San Luis Obispo store owners say they were happy to see customers back inside their stores once again during Black Friday following the height of the pandemic.
“Even though we can’t see your smile through your mask, we see you smiling, and we see you being patient, being kind, and it’s just the nature of that touch or conversation that you have,” said EcoBambino Owner Abbie Lynch.
“It has been really such a rich experience for us to have people come in and have this genuine conversation,” said SLO General Store Manager Tara Smith.
The connection from store owners to customers returned this Black Friday despite a drop-off in foot traffic.
“I didn’t really get my first customer until 11 o’clock,” said Lynch. “It was an easy, breezy morning. In here, there was a lot less traffic. I feel like more people are shopping online. This morning waking up seeing what I saw, I am very blessed and we’re still here and it is just an emotional time.”
Black Friday marked the first day for the new SLO General Store at the SLO Public Market.
“The ironic, yet very intentional opening date was Black Friday,” said Smith.
“I think it’s really cool to provide an alternative to a big box store and rebrand the typical Black Friday into being able to support local makers,” said SLO General Store employee Abby Ybarra.
The goal of the new store is to provide locally made products to locals shopping in the store.
“We can help people if they’re looking for something particular or with putting a gift together,” said Ybarra.
“Abby is one of our makers, so all of our employees are creative and artistic and that was kind of intentional on my part to hire people who would really care about these things,” said Smith.
The SLO General Store is the first store to open within the main facility of the SLO Public Market.
The store joins Orangetheory Fitness, Parker Clay, and The Neighborhood Açaí as places currently open on the grounds of the SLO Public Market.