by Marina Andalon

From electronics and jewelry to apparel and toys, holiday gift hunting can get crazy.

Through the trend setting stores on Main street, to the high end boutiques on Montana. All the way through the rural streets of Pico heading your way to the iconic Third St Promenade in Downtown, there is plenty of shopping in Santa Monica.

“Even as Black Friday has stretched into a long weekend of promotions, the day itself continues to dominate. In Holiday 2015, Black Friday had the highest sales revenue for 68% of retailers, regardless of channel,” according to National Retail Federation. “Cyber Monday saw the highest online/mobile sales – but one in four still said their Black Friday online/mobile was higher.”

Santa Monica has about 617 businesses in the retail sector and collectively they generate $3.1 billion in taxable sales last year and 34% of it was generated in Downtown Santa Monica.

Jennifer Taylor, Economic Development Administrator, said “Holiday season is very important to the retailers in the city. It is the busiest time of year, and for some business it can either be a time where they make or break. There are many business that are able to sustain themselves throughout the year because of this season.”

According to Santa Monica Annual Report from 2015 – 2016, the Third Street Promenade generated $516,912,600 in taxable sales. Santa Monica Place generated $206,663,000 and Downtown in total generated $1,201,511,500 in taxable sales. This is not including the shops on Main Street, Montana and Pico.

As a thank you for shopping in Santa Monica and buying local, a handful of lucky Black Friday shoppers in Downtown will be treated to a holiday shopping spree. Santa Claus and his happy elves will be making rounds surprising shoppers by paying for their purchases up to $100.

“The city is introducing a fun way to encourage residents, workers and visitors to leave their car at home, called Car Free Friday. We hope many people participate in the activity on Black Friday,” said Taylor.

This year if you don’t have a car to transport your items, head over to the Concierge desk at the Santa Monica Place where they offer same day delivery for five dollars. To hitch a ride back home without carrying so many bags, you can ride the Big Blye Bus, as they are offering night connection every Friday and Saturday. Blue at night was initially designed to provide late night, first and last mile connections to the Expo Line, and the service only cost $3.

Once Black Friday hits, holiday shopping season is in full swing, which included Small Business Saturday, that will take place on Nov. 26. There are 850 businesses participating in Buy Local Santa Monica campaign, who hire local and support the community. Taylor said, “Small Businesses Saturday was created by American Express in 2010, and local businesses will be participating in the event like the Montana Avenue Merchants Associations.”

With so many shops and places to go, it seems as if Santa Monica is the one city where you can possibly find everything you need. Whether you are visiting or a resident of the beach city, doing your holiday shopping here can benefit the community as well as yourself with some great quality products.

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