Last year, local shop owners in Lodi were unsure that holiday shoppers would turn out for Small Business Saturday due to the spread of COVID-19 and the recommended safety guidelines created by health officials.

But the annual event that kicks off the holiday shopping season was a success, and small business owners are hopeful crowds return this weekend.

David Claxton, president of the Downtown Business Alliance board of directors, said members have already begun placing holiday wreaths on doors and Downtown light poles.

“We will be setting up our Christmas tree at 11 a.m. Friday,” he said. “We had to go with an artificial one this year, because permits have been required if you want to get a ‘live’ one, because we’re now in a burn scar area. But we’ll make the best of it.”

Downtown horse and carriage rides will be offered this Saturday and Dec. 4, and Santa Claus will be available for pictures and greetings both days as well.

While businesses typically reveal what kinds of deals and discounts they’ll offer days ahead of Small Business Saturday, Claxton said new challenges have presented themselves this year that have made some businesses wait to advertise their sales.

“One thing I’ve found this year, is that every business is still scrambling and trying to figure out what to do,” he said. “Especially with the supply chain and employment issues. I think some businesses are still waiting to see if they’ll participate, and if they do, they’ll probably put something out there by Friday.”

One business that has been greatly impacted by the supply chain problem is House of Clocks.

Co-owner Chuck Hohn said the neon clocks that are typically hanging in the 208 S. School St. store’s front windows are nearly gone, with a handful in stock this week.

There are about 70 sitting on one of the dozen cargo ships anchored at the Port of Los Angeles. But the supply chain dilemma won’t stop the 50-year-old business from offering bargains this weekend, he said.

“We’ll have in-store specials and no sales tax, and we’ll have some refreshments out,” he said. “Even though we’re impacted, we’ve still got a lot of things in the store.”

Some of the in-store specials include Christmas Clocks marked down from $90 to $39.99, and all Rhythm and Howard Miller clocks will be at 2020 prices.

“Because we’ve had some competition, we’re already selling things at 40%,” Hohn said. “But Saturday we’ll add another 8.25% off.”

Pret owner Judy Peterson said she’ll also be offering a variety of in-store specials and discounts Saturday between noon and 4 p.m. at its new location at 16 W. Pine St.

“We’re going to have a piano player in the store and refreshments,” she said. “It’s a great way to start the holiday.”

Fashion Safari at 123 S. School St. will also be open longer hours for the Saturday shopping event, from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Hours will also apply for Black Friday.

During both days, customers can enjoy refreshments and receive a free gift with any purchase of more than $50. They can also enter a drawing for a gift certificate.

Wood and Wick, located at 100 W. Pine St. in Downtown, will have candle sales, a table full of clearance items, gift boxes, a raffle valued at more than $200 and $5 paparazzi jewelry

There will also be charcuterie boxes, as well as macaroons and treats provided by All Things Baking. The store will be open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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