SAN JOSE, Calif. - It’s the start of the holiday shopping season and the City of San Jose is trying to give small businesses a boost during the pandemic. The city has launched a campaign called Shop Local SJ.
Betty Ortega and her husband are from Guadalajara Mexico and opened Artesanias on Story and King Roads in East San Jose in 2016 after a decade at the Berryessa Flea Market.
Homemade arts, crafts, jewelry fill the 1,000-square foot space. Embroidery is their specialty. Authentic pieces you can’t find anywhere else.
"It has different statues, architecture from different parts of Mexico so that’s what I like about it," said Gabby Guillen of San Jose.
Like so many small businesses, they were hit hard by the pandemic and closed for three months in 2020.
"We feel bad because we work a lot," said Artesanias Owner Betty Ortega.
San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo spotlighted the business on social media as part of the "Shop Local SJ" campaign.
"We’ve got 10 pretty significant shopping districts in the city," said Blage Zelalich from the City of San Jose’s Economic Development Office. "Many of these businesses are not out of the woods."
The initiative launched last year to help businesses when capacity limits and restrictions were in place. Now it’s about keeping stores open.
"That really enhances the streetscape and the vibrancy of the different commercial neighborhoods that we have in the city," said Zelalich. "It also allows us to keep our diversity."
Small businesses are featured on the "Silicon Valley Strong" web site. The city has also partnered with "Get Virtual," a nonprofit that helps businesses have an online presence.
The owners of Artesanias said business is coming back thanks to grants. They don’t spend money on marketing just word of mouth and social media. They hope to stay in San Jose for a long time.
Azenith Smith is a reporter for KTVU. Email Azenith at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on twitter and instagram @azenithktvu or Facebook or ktvu.com.