The shopping is season is upon us! Everyone wants to see a vibrant Coronado, and an integral part of that is the Free Shop Local Shuttle for locals and business travelers that runs November 23 through December 31.
With internet giant Amazon now providing free shipping, and super stores like Target and Walmart also promoting internet and order/pick up services, it’s hard for local shops to compete in today’s fast-paced environment. A $15 purchase from Amazon means nothing to CEO Jeff Bezos, but that same amount means a great deal to a Coronado shop owner.
When you shop local, you are supporting your neighbors and your community, not to mention that it makes you feel good picking out the perfect gift from places like Bay Books, Seaside Papery, Holland’s Bicycles, Pretty Please, and so many other shops that are the essence of Coronado. Local restaurant gift cards make great gifts also.
It truly is better to give than to receive during the holidays. There’s something special about being able to go into a shop and hand select a unique present for a family member, coworker or friend. “There is intrinsic value in holding the something in your hands that you are giving. We need to keep shopping as an experience and spread the wealth around from downtown to the Landing. The shuttle will help make shopping easy for all meeting attendees and residents,” comments Todd Little, Executive Director, Discover Coronado.
With lots of festive celebrations during the holidays, the convenient Shop Local Shuttle will provide free and safe transportation between Coronado taverns and restaurants and local hotels or homes. Locals can also plan to use it for taking their annual pictures in front of the Del’s spectacular Christmas tree or ice skating or dining out.
100 shops and restaurants in Coronado can be accessed via the free shuttle. Those are dedicated business owners who depend on local shoppers to stay in business. They can’t just survive on the summer season.
The shuttles will be easy to spot wrapped in a holiday-themed motif with a marketing campaign of “Shop, Eat, Ride Local” as it loops the island. “This is an investment in the community to help maintain the charm of Coronado and make it a compelling choice for conventions. We are all about supporting the local merchants,” says Little.
Starting in 2010, Discover Coronado was formed to help with revitalization after the recession, and in 2015 they shifted their efforts to focus on conventioneers and that has paid off for the city. They pull in an average of 20 additional events each year, ranging from small seminars to large national conventions. In 2017, about 85,000 people came to Coronado for conventions and that translates into real money for Coronado shops and restaurants. Conventions help bring business during the off season between Labor Day and Memorial Day. Convention goers often dine at local restaurants each night and shop for gifts and souvenirs in their free time.
Discover Coronado works in a variety of ways behind the scenes to highlight Coronado as an intriguing destination for conventioneers. With lots of competition from San Diego and other beach cities, such as La Jolla and Carlsbad, meeting planners are looking for walkable places with charming boutiques and delectable restaurants.
Discover Coronado is in the “What If?” business, so when meeting planners ask for extravagant requests for their attendees, like a Tim McGraw concert on the beach, a scavenger hunt, a specialized beer tasting or the world’s largest taco party, they help brainstorm and connect the right people to make the impossible possible. “If someone has a crazy idea, we can probably conjure up a crazier one,” laughs Little.
Many residents may not be aware that the first three weeks of December are the slowest weeks of the year for our merchants, as shared by Sue Gillingham, Executive Director of the Coronado Chamber of Commerce. She goes on to say, “The Chamber is thrilled that Discover Coronado has funded a free shuttle for our holiday shopping season in town. We believe this has the possibility of making a big difference to the local businesses, while making it easy for folks to shop without the hassle of parking.”
No tax monies are being used to provide this free shuttle service. The schedule is convenient, with arrivals every 20 minutes between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. The stops include: The Shores, Hotel del Coronado, Rotary Plaza, Coronado Island Marriott Resort, Spreckels Park and the Ferry Landing Shops. It starts on November 23 and runs through New Year’s Eve. More details can be found at ShopLocalShuttles.com.