It’s Small Business as Usual in Clovis

Susie Brown and brother-in-law Scott Bowen opened Chocolate Wishes and Treats in February 2019 in the outdoor area of Sierra Vista Mall, next to the Sierra Vista 16 Cinemas. Pictured, is Susie Brown (left) with two of her employees. (Sarah Soghomonian/Clovis Roundup)

The Saturday after Thanksgiving is called Small Business Saturday. It’s a day where residents are encouraged to shop local, support independently owned businesses and keep revenue from sales tax in their own community.

In Clovis you could say, everyday is Small Business Saturday because there are so many mom-and-pop shops that survive on local support.

“Clovis is proud to have a wide range of business types,” said Shawn Miller, Business Development Manager for the City of Clovis. “The business climate is stronger and more vibrant than any other time that I can remember. We are seeing record numbers of businesses moving into Clovis, existing Clovis businesses expanding their operations, and an incredible amount of sales activity with our long-time restaurants, retailers, service providers, and industrial businesses.”

Susie Brown and her brother-in-law Scott Bowen opened Chocolate Wishes and Treats in the outdoor portion of the Sierra Vista Mall in February. They previously owned the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory at River Park. After 18 years in north Fresno, they wanted a change.

Brown has lived in Clovis for 36 years. She says that when they decided to leave River Park, they did a survey asking customers where they should open their next business and people wanted Clovis.

Chocolate Wishes and Treats is located right by the Sierra Vista Cinemas. “This is a mom-and-pop shop in the heart of Clovis,” Brown said. “People have been so kind to us.”

Chocolate Wishes and Treats’ in house baker, Rachel Dunston, specializes in decorative cakes and cupcakes. In February she is going to appear on a television program with Buddy from Cake Boss.

“We have the best staff,” Brown says of her 23 employees. “You can find anything you are looking for within this community. Why go elsewhere?”

“Small businesses make up a very important part of a very big economic ecosystem,” said Miller, with the City of Clovis. “Nationally, small businesses employ about half of all workers. Clovis is no different. All of those employees feed their families and buy things they need. The tax dollars generated from all this activity supports the services that citizens want in a community. Things like public safety and great schools are products of a vibrant and balanced community.”

One area of town that you’ll find a lot of small businesses is Old Town Clovis. Clovis Appliance has been family owned and operated since 1951. Located on Pollasky, they sell General Electric brand refrigerators, washers, dryers, dishwashers and more.

Inside Clovis Appliance there are banners promoting Small Business Saturday. Kirk Smart, of Fresno, says he’s been shopping at Clovis Appliance since the 1990s and his parents way before that.

“We try to keep everything local when we can,” Smart said. “I try not to go to the big chains, if we don’t have to.”

Research shows that a large number of residents from the nearby foothill communities choose to make their purchases in Clovis. That’s the case for Marshell and Barbara Whitmore of Auberry. They came to town to purchase a stove at Clovis Appliance.

“They have what we wanted,” Marshell Whitmore said. “It’s always nice to support local businesses.”

The City of Clovis says they are committed to helping small businesses thrive in their community.

“Clovis staff understands the importance of helping businesses get open quickly,” Miller said. “Sometimes small business owners need special assistance and other times they need us to just stay out of the way. We are all committed to helping as much or as little as they need to get open, start making money, and achieving success.”

Sarah Soghomonian
Sarah Soghomonian is an Emmy Award winning journalist who has been telling the stories of the unique people and places of the Central Valley for nearly 15 years. She's a graduate of Fresno State's Mass Communications and Journalism Department and has worked at CBS47 and ValleyPBS. In addition to her work as a television producer, Sarah is a freelance journalist who's articles have appeared in many local newspapers and publications. A lifelong Valley resident, Sarah loves her community and wants to do her part to make it a better place. Facebook link: