The thanks-giving feeling carried onto Small Business Saturday as the community gathered to support small businesses during the holiday weekend at Stockton’s Miracle Mile.
The Miracle Mile community hosted their family-friendly Holiday Sip & Shop from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 27. Participating businesses had open houses and wine stops, photos with Santa were taken at Sweet Life Boutique, kids shopped around with their parents and a good time was had all around.
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“Today has been amazing,” Sweet Life Boutique owner Juanita Pasley said. She was “really grateful for the community who turned out,” and stopped by her shop or the stands outside from the independent vendors her boutique hosts.
Pat Brown, Juanita’s mother, helped her daughter by staffing the wine table at the entrance.
“The small business aspect is important,” she said of her daughter’s store and the 33 different small businesses that sell their goods there. “It’s not just family oriented, but the fact that it is helping the community,” Brown said.
Stockton resident Robert Van Dernburgh, 29, stopped by Sweet Life Boutique while browsing shops in the Mile. He said he’d “do anything to help out locally,” and found multiple aspects of the Mile’s Sip & Shop event attractive: community, shopping and to drink in a controlled environment.
Angelina Garcia, 31, sipped on some wine as she supported local businesses. She said she likes seeing the local jewelry and wanted to come out to help local crafters: “It’s all unique, not everything is the same and it’s not mass produced.”
Business owner Marney Elias, 30, sells products from her shop, How She Shines, at Sweet Life Boutique. Like Pasley and other businesswomen at the Mile, she invested in her business during the pandemic and grew its supply. “It (community support) means a lot, a lot of this (business, product) is our livelihood,” she said.
“It’s really nice to interact with the customers and show our stuff off,” as the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions have eased and allowed for events such as this to happen in person, Elias said.
Artist Risa Borrero started her business, Burning Through Life, just before the COVID-19 pandemic started last year. “The Mile, there’s life here again,” she said as she smiled and looked at the traffic up and down Pacific Avenue. Local, small business owners, “we enjoy seeing people and being back here again,” she said.
Chit chat between shoppers and business owners flowed up and down the Mile. Over at Cena Luna — a few doors away from Sweet Life Boutique — Stockton community member Marcus Milani, 35, was getting “last minute accessories and gifts” for holiday dinner parties.
“This is a great place to get stocking stuffers and glassware,” Milani said.
Participating in the Mile’s Sip & Shop particularly had the “additional value of having some wine while shopping,” he said. What he likes about Cena Luna is their “high quality products. Whatever you buy is not only going to last, but people will have an experience,” as they dine and enjoy their purchases.
At Puffy’s Thrift Mercantile, proceeds of Saturday’s sales were to be donated to the Harvest Home Animal Sanctuary. “Today’s just been amazing,” business owner Grace Quaschnick said. A constant flow of community stopping by and supporting her business and cause — helping animals in need — filled her shop with joy.
Similar to her business-owning neighbors, Quaschnick purchased her store during the business shutdowns the pandemic caused last year. The previous owner had to close shop and she decided to take a chance. “We had no idea when or how we were going to open,” she said.
“We were able to do this just with the support of the community,” and no state or federal business relief, Quaschnick said. Once the piece fell into place — and she worked to get her business running — she named it Puffy, after her sweet rescue dog, that peacefully walked around behind the check-out counter and dozed off to the store’s music.
Record reporter Laura Diaz covers social justice and societal issues. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @laurasdiaz_. Support local news, subscribe to The Stockton Record at https://www.recordnet.com/subscribenow.
This article originally appeared on The Record: Community gathers at Miracle Mile to support local small businesses