SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - This holiday season, shopping local is what will keep San Diego small businesses alive.
The US Census conducted a small business survey showing a third of San Diego businesses were negatively impacted by the pandemic. The effect is visible downtown.
"The pandemic has definitely taken a toll on the neighborhood, I mean we've had some closures," Gaslamp Quarter Executive Director Association Michael Trimble said.
Trimble said four to eight restaurants closed since March in the Gaslamp Quarter alone.
"Not a large percentage but still any business lost is unfortunately a business that we mourn is not here," he said.
While the holiday sale signs are out, the usual crowds brought in with conventions and tourism are nowhere to be seen.
Trimble said locals are vital to keeping retail and restaurants alive this holiday season.
"Watching all these small businesses shut down or close forever during the pandemic, it's just been really sad. So, I don't have a ton of money but Amazon doesn't need my money. You know what I mean? Like, if I can help these little shops with my $20 or my $50 that's just a much better use of my time," Pacific Beach Resident Bree Steffen said.
When the pandemic started Steffen pledged to only shop small.
She deleted her Amazon app and started exploring her neighborhood, "I feel like this whole underworld of San Diego opened up for me once I started looking at the smaller shops."
She said it was a more personal experience, where she found unique gifts that had more emotional value from being hand-crafted.
She launched her own small photography business in October.
Now she relies on people like her to change their habits and think small.
"I feel like each time I at least give them a little business it just gives them a little more hope to keep going on and it's like if 100 people give them $20 then that's enough for them to try to weather this storm," she said hopeful it will end soon.
Trimble said on November 28th, also known as Small Business Saturday, if you take a picture while shopping or in the area and tag @GaslampQuarter on Instagram you will be entered to win a gift card from local establishments.
Trimble said there has been one silver lining of the pandemic and that was testing the outdoor dining concept on Fifth Avenue out of necessity.
That paved the way for a long coveted project to turn Fifth Avenue into a promenade. This project received approval from City Council, according to Trimble, and a timeline will be announced in early 2021.