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‘Keep ’em alive’: San Francisco small businesses face economic challenges of holiday season

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SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) — The holiday shopping season is in full swing, and small businesses across the Bay Area are looking for a bigger share of your purchases. But in San Francisco, two events this weekend highlighted the challenges some areas face, from crime to economic disparities to tourism.

A “Winter Wonderland” party on Grant Avenue in Chinatown on Sunday. The San Francisco Asian Firefighters Association distributed toys to children in need. This year, organizers say about 2,000 families showed up.

“One of the problems we see here is that there are a lot of economic and social disparities that we need to address. But this is just something we can do as an immediate solution to sprinkle a little magic into the holidays.” , Linda said. Phung from Imaginasian Productions.

Phung gives back to the Chinatown neighborhood where she grew up and where small businesses could use a helping hand.

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“Chinatown has suffered, we have definitely seen a slowdown in tourism,” Tane Chan said.

Tane Chan owns the Wok Shop, which offers many culinary gifts. Chan hopes tourist and tourism traffic will return to pre-pandemic levels.

“I think it’s picking up and it should be. It’s the holidays and everyone is going to be in a festive mood,” Chan said.

At the Castro, a block party was taking place on Noe Street. Castro Merchants has created a festive place for families while sharing the love with small businesses.

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“Unfortunately, a number of small businesses did not survive during the pandemic. I think it’s important to do everything we can to keep them alive,” said Lauro Gonzales of Artyhood Events.

Many empty storefronts are visible on Market Street.

A “passport” encouraged people to go to local stores to get a stamp and prizes.

“We think it’s good for our community,” Natalia Quaresma said.

MORE: Christmas bars, tree lots, craft fair: San Jose is ready for the holidays

Quaresma of SuiGeneris Designer Consignment wants more police patrols during the holidays, after incidents with unhoused people outside her store.

“We would like more security in our neighborhood so everyone can keep holiday shopping safe,” Quaresma said.

Small businesses are hoping shoppers will think local this season and keep bad news from the Grinch away.

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