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By Eric Heinz
Saturday evening’s Puttin’ on the Glitz drove in tens of thousands of people to shop local in San Clemente. The event, hosted each year by the Downtown Business Association, is geared toward the holiday spirit as well as local commerce.
Lynn Wood, CEO of the San Clemente Chamber of Commerce, said events such as Puttin’ on the Glitz are economic boons for the city.
“I think the best thing about events like Puttin’ on the Glitz is they remind people to shop locally, and the tax dollars go directly to infrastructure, police services and safety,” Wood said. “This helps bring people out and it’s festive. It’s neat for the community because it brings family together, and you need that hometown feeling.”
Wood said the scope of the event gives the city a wider audience and helps the Chamber track repeat customers from outside areas.
“I’ll visit restaurants and see someone from Irvine who tried our food and came back, and so that’s another whole part of it. The people who are visiting here and going to the events are going and coming back,” she said. “I know that what I’ve heard from the Glitz is that the businesses do really well. The San Clemente Fiesta, for example, is one of the biggest events of the year, and we’ll get thank you notes and people say that it brought them a lot of business.”
Wood said she hopes events like this help keep the community spirit of shopping local.
So far, Wood said she’s received a lot of positive feedback from the number of customers businesses served.
“(Chamber) members said people who live three or four streets over said they did very well,” she said. “All of the events are volunteer-driven, and it’s neat the community comes together to put these events on. If we didn’t have the volunteers, we wouldn’t be able to do these things.”
Dawn Provence, co-owner of The Cellar in San Clemente and vice president of the DBA board, said an estimated 30,000 people attended Puttin’ on the Glitz throughout the evening.
“Events like this support local businesses downtown and the heart of San Clemente, which is so unique,” Provence said. “This brings people down here who may have not been down here before. I feel like people come downtown when they have visitors, but before The Cellar I made it a point to shop only downtown for Christmas. So much more goes back into our economy locally.”
Provence said this was probably one of the largest attendance of customers for the event.
“I’d say it was right up there, maybe a little bit more busy, and there were a lot more younger families in town,” she said. “It definitely was busy. For a lot of the merchants, this is their biggest day in sales and it’s important to them. When the DBA does events downtown, we try to make it so the merchants benefit. Most of the stores close on some events when they’re not necessarily conducive to shopping. There’s just too much going on, so it’s nice to have an event where the merchants benefit.”
As San Clemente’s business spectrum widens, Provence said a lot of downtown merchants and small local businesses are trying to keep up with the modern trends.
David Russell, the co-owner of Russell Stationers, and his family have been in business in San Clemente since 1950. Russell said his business saw a positive influx of customers throughout the day and night.
“Puttin’ on the Glitz definitely enhances our business as far as bringing people in and getting the Christmas spirit going,” he said. “This year was probably one of the best-attended years. It was definitely a great even for all the local businesses down here.”
Russell said he notices more people coming from around Orange County and Southern California than normal, as the event advertises in the far-reaching regions.
“There’s more foot traffic, and normally those customers wouldn’t come down here but they do during this time,” he said. “The one drawback I heard from some people this year was that they closed (Avenida Del Mar) at 1 p.m., and I had a very great day up until then. From 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. there was too much of a gap. But in the end it was a great day all around.”