The long weekend after Thanksgiving is the biggest shopping weekend of the year, with big-box-big-sales on Black Friday.  What you may not know is that the following day is Small Business Saturday. It’s easy to see the abstract benefit of keeping your tax dollars closer to home, but there are very real and myriad reasons to focus on growing local economies. A 2009 Time Magazine article “Buying Local, How it Boosts the Economy,” likens money to blood. In essence, where the blood is and isn’t flowing will tell you a lot about the health and vibrancy of the economy. Money spent in locally owned stores not only keeps cities from turning into ghost towns or clone towns (full of strip malls, fast food joints and chain stores), but also alerts merchants and producers about important gaps in the local economy and allows for local resource and product innovation. Studies have also shown that when cash stays local, it’s velocity increases, meaning that it circulates faster and therefore touches more hands.

Sailor Jack's Restaurant

Treasury Commons


Self-sufficiency is an added benefit. Although we’ve come to rely on instant availability of food and goods long distances, that may not always be the case. Benicians are lucky in that our geographic location, thriving shopping areas throughout town and industrial and downtown districts provide us with a wealth of resources.

The Time article cites a woman in Germany who launched a local currency, equal in value to the Euro, which was accepted by more than 600 area businesses. This currency circled the economy an average of 18 times a year, as opposed to the normal six. Downtown merchants accept Benicia’s own form of currency, Downtown Dollars, which are currently accepted at over 70 downtown businesses. Though sometimes the fun in holiday shopping comes from picking out the perfect, unique gift, not knowing what your loved ones really want can also create stress and “last minute shopper syndrome.” Downtown Dollars give loved ones the joy of choosing for themselves and can be used for both goods and services, creating the experience of a night or day out on the town. They can be purchased at Benicia Main Street on Small Business Saturday, and every day of the week.

Lindsay Art Glass

Lucca Bar & Grill