Afternoon shoppers head into Mast, 100 S. Avenida del Convento, in the Mercado San Agustín west of downtown. It is one of more than 150 stores found along the streetcar’s nearly four-mile route.

Several downtown-area retail districts, along with the Sun Link streetcar are making it easier for holiday shoppers to buy local this weekend.

Independent businesses in Main Gate Square, along North Fourth Avenue, throughout the downtown area and in the Mercado District west of Interstate 10, will be offering special deals this Saturday as part of Small Business Saturday, a nationwide push to shop local, held each year the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

As a bonus, the streetcar, which runs through all four districts, will be free all day starting at 8 a.m., making it easier for shoppers.

Some of the deals being offered include:

• 15 percent off all jewelry, leather goods and lighting at the boutique MAST, at the Mercado San Agustín, 100 S. Avenida del Convento.

• 10 percent off holiday drinks, $1 Christmas cookies and free candy samples at Chocolate Iguana, 431 N. Fourth Ave.

• Free reusable tote bags with purchases over $70 at Dust & Heritage, a curated home goods store in the MSA Annex, 267 S. Avenida del Convento.

• Specials on drinks made with Whiskey Del Bac from Tucson’s Hamilton Distillers, at Che’s Lounge, 350 N. Fourth Ave.

The participating businesses are among the more than 150 shops, 100 restaurants and 30 clubs and bars found along the streetcar’s 3.9-mile route.

Monica Cota, owner of Rustic Candle Company at 324 N. Fourth Ave., will be offering a 20 percent discount on all candles this Saturday and a 25 percent discount for those who bring in non-perishable items for the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona.

Cota said events like Small Business Saturday help expose local businesses to new eyes.

“I really love that they are offering free rides on the streetcar,” Cota said. “People are in town, they are visiting the university. It gives them a chance to come down and check everything out.”

Lizzie Mead, owner of Silver Sea Jewelry at 330 N. Fourth Ave., said even a little bit of local spending with independent shops makes a huge impact.

“Shopping local is a virtue,” she said. “It allows money to flow through your community in greater quantities.”

Mead added that buyers also get to see what unique and creative things are coming out of Tucson.

“You can pick up something that will make your friends ask, ‘Where did you find that?’” she said.

Contact reporter Gerald M. Gay at or 573-4679.


Gerald received his journalism degree from the University of Maryland. He has been with the Star for 16 years and has covered a variety of beats. Currently, he divides his time between the presentation desk and as a member of the digital team.