Business

Tuesday, Nov 26 2013 02:35 PM

City officials talk teamwork, urge buying local

BY THEO DOUGLAS Californian staff writer tdouglas@bakersfield.com

Her women's clothing boutique on wheels won't be rolling until spring, but entrepreneur Amanda Onsurez came downtown Tuesday to hear city officials promote shopping locally during the first official buying weekend of the holidays.

"It's scary but exciting at the same time, because all my money I'm investing," said Onsurez, of Buttercup Mobile Boutique, who had sought "somebody who's been in the business and can show you around."

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She found longtime hairstylist Ophelia Morin, who opened A Season for Beauty hair and nail salon downtown last month. Morin has advised Onsurez, and until her store is a turn-key, will be showcasing a few clothing items at the beauty shop.

"Hopefully this will help us promote our businesses a little bit," Morin said of Tuesday's event, timed to the release of new DBA downtown shopping and dining guides, a list of downtown businesses open Saturday, and a compilation of holiday events.

In his remarks, Mayor Harvey Hall said that Small Business Saturday, the local response this Saturday to Black Friday the previous day, is epitomized by teamwork among local business owners.

Small Business Saturday is also aimed at capturing part of the $801 that DBA officials say the average American household will spend on gifts this year, citing an American Research Group poll.

"It's just a matter of supporting small business in our community and coming out and spending money in our community and feeling good about the people that are making these businesses prosper," said Hall, who praised Compass Rose Staffing for sending clients to clean litter on streets in the city's core, joking that they work for pizza. "That's why they show up, so they can get Jerry's Pizza after they complete the clean-up."

Jerry's Pizza & Pub owner Jerry Baranowski said he thought working together helped downtown businesses weather the recession and emerge relatively unscathed.

"As far as downtown, I'm extremely happy. Maybe we're not too high-end, but we didn't drop too much," Baranowski said.

Bakersfield Downtown Business Association President Cathy Butler agreed.

"It's kind of like Macy's and Gimbels -- if it's not here, you might find something else elsewhere," Butler said, referencing the mythic collaboration between the two legendary New York retailers. "That's what we're trying to do with the shopping guide and our different categories."

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