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Davis, California

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Davis businesses encourage residents to buy local

Shopping small this holiday season is as important as ever, according to local business owners

By LEVI GOLDSTEIN city@theaggie.org

Every November and December, consumers across the U.S. rush to buy holiday presents for friends and family, as well as food for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. From corporations to local businesses and retail to restaurants, everywhere experiences a boom in sales, according to CBSNews. Local business owners in Davis are encouraging consumers to be more conscious about their spending choices. 

Nov. 27 was Small Business Saturday. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, the holiday was founded in 2010 by American Express. The U.S. holiday falls on the Saturday after Thanksgiving every year and is meant to encourage shoppers to buy from small, local, independent and family-owned businesses during the holiday season. 

There are many benefits to buying small and local. Nandi Robinson wrote for the Michigan State University Center for Community and Economic Development in 2010 that spending money in your local community ensures that your sales taxes are spent on local infrastructure and community development. Moreover, you help create jobs for community members. 

Melissa Showalter, the co-owner and co-founder of Davis Cards and Games, agreed. 

“We support Davis, California and Yolo County,” Showalter said. “We pay taxes in this city and Amazon doesn’t.”

Showalter and her daughter Gretchen founded Davis Cards and Games in March 2016. The business is a tabletop roleplaying, board game and card game retailer. They also hold organized tournaments for a variety of games for players from all demographics. 

Their goal as a business is to create a place for gaming where everyone of every age and gender feels welcome. Showalter thinks that their respect and care for customers, as well as integrity and transparency, is what keeps customers returning to Davis Cards and Games as opposed to buying from a chain store. 

“We never put things above [Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price],” general manager Michael Schwartz said. “There are a lot of products that are very popular and desirable. A lot of places will sell those products at sometimes three times the price. We know that by not doing that we are leaving money on the table. But the more important thing for us is community.”

For Davis Cards and Games, online sales increased significantly during the holiday season this year. They put all their stock online in April 2020 to continue selling during COVID-19 quarantine. 

Davis Cards and Games also partnered with Healthy Davis Together during the pandemic. Healthy Davis Together handed out gift cards from Davis Cards and Games and other local businesses as incentive for residents to get tested for COVID-19 and get vaccinated. 

Lorin Kalisky, the owner of Upper Crust Baking, believes that buying from small, local businesses is favorable to buying from large corporations. 

“We’re very concerned about quality,” Kalisky said. “We use high quality ingredients, we do things by hand. I think that our stuff is just better.”

Kalisky also thinks that shopping locally is important for the town as a whole. 

“It’s those businesses that give our town its character and make it unique and different from everybody else,” Kalisky said. 

Upper Crust Baking was founded in 1986 by Kalisky’s parents. The storefront, which Kalisky refers to as a “local cafe bakery boutique,” opened in early 2019 after he’d taken over the business. Upper Crust can also be found on Saturdays at the Davis farmer’s market. 

The business employs both traditional French and Jewish baking tradition, and sources most products and ingredients locally. 

“We have this great network of farms and producers throughout Northern California,” Kalinsky said. “We try to get local produce because we live in America’s farm-to-fork capital. We’re privileged to live in this region. The agricultural diversity that we have in Northern California is greater than almost anywhere in the world.”

Kalisky is passionate about the Davis community.

“We as a local bakery had a responsibility to stay open [during the pandemic] and to continue baking for the community,” Kalisky said. “That idea of service to a community is very important to me, very close to my heart.”

Upper Crust Baking experiences increased sales during Thanksgiving as well as Christmas, despite struggling throughout the rest of the winter. They also excelled during the pandemic. As hobbyist home baking was trending during quarantine, people bought local ingredients from Upper Crust, as the business didn’t experience the same stock shortages as chain grocery stores.

Davis Cards and Games is planning to move to a bigger location and convert the old storefront into a Virtual Reality escape room experience. Upper Crust Baking is hoping to soon reopen their indoor seating after being closed for COVID-19 safety. 

Written by: Levi Goldstein — city@theaggie.org

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