The City of West Hollywood, the West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce and American Express, hosted local celebrities for Small Business Saturday Pop-Up events throughout the city this past weekend. Four different locations held meet-and-greets to encourage consumers to Shop Small the day after Black Friday. Proceeds from retail sales and donations on Small Business Saturday in WeHo benefited the Los Angeles LGBT Center Culinary Arts Program.
The festivities began with KTLA’s Wendy Burch, who made an appearance at the Gelato Festival, located at 8906 Melrose Avenue. Burch was there with her family for photo ops with customers. The Emmy-winning journalist chatted with guests and hung out with WeHo chamber members during the event. She participated in a gelato making class with her son and had some helpings of gelato despite the cold weather.
NBCLA’s own Robert Kovacik participated in Small Business Saturday by taking a local West Hollywood fitness class at Dogpound gym, located at 627 N. Robertson Boulevard.. Exclusive by-appointment-only gym had Kovacik in boxing gear and duking with one of their trainers. Council member Lauren Meister also worked out some aggression in the boxing ring.
Then it was off to Rounderbum underwear retail store, located at 802 N. San Vicente Boulevard, which specializes in shape enhancing undergarments for the male and female physique. Funny man Bruce Vilanch photo shoot with underwear models, and sipped some champaign with Jonathan Diersing, the founder of Rounderbum.
“I’m really happy that the West Hollywood Chamber was gracious enough and generous enough to let Rounderbum be part of Small Business Saturday,” Diersing told WEHO TIMES. “Thank you to American Express for supplying us with all the swag and decorations and making it a scene in West Hollywood for everyone to see. We’re definitely noticeable on one of the best corners in the city. Shopping small is great. It supports the community and we can’t thank the community enough for their support.”
“Rounderbum started out as brand where we literally folded up towels and stuffed them into the back of underwear,” he added. “Over time, we’ve grown into something amazing where people feel better about the way the look, but it’s not just about looking better, it’s about feeling better. We’re finding people who are older are buying it because they’re losing muscle in their butt. It provides some cushion when they sit down. We’ve had cancer patients thank us because it doesn’t hurt when they sit down. Sports people are buying them for sports. What we’ve been able to do with this brand is something we never thought of. What it’s evolving into is really, really cool.”
The final celebrity stop was at Ysabel’s RYU Apparel Pop Up, at 945 N Fairfax Avenue. Golden Globe-winning actress Elisabeth Rohm was there to speak about why it’s important to support local small businesses.
“I think shopping small is important because everyone should be able to fulfill their dream and we have to support ourselves within our own communities, and to strengthen the commerce within our communities,” Rohm told WEHO TIMES. “It’s a narrative we all have to get behind, otherwise, none of us will thrive and succeed, so we have to do it at home in our neighborhoods. This is a great way to end our event here at Ysabel’s with RYU. It’s a beautiful space and a beautiful way to celebrate Small Business Saturday with the City of West Hollywood and West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. And to support the LGBT community and the Los Angeles LGBT Center’s Culinary Center for Arts Program.”
Small Business Saturday was founded in 2010 in response to independent business owners’ challenges to compete with big-box stores’ advertising budgets to drive customers through their doors during the holiday shopping season. Shoppers in West Hollywood can stroll the streets of the City’s Design District, Robertson Boulevard, Melrose Avenue, Santa Monica Boulevard, or the Sunset Strip, among other prime retail spots in the City.
American Express released their post Small Business Saturday press release where they estimate $19.6 billion in spending at independent retailers and restaurants on Saturday. Last year’s figures were estimated at $17.8 billion, which was a record at the time.