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Stephanie Paniagua, left, and Jan Kemp work as volunteers at the Support Our Troops Thrift Store in the Barstow Mall.

Small return for Barstow on Small Business Saturday

STAFF WRITER

BARSTOW • The national campaign coined Small Business Saturday proved slow on the turn around for local business owners who saw steady to regular commerce that day.

“It was normal, slow,” Alejandro Perez, manager at Sancho’s Tacos & Cantina said. “It hasn’t picked up yet because people still don’t know about us.”

A corresponding shopping day for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Small Business Saturday is dedicated to promoting small businesses and the communities they exist in, according to the American Express website. The company conceived the holiday in 2010 and it’s still gaining public awareness in Barstow.

“Our challenge is to get people to rediscover locally what is here,” Joseph Hisquierdo, a spokesman for the Barstow City Chamber of Commerce said. “We’re trying to introduce local businesses to embrace technology and social networking.”

The Chamber compiled a marketing kit and select businesses in the area chose to officially participate in the day, Hisquierdo said. Some local businesses who are using social media sites such as Yelp are seeing more business from travelers according to Hisquierdo.

“Lola’s Mexican Restaurant gets a lot of great reviews on Yelp from passersby and Rosita’s is also using social media,” he said.

While several managers and employees around the Barstow Mall said they saw steady business Saturday, one volunteer employee at the Support our Troops Thrift Store, Jan Kemp, said business was chaotic. The nonprofit thrift store is currently holding a half-off sale and many local families shop in the store, she said.

“It was mad crazy Saturday. We had people lined up all day,” Kemp said.

Patricia Parker, a volunteer employee at Mike’s DVD Kiosk in the mall said many don’t know that the mall is open and she wished more consumers would shop in town.

“Everybody goes to Victorville to shop and we’re trying to get people to stay here in Barstow” she said.

U.M.A Karate School owner, Gilbert Martinez said he’s been in business at the Barstow Mall for nine years and has seen four new neighboring businesses come into the mall in the last few years.

“It could always be better. In this economy especially, everybody’s got hopes,” he said.


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