Gifts are an important part of any Christmas celebration, but the feast itself is arguably more so.

Rocca’s Market in San Martin is busy with meat orders as residents plan their holiday centerpieces.

General manager Dan Keith said the 92-year-old market specializes in prime beef and other local products, including a selection of wines from 30 local wineries.

“It’s going very well,” Keith said. “We had a good Thanksgiving, and that sets a precedent for Christmas. We’ve got a lot of orders.”

Prime ribs are among the top sellers during the holiday season at Rocca’s, as well as sausages, seasonings and other trimmings. There’s also still plenty of time for revelers to get their specialty orders in before Christmas, Keith said.

New this year, Rocca’s has set up a community Christmas tree. Anyone who hangs an ornament on the tree will be entered into a drawing, with the grand prize including a seven-bone prime rib, a bottle of Daou cabernet sauvignon and all the trimmings, which Keith estimates is about a $400 value.

Other prizes include gift certificates, olive oils and other local products. The drawing will be held Dec. 21 at 9:30am, and participants do not need to be present to win.

“It’s fun,” Keith said. “I like the sense of community. People like this little market and want to feel part of it.”

Rocca’s Market at 13335 Monterey Road in San Martin was opened in 1927 by brothers Dan and Giulio. Since then, the store has been passed down through the generations of the Rocca family.

Rocca’s Market is just one of the 30 million small businesses across the country that are trying to get their slice of the hundreds of billions of dollars spent nationwide during the holiday season.

The holiday shopping season, which runs from Thanksgiving weekend to Christmas, is estimated to generate between $700 billion to $1 trillion in sales, according to various sources that track shopping statistics.

Purchases not only support these small businesses but the well-being of the local economy.

According to a study by research firm Civic Economics, 48 percent of each purchase at a local business recirculates back into the community in the form of profits spent locally by owners and donations to local charities, among other things. This is compared to less than 14 percent of purchases at big-box chain stores, the study showed.

The importance of “shopping small” has been promoted in Small Business Saturday, which took place on Nov. 30. Credit card company American Express created the campaign in 2010, occurring the day after Black Friday, as a way to bring awareness to the small mom-and-pop stores in a season dominated by big box and online retailers.

While results from 2019 have not yet been released, Americans spent a combined $17.8 billion at independent retailers and restaurants in 2018 during Small Business Saturday, according to a study by American Express and the National Federation of Independent Business.

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Erik Chalhoub joined Weeklys as an editor in 2019. Prior to his current position, Chalhoub worked at The Pajaronian in Watsonville for seven years, serving as managing editor from 2014-2019.


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