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KPBS Midday Edition

San Diego Tops Yelp List For Best Local Gifts

Shoppers in North Park buy holiday gifts from a local business in celebration of Small Business Saturday on November 26, 2016.
Denis Poroy/AP Images for American Express
Shoppers in North Park buy holiday gifts from a local business in celebration of Small Business Saturday on November 26, 2016.

San Diego Tops Yelp List For Best Local Gifts
San Diego Tops Yelp List For Best Local Gifts GUESTS: Allison Andrews, president, APA Consulting Carrie Bobb, vice president, CBRE

The online business review sites yelp recently declared San Diego is the best city in the country for finding gifts from local independent retailers. The way they came up with that result was a bit nonscientific. The isolated local people's reviews of local shops that contain the word gift in the review. They use that data to form rankings. But even so, it's a nice thought. It led us to wonder, what are San Diego strengths and weaknesses for local retailers and how white me -- how might we do this holiday season? Joining me as Allison Andrews. She advises fashion retailers. Allison, welcome to the program. Kerry Bob is vice president of the commercial real estate firm CB RV..com. Allison, what's your take on San Diego's winking and the yelp survey? I was pleasantly shocked and surprised and I think it's nice to see San Diego there. The raking in the stores and picked were interesting to me. I reached out to my friends who work at yelp because they do a lot of local entertainment and retail events and I work closely with them. I asked about the raking and how they picked it and they said they added surf and ski stores into this new algorithm what's interesting is no surfer states -- skate store may doubtless. They're all in the Metro, South County of San Diego and nothing really North of the 52. No Darke County shopping destinations. What advantages do local retailers have this holiday season? It's tough. You got to execute on points in every area. You have to be interesting and entertaining because there are so many different venues for people to spend a dollar, especially with online opportunities. And so you really have to engage in spark something with the consumer. And that is why I thought the local businesses were getting some traction because if you're going to give gifts this holiday season, I know for me I don't want it to appear that I just bought something online for everybody. I think that's okay and they go hand in hand and is not one versus the other, that you want to show that you put some thought and energy into it. Y, Allison. How important do you perceive that to be to buyers in San Diego? This is huge especially for the shopping season. You're seeing a lot of mindfulness and as you said the experience is really important in giftgiving this year. Consumers are getting very creative with a lot of very customize gifts like even if you're shopping online for somebody doing something like Burch boxer Park box or something that is their hobby, their passion but it's customize and they can enjoy at throughout the year and also finding those niche the items that you don't find every day like you find in a small boutique in our city. Kerry, you looked at the behavior of whether consumers in San Diego. What sets them apart from an affluent person in Los Angeles? So we have the luxury component with fashion Valley. That is solid and they're doing well. But I don't think the people in San Diego spend their money on luxury the way they do in LA. An active -- and if you look at the affluent consumer, they are very much looking for entertainment and experience. It might be going out to eat. Everyone's talking about the millennials in that regard but they're missing a lot of other segments too. I'm not a millennial but that applies to me also. Such as having that overall experience, they might rather go do something with their family and experience something rather than buying a thing. Allison have you heard of the mid-studio? That is a great concept for you can go to a place to put something together this very unique and they help you do it. It's very much like Pinterest. It's a similar concept that the leading you through it. Instead of having to read how to do it and hopefully you can figure it out on your own, they will walk you through the process and that's huge. People want that extra element of mindfulness and care that goes with giftgiving. I know CBR he has looked at holiday retail trends and has anticipated that there will be a spike in rogue retailing. Can you explain to us what rogue retailing is quick My short version is the food trucks and pop-up storms and you're seeing more of that because there's less barrier to entry. And so it's a little less risky than signing a five-year lease for example. You can go in and see if you have something. And it helps you find your craft also. You can take something good and make a great and then you know you can invest more into the business. San Diego retailers may be benefiting from this current trend for local, unique gifts. Can they grow their businesses? What they state in San Diego. Absolutely. I think San Diego was a great place for entrepreneurs whether they are doing work retail establishments are jumping in an opening a brick-and-mortar. I think the challenge is that we don't have consumer spending like you see in Los Angeles as we talked about. A population is differently fickle and interesting to forecast and follow. But, if they can use the power of social media and online cells and get outside the community, have their presence in the backbone here but also played to a larger marketplace, there is absolutely no place they can't succeed here. We've seen great retailers and brands starting San Diego. Thank you both very much

The online business review site Yelp recently declared San Diego the best city in the country for finding gifts from independent retailers, but it's findings were far from scientific.

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Yelp isolated local people's positive reviews of local shops that contained the word gift in the review and used that data to form rankings. Yelp also said it changes its methodology every year and this year's included surf and skate shops, partially explaining why San Diego scored so well.

But retail experts say San Diego still has some advantages for local retailers. Carrie Bobb, vice president for commercial real estate firm CBRE, said consumer behavior reports show affluent San Diego customers spend more on experiences than wealthy shoppers in cities like Los Angeles, who are more likely to focus their spending on physical gifts. And buying something like a surfboard creates memories that consumers will associate with that store, she said.

"It makes so much sense that local, authentic stores are really resonating with people," Bobb said.

But Allison Andrews, president of fashion consulting firm APA Consulting, cautioned that San Diego retailers should try and build up online presences too because of how much of the region's customer base comes from tourists.

"You need locals to help build the baseline. Our foundation is a bit like shifting sand," she said. "If you only play to the San Diego market, you’ll play yourself out. You have to be willing to ship your goods from your store."

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Andrews and Bobb join KPBS Midday Edition on Friday with more on how local retailers are taking advantage of the holiday shopping season.