SRJC romances local businesses on V-day

Jerome Janairo, News Editor

Valentine’s Day may have been a rainy affair, but SRJC showed some love for local businesses during its first Love Your Community Bazaar, where businesses and organizations from Sonoma County participated for exposure to SRJC students.

Associated Students invited local businesses and organizations to come to SRJC to promote themselves to students on Feb. 14. Vendors from seven businesses including Tres Classique Balsamic Vinergar & Oils in Ukiah, Cookie Lee Independent Jewelry Consultant and the local non-profit Community Action Partnership set up booths at the Bertolini Student Center.

According to Associated Students President Amanda Swan, Love Your Community was planned as a change in style from the usual Student Savings Week, saying the event focused more on non-corporate “mom-and-pop” local businesses. Establishing a relationship between local vendors, businesses, organizations and SRJC was the goal of the event, she said.

“A lot of students don’t know what local vendors and businesses are around them,” Swan said. “It’s that first step toward bridging the students to the outside community.”

The rainy weather forced the bazaar to relocate inside Bertolini Hall, and Swan admits the traffic of students coming to booths was slow. But for the vendors present in the event, it was an opportunity to promote their business and gain exposure to the SRJC campus.

“Just being here, in front of SRJC, helps with exposure,” said Mark Senzig of Massage Therapy in Santa Rosa.

“It definitely gets our name out,” said Julie Elliott of Julie’s Cookies, based in Cotati.

SRJC students also took advantage of this chance to enjoy what Sonoma County businesses have to offer. Kim Torres and her son Valentin were the satisfied customers of two massage therapists present in the bazaar.

“I’m so relaxed right now, I’m ready for class,” Kim said after getting a massage from Robert Labensart of Laser Acu-Therapy in Santa Rosa. She added that she supports local businesses: “It’s the only way to go.”

Valentin, who got his massage from Senzig, agreed with supporting Sonoma County businesses; “Why not? It’s giving back.”

Business was slow that day, but Associated Students is optimistic that the next Love Your Community Bazaar will be better, and hopes that more local businesses will participate next time. No date has been set for the next bazaar, but vendors present at the event said they will be back.

“I love to support local, and I love people who support local,” said Elliott. “I would definitely come back.”