Shopping turns local with Small Business Saturday, Mod Shop

11/29/2013 5:40 PM

11/29/2013 11:09 PM

With Black Friday in the rearview mirror, local businesses are hoping shoppers turn their attention away from the big boxes and toward smaller, niche stores on Small Business Saturday.

The American Express credit card company started Small Business Saturday to focus on locally owned stores, but in recent years it has morphed into a more general movement aimed at keeping more money in the area. A wide variety of shops, including those in downtown Turlock and Oakdale and at McHenry Village in Modesto, take part in events to promote the idea.

“Staying home and shopping local keeps working for business in our community,” said Sharon Silva, executive director of the Turlock Chamber of Commerce. And adding in a plug for her hometown, she said, “You can find anything you want right here in Turlock anymore.”

Also capitalizing on the day are organizers of Mod Shop, an independent crafters market set for downtown Modesto this evening.

Mod Shop, according to Kate Trompetter, is an offshoot of Hand Born, an annual shopping event started in 2004 by Julie Edwards and Tawny Holt that featured designers, artists and crafters. After Edwards and Holt moved on – there was no Hand Born last year – a group of the event’s fans wanted to make sure it kept going. That’s how Mod Shop came about.

“It’s just been a really organic process,” said Trompetter, describing the organizers as community members who didn’t really know one another but were united in the desire to keep the tradition alive.

From 6 to 10 p.m., more than 50 vendors will sell their wares along J Street between 12th and 13th streets. Several local musicians will perform, and many restaurants are taking part, hosting vendors and music.

“It should be a big party,” Trompetter said. “We’re not blocking off the street, we just want people to be downtown and have a good time.”

Though Trompetter, whose day job is in marketing for the Center for Human Services, has been heavily involved in creating and promoting the event, don’t look for her booth. “I’m not at all crafty,” she said. But those who are taking part are, and, she advised, “Come with cash. You’re not going to want to walk away from this without purchasing something.

“These are really talented people.”

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