of trends due to the supply challenges and may lead more people to their local retailers.

“You’re taking a risk by buying it online that you’ll get it at all,” he added. “Much better to go shop your local scene and support those local merchants and walk out with the product in hand and not even have to worry about it.”