By Raiza Giorgi

Small Business Saturday is an important day for business owners in the Santa Ynez Valley as a majority of the shops in Santa Ynez, Solvang, Buellton, Los Olivos and Los Alamos are small businesses.

Matthew and Kiel Cavalli, owners of the ONEderChild children’s, women’s and maternity shop in Buellton, said they saw an increase in sales that day and felt very well supported by the community.

“We both come from corporate retail backgrounds and not having to deal with the madness of Black Friday, we actually shut the store down that day. … This is our first year as small business owners, so next year we only anticipate Small Business Saturday being even bigger and better,” Matthew Cavalli said.

The Home Connection in Solvang offers everything from furniture to Gorky Gonzalez Mexican pottery.

Small Business Saturday (SBS) was started in November 2010 to counteract Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving when big stores have huge discounts. SBS encourages holiday shoppers to frequent small, local businesses instead. The event is sponsored by American Express, which distributes marketing materials that small business owners can use to increase exposure on social media and in other marketing campaigns.

“Times are changing, but by supporting our local stores, we also support the creation of jobs, support our local economy by generating tax income for our municipalities, and we support our local business men and woman who have invested in our communities,” said Kathy Vreeland, executive director of the Buellton Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau.

She encourages people to be a “tourist in their own towns” and explore the options in their own backyards.

“I would say business was up but it was also due to some of our locals that came in and bought. It was nice to see our friends and neighbors bringing guests into the store. We try and offer a lot of customer service with special orders, shipping and free gift wrapping, which they really love,” said Donna Andersen-Ineman of the Home Connection in Solvang.