Shoppers show up in big way for SoCal small businesses struggling to bounce back from pandemic

Many SoCal shoppers said they chose to shop local this year to avoid running into supply chain issues and shortages.
RIVERSIDE, Calif. (KABC) -- U.S. shoppers showed up in a big way for the small businesses in their communities during this year's Small Business Saturday.

The results of the American Express 2021 Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights Survey show that total reported projected spending among U.S. consumers who shopped at independent retailers and restaurants on Saturday reached an estimated $23.3 billion.

Shoppers in the Inland Empire were sure to hit their favorite shops this weekend as more people chose to shop local to avoid running into supply chain issues and shortages.

"You can find anything in here that you're looking for," said Todd Ridgeway, a Riverside resident who said he and his wife are longtime customers of Made, a home goods store on Magnolia Avenue. "It would be easier to sit at home, you know, with my coffee and my pajamas, ordering from Amazon, but that doesn't get our community rebuilt. It doesn't get people's lives changed."

The owner of Made said like many small business owners across the country, he and his wife were forced to shut down during the pandemic, and it's been an uphill battle ever since.

"We kind of never got back up to speed again," said Rico Alderette. "So, in the last two months, we have been picking up speed again. People are getting out and coming in, feeling comfortable. So, it's awesome."

Over the past 12 years, consumers reported spending an estimated $163 billion at small businesses on Small Business Saturday since American Express started the movement in 2010.

As communities continue to navigate the effects of the pandemic, particularly underrepresented business owners who were hit harder, consumers say they are being mindful about the businesses they frequent this season, with 64% of those surveyed stating they make it a priority to seek out and shop at underrepresented-owned businesses in their communities.

A majority (79%) of consumers understood the importance of supporting the small businesses in their community on Small Business Saturday this year and 66% reported that the day makes them want to Shop Small all year long.

In addition, the 2021 Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights survey revealed that online shopping, an important source of revenue for small businesses, was up slightly on the day, with 58% of shoppers making a purchase online, compared to 56% in 2020 and 43% in 2019.

"This is our third year coming on Small Business Saturday to shop from local artists that we love in our community and [stores] have all the wonderful choices here," said Margie Haupt, another Riverside resident.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2022 KABC Television, LLC. All rights reserved.