The Gift of Giving


The holiday gift-giving season is in full force. The Montrose Shopping Park Assn. saw an increase in some sales when they covered Honolulu Avenue with snow on Nov. 25 and then lit up the avenue with twinkling lights.

White, as opposed to Black, Friday was a push to shop locally. The following day continued that effort with Small Business Saturday, sponsored by American Express.

The credit card company recently released a 20-year study that concentrated on independent retailers. The American Express OPEN independent Retail Index found that local businesses are tied to the community through various ways including the housing market.

“Housing values [were found to be] 50% higher [where independent businesses thrive],” said Patricia Norins, advisor for Small Business Saturday.

Norins also stated that local businesses support their communities in philanthropic ways.

“There are many [local] businesses that give back to the community,” agreed Julia Rabago, executive director of the Crescenta Valley Chamber of Commerce.

Businesses like J’s Maintenance that has thrown their support behind several local school clubs, the Montrose Christmas Parade and Relay for Life, just to name a few events.

“And Caspian Services does a lot of webhosting for free for non-profit organizations,” Rabago added.

The Taste of the Foothills, a chamber of commerce event, is an example of how local businesses come together to support the area, she said.

“Our local restaurants will give tastes to 500 people [to raise money],” Rabago said. “That is a big part of the community,”

The funds raised at the Taste of the Foothills event support the Chamber and its programs like scholarships for local high school students.

Local businesses support schools in several ways from putting posters up of events and fundraisers to offering a portion of the day’s proceeds to an organization.

“Giuseppe’s has done a lot of events to support [organizations],” said Michelle Crespo, Montrose Verdugo Chamber of Commerce.

The restaurant, like many others, has held special fundraising nights for schools and organizations.

“The Clothing Market just had a fundraiser for the Fire House [youth center],” she added.

On Saturday the clothing store gave a percentage of the day’s earnings to the youth center. The store has done this type of donation for many other organizations.

Once Upon A Time bookstore donates books and gives a percentage off to several schools and Salon Du Soleil continues to offer a percentage of their proceeds to Prom Plus.

This is consistent with the study that showed by supporting local businesses the community benefits.

The support is welcomed by local non-profits that have been affected, along with the country, by the lagging economy.

Below is a list of organizations and club contact information for those who would like to give a financial gift this holiday season. CVW will continue to add to the list of local non-profits. Any non-profit organization or local school club that would like to be included can email

For all schools, visit their website or mail donations to the school in care of the desired program or club. For a list of all schools, including elementary schools, go to or

* CV High School PTSA

* Rosemont Middle School

* Clark Magnet High School

* Prom Plus

* The Desi Geestman Foundation

* The CV Alcohol Prevention Coalition

* Two Strike Park War Memorial

* Foothills Relay for Life