Supporting Small Businesses in Redwood City

Advice from AOL's CEO for local small business owners, and how, as consumers, we can help support small businesses this weekend and every weekend.


There are hundreds of small businesses in Redwood City.

Some of them may be places you and your family frequent - businesses that have been in Redwood City for as long as you can remember. And some may be your go-to places instead of national chains.

AOL Chairman and CEO Tim Armstrong may stand behind a global brand, but he believes in the power of small businesses. In his recent interview with Patch Partners, a website connecting business owners to Patch in local communities, he offered his insight into what can set a small business above the rest of the competition.

Small businesses can hold a lot of power if they are intuitive with their customer base, Armstrong said.

"Small businesses can be nimble and can have intimate relationships with their customers. Knowing what their customers want is a very big advantage," he said.

Many small business owners in Redwood City say they are amazed at how much the City of Redwood City has improved its downtown in the past 10 years or so.

Cynthia Webb, owner of the Cynthia L. boutique downtown, said she moved her store from its previous location in Menlo Park to Redwood City for that very reason.

"This city is fabulous," Webb told Patch when she was interviewed for an article when her store first opened last year. “They’ve done so much to this city. There are so many great restaurants and shops now."

“The best thing I ever did was move to this fabulous location,” she continued. “It is just a matter of time before more retailers come to Redwood City – because this is the place to shop.”

Armstrong also noted that real success lies in what your business offers that the competitors do not.

"The advice I would give is the same advice I give myself—how do you create a differentiated and time-saving experience versus your competition? If a consumer cannot tell another consumer what unique benefit you offer, you might be missing an opportunity," he said.

Another way to support locally-owned small businesses is to participate in American Express's Small Business Saturday on Nov. 24. Last year, over 100 million people participated in this day dedicated to supporting small businesses.

How can you support Small Business Saturday in Redwood City? Visit our Business Directory to look up restaurants, clothing stores, jewelry and gift stores, and much more - avoid the crowds at the big chain stores this week on Black Friday, and instead, breathe easy in one of Redwood City's unique small businesses.

Which small Redwood City businesses are the best? We let you tell us that - visit our Readers' Choice guide to see which ones were crowned by readers like you.

Are you a small business owner? There are more articles and interviews about small businesses on Patch Partners, where you can also sign up for the Patch Partners newsletter and Patch Partners Twitter feed to stay better informed, grow your small business and strengthen your community.

TELL US: If you are a small business owner, did you find this information useful? If you are a patron of small businesses, do you agree with this advice? What are your favorite local businesses, and why?


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James Lee Han December 05, 2012 at 08:55 AM
Thank you for keeping a spotlight on this issue. I'm sorry there weren't more comment on this article but I assume that the fact that it was posted right around Turkey Day is part of the reason it didn't get comments. Paige Scott of Occupy Redwood City wrote an excellent article for the Patch last year about shopping local for the holidays: http://redwoodcity-woodside.patch.com/articles/local-motive I personally try to adhere to shopping local: I will try to choose Broadway Barista over Starbucks, Pack and Mail over FedEx/Kinko, and Haus Staudt over Applebee's. I am a big fan of Vino Santo and have never stepped into Old Spaghetti Factory. Shopping local often costs me more money, but it generally means that I end up choosing my purchases more wisely.
Jennifer van der Kleut December 05, 2012 at 04:46 PM
Great points, James!


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