Small Business Saturday big on foot traffic, some sales in downtown Vacaville

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The annual Small Business Saturday in downtown Vacaville features not only all the familiar brick-and-mortar stores, from DiBartolo & Co. fine jewelry to Ray’s Cycle Ride Downtown, all on Main Street, but more than two dozen small businesses hail customers. Under outdoor pop-up tents.

Standing in line at the Journey Downtown, Vacaville’s Devona White waited to be called at the theater’s coffee counter Saturday morning.

By day, a retailer at Arden Mall in Sacramento, she was a vendor selling women’s clothing at the six-hour event, which drew hundreds of shoppers — families with young children to seniors with dogs — all enjoying the chilly but sunny day. Main and Merchant Streets.

“I want the citizens to know that I care about them and that I want to dress up the city a little bit,” White said, wearing a jacket and scarf to ward off the chilly late November wind.

Just outside the theater, at Journey Downtown @ The Library, the old Carnegie Library at 300 Main, Vacaville’s Cleo Geisler, working as Cleo’s Creative Stitches, offers what she calls “quality embroidery for home and fashion.” Holiday-themed, quilt-like table runners and kitchen towels with one-of-a-kind embroidery, such as holly leaves, cardinals and humorous messages, including “Your opinion was not in the recipe.”

“A lot of people are coming,” said Giesler, whose husband Tom looked comfortable in a folding chair nearby, and she added, “My main thing is to visit with people” who attended the vendor fair.

Around the corner of Merchant Road, opposite the Heritage House Cafe, a jolly Santa, white-bearded and red-suited, sits on a chair and invites children to sit with him and take souvenir photos.

A shopper looks at jewelry created by Hobby II Hustle during Rise and Redemption’s 5th Annual Small Business Saturday in downtown Vacaville. (Chris Riley/Reporter)

Meanwhile, at the Tri-Flag Monument, the flags of the United States, California and the city of Vacaville will fly high on flagpoles atop a 40-foot-tall Christmas tree on Merriment Main Tuesday night.

Just below the original, DeBartolo & Co. “It’s a great day for us,” said Ashley DeBartolo, an employee of Fine Jewelers, a small business Saturday. The community does a great job of supporting us.

As her father, Louie DeBartolo, helps a customer at the counter, she said, business has increased for wedding engagements because, she said, “Christmas is the time when a lot of people get engaged.”

Tassa Kent, 2, goes upstairs to meet Santa at Rise and Redemption's 5th Annual Small Business Saturday in downtown Vacaville.  (Chris Riley/Reporter)
Tassa Kent, 2, goes upstairs to meet Santa at Rise and Redemption’s 5th Annual Small Business Saturday in downtown Vacaville. (Chris Riley/Reporter)

Among the popular sellers, Ashley said, were diamond-studded earrings, with business generally continuing well after the December holidays, Valentine’s Day and May’s Mother’s Day, then the summer wedding season.

A jeweler for 46 years, 16 of them at 538 Main St., Louis says he takes care of Vacaville and his customers, “If you come through my house, I’m happy to take care of you.”

“It’s good to be downtown,” he added.

At Ray’s Cycles, 400 Main, store manager Phil Seehausen said sales since Black Friday were “well – it can’t be that way.”

Bike sales have been boosted by the Covid-19 pandemic, he says, with more people working remotely or staying at home and looking for a way to get exercise safely.

Seehausen, just 66, expects sales to pick up as Christmas Eve and Christmas Day approach in the coming weeks.

Lisa Hillas, president of OnStage Vacaville, said foot traffic at the Journey’s downtown theater was “steady” at noon, and her hope was to raise $600 in vendors, tickets and tickets for the play, “The Vagina Monologues.” Feb. 9 and through Feb. 11 at the 308 Main St. location.

On Merchant Street, many of the well-known stores, including Clipper Cargo, Motoxotica, Fleet Feet and Tweed Hat, were open for business with vendors lining both sides of the street.

Matt Tainton, owner of the Tweed Hut, posted signs in the window announcing the musical instrument store’s closure.

at 359 Merchant St. In a brief interview at the store, he said the plan was to close for good after 22 years in business, 17 of them in Vacaville.

“I’m retiring,” said Tainton, 60, who started in a 10-by-12-foot space in Susun City. “It was a good run.”

As for Saturday’s sales, he said, “We won’t know until the end of the day.”

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