City of Martinez rolls out program to encourage people to shop local, support small businesses

"We love to pump money into the local businesses."

ByAnser Hassan KGO logo
Saturday, November 26, 2022
Bay Area city rolls out program to encourage shopping locally
Some Bay Area cities have programs to help promote shopping locally. In Martinez, they are rolling out the digital gift card Gift 4 Martinez.

MARTINEZ, Calif. (KGO) -- Games of Martinez opened its new location three months ago in order to double its size. The game shop specializes in board games and trading card games. Pokemon is a huge hit.

Store manager Derek Imutan says business has been solid. They offered special Black Friday sales. On Friday nights, they host a card exchange event. But he says the card market and collectables have taken a hit since peaking during the pandemic. And economic uncertainties are ahead.

"The card market is in a low right now. It is a little uncertain were it will go from here. But hopefully, the holidays will boost those kinds of sales," says Imutan, pointing out that the holidays are a critical time of the year for business.

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Black Friday is followed by Small Business Saturday, designed to promote shopping at small businesses. Some Bay Area cities have come up with programs to help promote shopping locally. In Martinez, they are rolling out the digital gift card Gift 4 Martinez.

"I am a not a huge shopper. But I am learning from my friend Merna," says Julie Jones jokingly, as both women laugh. "She is the one who gets me out and convinces me to go to all fun local spots. And we shop a lot downtown."

Jones, who lives in Martinez, and her friends spent the evening shopping in downtown Martinez. She says shopping local is her way to give back to the community by pumping money into the community. She supports the city's effort to support local businesses with the gift card.

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The City of Martinez points to studies that show that local independent retailers pump 47% of their revenue back into the local economy, compared to just 14% by national chains.

For mom and pop restaurants, it is even higher: 73% compared to 30% by national chains.

"We love to pump money into the local businesses. We shop down here for dinners, for the shops. It's important to shop where you live so it builds up the community," says Nicole Arndt, also a Martinez resident.

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Carolina Martinez spent time with her 8-year-old at Games of Martinez. She says shoppers can build relationships with local businesses, which is important for her, and another reason to shop locally.

"A lot of these stores, especially the comic book stores, they are not everywhere. And the ones that are, you know they will have authentic stuff there. So it's good to support," she explains.

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