Local businesses hope deals lure customers


"It's going to help it makes people aware to support their local businesses," Sweet Dreams manager Casper Hett said.

Even though consumers are expected to spend four percent more this holiday than last year - many are still opting for the big box stores. Union Square was packed while downtown Martinez, which is filled with boutiques and antique stores, was not.

"The expectation was it would catch on but I knew once we saw the weather report that It was gonna hamper the turn out," Leanne Peterson said.

Martinez is one of the few Bay Area cities where small businesses united for this day. They posted signs, blew up balloons and several stores are offering special Saturday discounts. But foot traffic is very light.

"The rain has put a damper on it but it's still early," Carol Rose-Benderman from Main Street Sweets said.

There are shoppers buying into the concept, mostly because of the selection and service. Small businesses are promoting unique gifts and many are offering free gift wrapping. The hope is that the little things might set them apart from major chains and make a difference.

"The gifts are more unique and less common place. You can find more interesting things and hand made things than you might find at Macy's," Oakland resident Ana Formicola said.

"I like to support the businesses around here these are specialty stores they have great products," Berkeley resident Ana Hoover said.

But for some shoppers, they go where the price is right.

"Big stores have better discounts because they can buy bigger and can pass on the savings to the consumers so definitely big store are better," Saratoga resident Asgar Padesh said.

"I don't think it's much more expensive to come here," Hoover said.

Martinez hopes to make this a yearly tradition.

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