Monday, July 16 , 2018, 8:27 am | Mostly Cloudy 66º




Lompoc Touts Small Businesses to Shoppers

More than 40 participating in campaign to keep consumer spending in town

Robin Dunaetz is a driving force behind Shop Lompoc! Shop Small!, which has embraced Small Business Saturday this weekend.
Robin Dunaetz is a driving force behind Shop Lompoc! Shop Small!, which has embraced Small Business Saturday this weekend. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

The value of shopping at small, locally owned businesses extends far beyond the storefront doors and deep into the community, according to Lompoc’s Robin Dunaetz. 

“When you shop local, particularly with a small business when you shop local, that money recycles back into the community,” said Dunaetz, whose family owns Surf Connection in Lompoc. 

For example, a local business likely gets its printing done at a local print shop, sees local doctors and uses local accountants, she said.

“So the money continues to circulate in the community, instead of going out of the community almost immediately. It’s kind of a symbiotic relationship,” she added. 

Lompoc has embraced Small Business Saturday — the designated day to battle back against big box store sales on Black Friday and online shopping of Cyber Monday.

On Saturday, the community once again will host Shop Lompoc! Shop Small! encouraging people to remember the small, locally owned businesses in the city.

The hours of the shopping time Saturday vary by business, as do the deals and promotions the approximately 40 participants are offering, Dunaetz said. 

Lompoc shoppers are encouraged to visit at least six participating businesses Saturday to be entered into a drawing for prizes. Participating stores can be found on the “Shop Lompoc! Shop Small! Facebook page.

The community doesn’t limit Shop Lompoc! Shop Small! to the national Small Business Saturday, an American Express-launched event held two days after Thanksgiving. The community also has held Shop Lompoc! Shop Small! events in the spring. 

Dunaetz said the campaign came from a Facebook post about “cash mobs,” or groups of residents who converge to spend money at local businesses. 

The timing came as Lompoc and other business attempted to recover from the slumped economy. 

“Everybody was still really trying to gain a foothold again,” Dunaetz said. 

She figured somebody should do something similar in Lompoc.

About a week later, she said, she realized "somebody has to be somebody so I’ll take the bull by the horns, so to speak,”

She took the idea to the Lompoc Chamber of Commerce, put a Lompoc-twist on the plan, and organized the first mob of shoppers to spend $10 each at Lompoc Valley Florist.

From there, she organized several monthly cash mobs, using the Facebook page to educate people about what it means to shop locally. 

With the cash mobs taking up a lot of time, Dunaetz sought a different approach that met the same goal of boosting local businesses and keeping people shopping in Lompoc, instead of leaving town. That led to Shop Lompoc! Shop Small!.

Another event, Sip Lompoc! — with the motto, “Because you can’t sip flowers” — has since been added to include local tasting rooms in the campaign. Some 14 tasting rooms participated, and tickets sold out a week before Friday’s “Sip Lompoc” event. 

Shop Lompoc! Shop Small! has drawn various reactions from business people, she said. 

“I hear things from,’We’ve had one of our best days ever,’ to ‘I love the exposure’, 'It’s a lot of fun,’” she said. “It just kind of depends on the business.”

Dunaetz has seen the benefits firsthand with the family’s business, Surf Connection, which opened more two dozen years ago. 

Shoppers also have shared positive feedback, with one expressing love for the six previous events and eagerly awaiting the next one, Dunaetz said.

“Another person had written down that they were new to the community, and it was just an awesome way to find out what is here,” she added.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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