Also, I know it's almost taboo to mention this, but if you want to support your community, consider shopping locally more this holiday season. We're now seeing the result of budget shortfalls across the state. California is virtually bankrupt and the decline of business here is one of the factors. Unemployment follows that. People are not just spending less money, I think they're buying more online, usually from out of state, often without paying sales tax. A trend I'm noticing is customers who have a baseline for local sales. Anything under, say $40, they'll buy locally. Anything higher and they'll buy it online. It takes a buzz saw to local business.
When you support a small business like ours, you pay sales tax that helps the state (if you're not paying tax online, you're evading it), but you also keep me in business so I can pay those obscene California business taxes and fees I'm complaining about. You also support me personally, so I can pay my ridiculously high property tax bill (I know they're much higher in other states), which supports the local schools, public transportation, rebuilds sewers, and a host of other county wide projects. There's my income tax and the taxes paid by my employees as well. My rough estimate is for every dollar you spend in our store, about 11-12 cents goes to state and local coffers. Keeping people employed locally has a big effect as well. When you consider employees, my guess is about 25% of the money you spend locally gets put back into the California economy. It jumps to about 45% considering all our expenses.