The biggest shopping weekend of the year has officially come and gone but this is just the kickoff to the holiday shopping season.
Nationwide 166 million people are estimated to have shopped from black Friday to cyber-Monday. Here in San Luis Obispo County, many of them have been focusing on shopping small.
"For the weekend, black Friday, small business Saturday and Sunday, we saw more people on black Friday than small business Saturday but really equally enthusiastic," said Jenny Kompolt co-owner of Junk Girls.
While it is the biggest weekend for holiday shopping, it might not be the busiest. Many stores use the holiday weekend as a barometer for the rest of the season
"Retail stores are going to make the bulk of their money between Black Friday and January so it’s a nice little kick-off to the holidays quite honestly but it's not necessarily the busiest, we get far busier when it gets closer to Christmas," said Kelly Yates the owner of Summerland.
Even amid record-high inflation, there will also be a record number of shoppers, according to the Retail Federation, they estimate the highest number of shoppers since tracking shoppers began. In San Luis Obispo County, those shoppers are spending on local businesses.
Buyers might not need much convincing to go local but the San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce is really sealing the deal with the third year of the buy local bonus program.
"I spent $100 in the stores, and she said I could come to the chamber of commerce downtown and get a $25 gift card. I did that twice," exclaimed Kathleen Kalpakomf, an excited shopper.
The program will give the first 4,000 shoppers to spend $100 at a local business a $25 gift card to another local business. To redeem a gift card, spend $100 or more on retail purchases at any San Luis Obispo business and bring a copy of your itemized receipt(s) to the San Luis Obispo Visitor Center. Participants can then choose between available gift cards.
So far there have been 480 participants with receipts tallying $86,000.
Last year the program did so well that the chamber of commerce extended the deadline and replenished the gift cards, this year they expect similar success. Businesses are equally prepared saying low stock is no longer an issue like in previous years from the pandemic delays. This year shelves are full.
The buy local bonus program in San Luis Obispo will go until Christmas Eve or while supplies last.