Bay Area small businesses get holiday shopping boost from neighborhood locals

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The Bay Area is in the home stretch of the 2021 holiday shopping season. For small businesses, this weekend is a make-or-break time after the struggles of the ongoing pandemic.

"We're doing some last-minute shopping," said Lea Stafford from Oakland.

Lea and her husband Steve were tackling their Christmas list on 4th St. in Berkeley where many shoppers had the same idea, where else can you get Grinch and Elf movie socks on the same block.

"We have the mothers to take care of and my daughter, said Steve Stafford.

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This family's game plan: shop local.

"So, I'm not big on supporting big chains, got to keeping money in the local economy," said Lea Stafford.

Many small, locally owned businesses have struggled during the pandemic.

Builder's Bookstore owners say the community has come to their rescue lately.

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"We could always use more business that's the truth, but this year we felt like people were out early," said bookstore owner George Kisskaddon.

A few doors down, Berkeley-born Title Nine was hoping for new holiday shoppers this week.

"Many people are still saying this is the first time they have come out and shopped in two years, so it's important for us to have a presence in the community," said manager Patty Paisal.

In San Francisico, the Castro Merchant's Association was taking things to the next level by hosting this Winter Wonderland Block Party. Complete with lip-syncing drag queens, a sexy elf contest and even a petting zoo for the kids. But small business owners and artists are the real stars.

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"Our number one goal is to get people out of the house, off Amazon and shopping in our local neighborhoods," said Castro Merchant's Association co-vice president Dave Karraker.

The Distler Family from Marin came to check things out and spend some cash.

"Our economy is small businesses, they employ people that are the life of our economy really," said Mark Distler.

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