By Barbara Burke
Special to The Malibu Times
If one does the math, economic data supports the concept that small businesses not only support locals’ needs for readily available goods and services, it also contributes significantly to the local economy. American Express estimates that for every dollar a customer spends at small retailers, an impressive $0.67 stays in the community.
“On Small Business Saturday, Nov. 25, I am sponsoring a pop-up supporting a local enterprise,” said Michelle Pierce, owner of Malibu Village Books, Malibu’s small but mighty source for all things literary. Artify Life, an entrepreneurial endeavor by local artist Katina Zinner, will showcase her colorful and useful merchandise that creatively celebrates the Malibu Pier and other depictions of Zinner’s art. Look for the Artify Life table right outside of the bookstore. Look inside the bookstore for gifts for your favorite reader, and if you need holiday decorations, check out the Ornaments 4 Orphans, a fair trade effort that collaborates with global artisans to create jobs and help strengthen families in need to prevent vulnerable children from becoming orphans.
While visiting that part of Malibu Village, if you haven’t done so yet, also check out the just-opened Third Space, a project by the Boys & Girls Club of Malibu that provides a wonderful venue supporting emerging entrepreneurs with its youth innovation space. Third Space is another location for exploring products from local, innovative small business people. From Malibu High alumnus Austin Daniel’s beautiful works created within multiple mediums, including abstract acrylic paints and beautiful, usable art with furniture and instruments, to C & The Moon, an environmentally conscious skincare line made in Malibu by another MHS alumnus, @ccmeyer, to local business BU Sunscreen, Third Space is an excellent place for holiday shopping.
Malibu embraces many small businesses — too many to list. However, all have important attributes in common: a dedicated grit to withstand disasters, whether natural, such as the Woolsey Fire, or unfathomable such as the pandemic, and an admirable ability to pivot to respond to local consumers’ ever-changing needs and whims, combined with a secret sauce that works in Malibu and that is unique to each enterprise.
When one takes a minute to reflect, there are local small businesses all around town. Starting on the west side, BuCandy fills a void for all things sweet, and Drill Surf & Skate offers awesome skate gear. At Busch Drive, SeaNSoul’s proprietors understand that locals want to surf, of course, but also providing a local place to buy quality kids’ clothes and wetsuits, and importantly, a great place to get a good cup of Joe, will keep Malibuites coming in consistently. In Pt. Dume, Abierto, owned by Amanda Weir, who was born and raised in Malibu, provides a source for lovely gifts. Heading toward the center of town, C.Bonz inspires customers, with its embroidered, one-of-a-kind creations. In the Country Mart area, Albertina’s fashions custom-made, stunning jewels and Toy Crazy offers an opportunity for all of us to be a kid, or buy for one, without having to schlep out of town.
When one thinks about it, Malibu’s small businesses provide revenue for local government and jobs for local residents, and they make living in our relatively rural community easier so one does not need to go over the hill for everything.