H.B. group puts social media to work to help local businesses during holiday shopping push

A youngster looks at one of the finer cruiser bikes on the shelf at Easyrider bike shop in downtown
A youngster looks at a cruiser at the Easyrider bicycle shop in downtown Huntington Beach on Friday. The Huntington Beach Downtown Business Improvement District is using social media to bring more awareness to the area’s small businesses.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

Max and Beth Hazard calmly strolled down Huntington Beach’s Main Street on Friday with a shopping bag in hand after buying a flannel jacket at Jack’s Surfboards.

The couple from Joshua Tree said they found a parking spot with no hassle and popped into and out of stores without dealing with the throng of Black Friday shoppers common at large malls.

“We like to avoid the crowds,” Max Hazard said. Their last Black Friday outing was spent looking for a parking spot at Costa Mesa’s South Coast Plaza instead of shopping, he said.

Rachel Kendras looks to see if a pair of sandals fit while shopping at Huntington Surf and Sport in
A girl tries on a pair of sandals while shopping at Huntington Surf and Sport in downtown Huntington Beach on Black Friday.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

In an effort to make major shopping days like the day after Thanksgiving and Saturday’s follow-up, Small Business Saturday, easier for potential customers and more lucrative for local businesses, Huntington Beach’s Downtown Business Improvement District is promoting its members by sharing several businesses’s deals on the BID’s Facebook and Instagram pages.

Printed coupons are a thing of the past, said BID manager Marianne Tonjes.

“It’s all online now,” said Tonjes, who helped spearhead the idea of using social media platforms, which are accessible via smartphone.

Customers are encouraged to use the hashtag #ShopDineHBDBID to find bargains and discounts and share thoughts about their shopping experience.


Shoppers walk through racks of Jack’s merchandise in downtown Huntington Beach. The Huntington Beach
Shoppers walk among racks of Jack’s Surfboards merchandise in downtown Huntington Beach on Friday.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

Popular downtown surf shops such as Jack’s Surfboards and Huntington Surf and Sport displayed an array of surf apparel and sandals outside their stores Friday.

Shelly Dunn of La Verne said she found “great deals” at Jack’s, where she bought two flannel jackets.

Patrick Lawless of the Easyrider bicycle shop said the BID’s social media promotion is a good way for businesses to advertise for free. He said a good portion of Easyrider’s customers come from the social media pages.

On Friday, several customers were perusing the shop’s array of bicycles and apparel. Patrons could earn a $50 gift card with the purchase of any cruiser or a $20 gift card with the purchase of any skateboard or scooter.

A block down the street, Francesco Zaza, owner of ZeroZero39 Pizzeria, credited the BID for taking the initiative to help small-business owners like him. Though he wasn’t offering holiday deals, he said the BID’s presence helps draw crowds to the area.

Luis Lopez is offering 20% off grooming services and products at Orange County Barbers Parlor, which he set up along Main Street four years ago. He said the BID’s use of social media has been helpful.

“Huntington Beach wants their small businesses to be successful — not all cities do,” Lopez said.


Cherie McCarty of Utah stopped by Main Street to have breakfast with her family and to check out some of the stores because of advertised deals. She bought two long-sleeved shirts.

Emerson Peralta can’t wait and takes a peak at his new Van’s shoes he just got in downtown Huntingto
Emerson Peralta peeks at the new Vans shoes he got Friday in downtown Huntington Beach with his family.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

Rick Peralta and his family strolled down Main Street after buying a pair of shoes and two onesie pajamas. They’re on a getaway from their home in Santa Barbara and said they understand the importance of helping communities.

“We always try to help keep money local,” Peralta said. “It’s better.”

Twitter: @vegapriscella