Are you done with your holiday shopping yet?

Is your email inbox full of marketing emails from national retailers? It’s hard to resist because we’re all busy…it’s so much easier to just buy your present from a big box store or national retailer when they’re offering BIG discounts and even free shipping/guaranteed shipping before Christmas.

We hope you consider SHIFTING some of your spending this holiday season to a local business because…

shop local this holiday season


Quote by Steven Jobs for Independent Locally-Owned Business Owners in the SF Bay Area

Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life.

We admire all the indie entrepreneurs who choose to live their own life despite the hardships of running an independent locally-owned business. Many people have been forced to create their own job by starting a new business out of necessity. Steve Jobs said this wonderful quote that I think is appropriate to all the indie local business owners in the SF Bay Area.

We are witnessing how difficult it is to raise the Federal minimum wage, and how the biggest culprits of low wage jobs are investing in automation to reduce the need of labor. This leads to fewer jobs available at the biggest companies with the highest potential to hire. So hopefully more will be inspired to start living their own lives and provide jobs that won’t suck the life out of employees.

Brought to you by Marc

Congratulations Stephanie of Steffz Trends

Congratulations Stephanie of Steffz Trends

One of Shift Local’s favorite local business owner, Stephanie of Steffz Trends in Alameda, won the Independent We Stand’s “Indie Pride Contest.” Congratulations Stephanie!

Also check out other SF Bay Area local business owners who joined the contest:  Warren of Action Litho in Hayward, Derrick of Derrick Dobbs Photography in Hayward, Daniel of Croll’s Pizza in Alameda and the guys of On Time Signs in Hayward.

Marc and Mari

Happy 2013 Local Lovers !!


Happy New Years from Shift Local! We thank you for supporting us last year and joining our quest for a more vibrant local community. We promise that 2013 will be more fun and much, much better for our local community – especially here in the Bay Area.

Unfortunately 2012 brought an unexpected surprise when my mom’s face was bitten by what is still unknown today. It was a painful and life-changing four months from July to October.  I couldn’t get myself to do anything and I’m sad to say Mari and I lost touch with the small business owners we met during the cash mobs.

This put a halt to the plans we had for Shift Local, such as featuring more independent locally-owned businesses and introducing their owners to the community they are investing in. We want to run contests and give away Shifterficates to promote the products/services from these businesses.  Basically we hope to engage those who understand and support the Shift Local journey and provide an opportunity for more personal interactions between owners and consumers.

However we have been pushing hard the past two months to launch


Mari, Jay (our 3rd teammate) and I have been developing this website to act as a portal for independent locally-owned businesses (ILOB) to not feel so “alone” while starting, running and growing their business.  We also plan to provide all the resources they need to obtain needed capital, enhance their expertise, expand their knowledge and strengthen their weaknesses.

Many of these ILOB owners have difficulty networking with other ILOBs, keeping up with the trends and challenging themselves to keep learning so that they build a sustainable business.

If you know any independent small business owners that could use our help, please send them our way. Our business model is based on disrupting the current system of marketing, consulting, financing and social media management support – a lot of what we offer is FREE (seriously, check our site, no “selling” involved, our use of “free” is not a marketing gimmick).

Once again, Happy New Year!!


Happy Holidays!

I can’t believe that it’s almost Christmas.  Are all your presents wrapped up and ready to go?  If you’re like me, I’m no close to being ready.  If that is the case, please consider visiting your local, independent businesses to buy your presents.  When we shop local, we help sustain our local economy and Christmas is the perfect time to do our part 🙂

I can’t believe how much time has passed since our last post! Sorry about that.  Here’s what we’ve been up to:

1. Marc and I (along with our good friend Jay) are also busy working on our website that what we hope to be really helpful to independent, local business owners.  So keep an eye out for the launch!


Photo by Maya P. Bueno

2. Marc and I recently went to Hawaii for three reasons: (1) to celebrate my 29th birthday; (2) to celebrate my passing the bar; and (3) we were so happy to attend one of our dearest friends’ wedding!  We had a great time and we visited several independent, locally-owned businesses.  We will post our recommendations soon!


Marc and I in Oahu.

3. I was recently sworn in to be an attorney by the California Supreme Court Chief Justice and in the Supreme Court room!  She is the first Asian-American and the second woman to serve that role.  What made it even more special of course was that I was able to share this moment with some of my best friends from law school.

Mari taking Oath

Here’s a picture of me taking my oath.  Photo by Daniel Camagong.

UC Hastings PALS with CJ Tani

Here’s some members of  UC Hastings Pilipino American Law Society Class of 2012 with the Chief Justice!  Photo by Daniel Camagong.

2012 has been very good to me and I hope that you had a wonderful year as well.  Have a merry holiday season!!!!


