Small Business Saturday proved to be successful in the city of Chula Vista.
The city’s new campaign to encourage residents to support small businesses through its Shop Chula Vista Now program was in full force along Third Avenue.
Chula Vista mall Sears store manager Griselda Ochoa said sales leading to the weekend were up.
“It was definitely busier this year,” Ochoa said. “On Thursday evening we had about 850 customers waiting outside our stores. It never slowed down. Saturday was a great sales day.”
In addition, Sears gave an extra 5 percent off for Shop Your Way customers.
“That went very, very well,” she said. “That definitely brought in customers ... everybody wants to save, especially during the holiday season.”
Ochoa’s store also participated in Shop Chula Vista Now by hanging window clings to promote it.
“In beating last year’s sales I think it had a lot to do with the campaign,” she said. “There were customers asking about it so it’s a good indictor that it will be a successful campaign.”
Third Avenue Village Association Executive Director Luanne Husizer said the push to get the word out in time for Small Business Saturday was successful.
“Our feedback (from merchants) has been that there was an increase in foot traffic along Third Avenue,” Hulsizer said.
Merchants from bicycle shops to hair salons and specialty stores promoted the program.
“This week we passed out on Third Avenue a letter outlining the program as well as the application so our merchants can turn it in to the city,” she said.
In addition, the city provided the association with doormats for Saturday, which they gave to some business owners.
Chula Vista Economic Development Director Michael Meacham said the first year getting connected with Shop Chula Vista Now and Small Business Saturday made the city’s small businesses aware of potential benefits, including local and national advertising.
“I think we had a good crowd,” Meacham said. “We got about 54 bags delivered to businesses around the city and signed up as many folks directly as we could.”
“We went door to door to talk about Shop Chula Vista Now … we thought we got a really good response; Third Avenue in particular seemed to be pretty busy on Saturday morning,” Meacham said. “We hope to build on that next year.”