On Saturday, a number of small businesses are participating in the first-ever “Eagle Rock Boulevard Block Party.” You could call it an attempt to “”—except that this all-day November 26 shopping fest, which runs from 12 noon to 9 p.m., is not a initiative.
Rather, local businesses between the stretch of Eagle Rock Boulevard from Fair Park Avenue to the Colorado Boulevard crossing are banding together to take back the boulevard, so to speak, from retail behemoths nearby that offered super-sized discounts on last year’s Black Friday shopping weekend and are set to do so even more aggressively this year.
The stores in the block party are teaming up with “Small Business Saturday,” an annual event launched in 2010 by American Express OPEN, the credit card company’s small business unit, which created a retail movement supported by more than a dozen public, private and advocacy organizations.
Each independent store is hosting its own festivities, along with holiday foods, drinks, live music performances, designer trunk shows, one-day discounts, plus raffle prizes and gifts with purchases.
Why Local Merchandise is Special
The message the town’s retailers want to send? That buying local not only keeps your neighborhood alive, it’s also a chance to find something out of the ordinary—a gift that still bears the figurative fingerprints of the craftsperson who made it.
“Locally made gifts are always a special treat to receive as a present," says Leanna Lin, of , a delightful boutique (in case you didn’t already know) that features jewelry, pillows, cards and toys hand-made by Northeast Los Angeles artists, as well as vintage pottery. "I'm so excited about this Holiday season and how supportive the locals are about supporting their small businesses.”
Along Eagle Rock Boulevard, check out other Small Business Saturday participants such as , , , , , , , , and .
Mutually Beneficial Shopping
Owl Talk’s co-owner Sharon Kroner plans to offer 25 percent off the vintage store’s collection of clothing and other select items. Is she hoping the block party will lure new shoppers into the neighborhood? “Of course, I am,” says the Eagle Rock resident, who first set up the store with her sister, Kathleen—also an Eagle Rock resident—some 17 years ago.
“If we have double the traffic we usually get on Saturdays, that would be very nice,” Kroner says. “That would mean a lot of new, fresh people checking us out.” But Kroner also welcomes this festive shopping day because “it’s an opportunity to meet and greet all the customers we’ve had throughout the years—people who live in the community,” she says. “This event will be a great way to get to know the amazing folks in our neighborhood.”
Wood-Fired Oven Treats
Hunting for holiday treasures through the boulevard’s boutiques will no doubt be fun. But there will also be opportunities to put down your bags, put your feet up and hang out in the courtyard at , located roughly halfway between Owl Talk and Wonderland.
There, owner-chef Michael Gerard will be serving up his earthy wood-fired oven appetizers and Brazilian barbeque snacks. “We like the energy this block party is bringing to our area, and we enjoy giving back to our community,” he says. And while you’re there, pop into the photo booth hosted by Yelp for a snap to commemorate the day. Or toodle up the block to the Pie n’ Burger truck, which will be parked in front of READ Books from 6 p.m. to 9 pm.
What Goes Around Locally Comes Around
Small Business Saturday means investing your dollars in your own neighborhood, which not only keeps your favorite local haunts in business, it also inspires new retailers to set up shop, too. A vibrant and idiosyncratic high street is something Gerard, for one, can easily imagine for 90041’s future.
Says the Eagle Rock native and entrepreneur: “I envision an eclectic mix of fun shops you never get tired of visiting—shops that serve as a social platform for people to meet close to home.”