Santa Barbara- S County

Shoppers Turn Out For Small Business Saturday

Small Business Saturday

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Shoppers headed to smaller, locally owned stores for Small Business Saturday.

It falls between Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Small Business Saturday was started in 2010 to help store owners who can't spend a lot on advertising, get more customers during the holidays.

One store competing with bigger chains on State Street in downtown Santa Barbara is Isabella Gourmet Foods. 

Inside you'll find everything from popcorn, to pickles and pasta sauce.

Most of the selections are made locally, with a few items thrown in from the East Coast where owner Amy Isabella Chalker is from.

"We sort of curate a selection of local artisans. So, in a sense we are a hundred small businesses under one roof," Chalker said.

Three years after opening her doors, Chalker is starting to see an upswing in customers.

She also offers a few products that have become nationally recognized.

"We are lucky enough to help artisans establish their foothold in the community and then boost them into a larger national stage," Chalker said.

One of those items is Ilvento's Propio Italiano pasta sauce selected by Oprah as one of her favorite things for 2015.

"Doctor Joe Ilvento, a local cardiologist took his family recipe and created this wonderful sauce with his daughter Juliana," said Chalker. "We are lucky enough to be one of only the vendors carrying the sauce and we are the only vendor carrying the gift set that Oprah carries in her magazine."

The sauce is flying off Chalker's shelves.

Another popular item in the store is Salty Girl Seafoods which just won an award for sustainability.

"When you purchase local, support local and buy local, all that money is going right back into the Santa Barbara community," Chalker said.

Chalker said she knows it's a risk to open up a small business in Santa Barbara, as many stores don't make it past the first year.

But, she is determined to make Isabella Gourmet Foods a successful venture.

"To remain known and relevant in a town where the larger companies are taking over has taken some thinking outside the box and that's what we are doing."

Isabella Gourmet Foods is located at 5 East Figueroa Street.

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