Support Veteran-Owned Local Businesses

Scene from Veterans Day 2011 at Arlington National Cemetery. VA photos by Robert Turtil.

It’s not news that there are plenty of Veterans Day sales going on as a preview to the big Black Friday sales but we all know that Nov. 11 is really about honoring the men and women who risked their lives in protecting the freedoms that we all enjoy today. My own family wouldn’t have been able to immigrate from the Philippines if it weren’t for my uncle who served in the Navy. So thank you to all the veterans, thank you to all who are currently serving, and thank you to all the families who are waiting for their loved ones to come home safely. Thank you to those who have lost their lives in protecting this great nation.

I wanted to share with you all that I just learned that 22 percent of all veterans are either starting or buying a small business to run (See SBA’s Entrepreneurship and Business Ownership in the Veteran Population). So for those of you who started your holiday shopping, in addition to shopping at an independent, locally-owned business on Small Business Saturday, let’s add supporting a veteran-owned small business to our list.

I found this directory to be helpful in finding these veteran-owned businesses. Now we can patronize independent, locally-owned restaurants, construction services, shops etc. that are owned by veterans. Let us know if you know of a veteran-owned local business that we should check out. also posted an article by Renee Orrichio discussing how else you can support a veteran-owned local business. Check out the article here. Show a veteran how much you really appreciate their service and patronize a veteran-owned local business. Happy Veterans’ Day!

Register to Vote!

Lawyers are always linked to politics but I was resistant to it for a long time. Even as a law student, I did not really want to be involved. I thought I could make a difference by volunteering and being an advocate for those in need. Now I know that’s not simply enough.

Marc and I created Shift Local because we understood the importance of helping sustain small businesses and specifically, independent, locally-owned businesses. As Nina Vaca, founder and CEO, Pinnacle Technical Resources, said:

Small businesses create around 60% of this country’s jobs. Small businesses will continue to be responsible for the growth of the economy. Small businesses will take this country out of the recession.

However, politics play a big role in the success of small businesses. In other words, if we really want to make a change in our community, to take control of our community’s well being, then we all have to be part of the political process.

I think there are many of us who feel like our vote won’t really make a difference, or that all politicians are the same and voting won’t really change anything. This mentality denies us of an opportunity to be heard. If we don’t vote, then no one will pay attention to the things we care about. Why would politicians care about what concerns us, what we stand for, what we believe in when we can’t even get ourselves to participate in the process?

Shift Local encourages you to go register to vote. We don’t care who you vote for or how you vote as long as you do. But the first step is making sure you register to vote. Keep in mind the following dates:

To register to vote online: Click here

If you have questions: Click here

If you need assistance in other languages: Click here

Please help us spread the word by sharing this post on all of your social networking sites. Here’s the shortlink:

Also, check out this video by

Shift local, nourish your community.

We apologize for the lack of posts but Marc’s mom has been very sick for the past month but she is now finally getting better so thank you to our friends who kept her in their prayers. We’re slowly getting back into the groove of things and we  thank our readers for your patience.

I just read an article by Stacy Mitchell of where she explains that local ownership makes “communities healthier, wealthier and wiser.”  Mitchell cites several studies that shows how supporting local businesses benefits the community:

Shift local, get healthy: A recent study by Troy Blanchard, Charles Tolbert, and Carson Mencken, published in the Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society showed that “counties with a vibrant small-business sector have lower rates of mortality and a lower prevalence of obesity and diabetes.”

Shift local, get civic action and participation: Another study by Blanchard and Todd Matthews, found that “residents of communities with highly concentrated economies tend to vote less and are less likely to keep up with local affairs, participate in associations, engage in reform efforts or participate in protest activities at the same levels as their counterparts in economically dispersed environments.”

Shift local, see decline in poverty, infant mortality and crime rates: Research has “linked the regional market share of large retail chains with higher rates of poverty, infant mortality, and crime.”

Mitchell explains that local businesses help communities thrive because business owners’ “personal and financial interests are tied to the community’s well-being and, as a result, they are often active in various civic endeavors.”  This is one reason why Marc and I target owner-managed and independent businesses because we know that they are more likely to give back to the community.

Mitchell also points out that “strong entrepreneurial culture and local control of economic resources have more capacity to solve problems on their own and are more resilient and adaptable in times of distress.”  In other words, let’s not allow the big box chain executives dictate the way our communities run.

Lastly, Mitchell believes that  “local businesses nurture social capital is by creating environments that foster social ties. People shopping at farmers’ markets and traditional Main Street business districts are more likely to run into neighbors and engage in a greater number of conversations than those navigating the aisles of a big-box store.”

Of course shifting local alone won’t solve all of our community’s problems and these studies only show a correlation between buying local and the positive effects discussed above. Shifting local is just one small way we can support our community and we should not stop there in order to create a greater East Bay.  So let’s all shift local, and nourish our community.