As the holiday shopping season officially kicking into high gear with Black Friday – or even earlier at some major retailers launching promotions on Thanksgiving Day – the northern Santa Barbara County Chamber of Commerce is working to ensure that local residents act locally.  Chambers and their member companies market small businesses on Saturday and offer special offers and activities the day after Black Friday that fulfills these wishers more fun and even puts some free treats into consumer carts.
But while the campaign may be more intense between Thanksgiving and Christmas, push to shop locally are some chambers and their members work all year long as a matter of course.
"I do not think there's any kind of organized campaign," said Glenn Morris, president and CEO of the Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce, who has two decades of field experience. "It's just a bit baked into our DNA."
"We always try to highlight local businesses," he said. "We have people asking for referrals. Our member directory is available on our website, and you can search by category. "
Recently, the chamber distributed the newsletter to the November Chamber Association through the Santa Maria Times, with an article explaining why it's important to act locally and two features that emphasize local businesses.
Morris said that the chamber has a good social response to its services gives.
"I'll guess the directory gets a few hundred searches per week," he said. "And by email and phone calls, we send out many executives on a regular basis. It happens every day in our office, and with the website and social media now. "
Local businesses offer special offers to small businesses on Saturday and gather to put on special events during the holidays, all promoted through
Amber Wilson, President and CEO of the Lompoc Valley Chamber of Commerce, said that the organization benefited from the American Express Shop Lite promotional program for small businesses Saturday.
"They ship over some swag and local businesses contribute to swag," said Wilson. "We produce a map of all participating businesses and the consumer can go to those businesses and get it validated. They can get a swag bag with all sorts of things.
"We have some great things ̵[ads1]1; they have provided jewelery for dinners for bottles of wine and company swag, the company's promotional items," she said. "We show them on social media."
Wilson said that more than 40 Lompoc companies participate in the campaign, but it is just one of several campaigns that the Lompoc Chamber coordinates throughout the year through Shop Lompoc, Small Shop.  In addition to small businesses on Saturday there is also a small business suite, small restaurant week and the wine-focused Sip Lompoc, which is offered twice a year.
"We also have our Scarecrow Fest in October," added Wilson. "We enter where the scarecrows are located and people can go in and vote for their favorites. Hopefully they will go into the store and buy something while they are there."
Los Olivos spirit
Some of the smaller chambers exhorting their efforts even more around the holidays, providing a perfect platform for promotion
"We do a lot," said Liz Dodder, Managing Director of Los Olivos Chamber of Commerce.
"We do not have a particular shop local campaign, but our Olde Fashioned Christmas weekend Nov.30 (till) December 1 pushes all local businesses and craftsmen, said Dodder.
The first Mingle & Jingle under the stars from 6 until 8 pm November 30 in Coquelicot Courtyard is a free event of live music, food, wine, local craftsmen with handmade gifts and drawing every half hour for objects from participating businesses.
Then from noon until 1 December, the annual Olde Fashioned Christmas and Holiday Market return with an Elf Treasure Hunt through downtown businesses, all of which will host open houses, the new Holiday Market by craftsmen, visits and pictures with Princess Elsa in the park and Santa at St. Marks-in- the-Valley Episcopal Church, free-burned walnuts, vans, carolers, a screening of the movie "Elf" on Honey Paper and the light of the Christmas tree by the flagpole in downtown. 19659003] The fork Wonderland will give people the chance one to attend – with voices for their favorite – at a unique gingerbread house made by schoolchildren in St. Marks-in-the-Valley.
Individual business runs its own campaigns, too. Boutique at the Fess Parker Inn will celebrate Small Business Saturday with a local line of locally made products, and Los Olivos Wine Merchant & Café offers a special vacation-wine-three package.
The Santa Ynez Style
"The Santa Ynez Chamber does more things to help shop for our Santa Ynez merchants all year long, actually – a subject close to my heart," said Linda Small, managing director Director of the Santa Ynez Chamber of Commerce.
Small Chamber produces a brochure listing all its member companies by category and distributed at the visiting center and certified shelves in San Luis Obispo and Ventura counties as well as Santa Barbara County.
"We beg sellers to send all the information they may have on sales or specials that they want to have e-blasted and / or put on social media platforms, "Small said." I visit the local deals personally to photograph goods, monitors or something of interest , and write some information about the item (s) and the item on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
"We use hash tag #shopsantaynez to encourage people to do just that-trade Santa Ynez," she added.
Small noted that when the community is holding its annual wood lighting on December 1, the chamber will encourage people to eat at a local restaurant and shop at the stores before the event.
But while the chamber is very active during the holidays, Small said she is trying to promote Santa Ynez style all year long.
"My goal is to get people into Santa Ynez where they can park and walk along and visit shops and eateries and be treated to our unique Santa Ynez style," she said. "There are few places to shop in a beautiful, slow, relaxed atmosphere and support a small business at the same time."
Morris said there are good reasons why people should shop at local small businesses.
"Shopping locally is an investment in our society," he said. "Local businesses support local causes, they hire your neighbors and your friends, they invest in society."
Morris also pointed out that taxes paid by local purchases also help to support local authorities and the services they offer.
"Shopping in your home town is like an investment in your life," he said.