Chez owner Kerry Rasmussen

Chez owner Kerry Rasmussen at her store that offers seasonally-inspired gifts, in the 800 Block of Foothill Boulevard in La Cañada Flintridge, on Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013. (Raul Roa / Staff Photographer / December 11, 2013)

It's that time of year when residents start to frequent shops after work and on weekends in a quest to find gifts.

Businesses in the city are hoping that they shop local.

Kerry Rasmussen opened Chez on Foothill Boulevard about six months ago. She said she has seen an increase in foot traffic over the last couple of weekends.

The boutique store caters to people looking for gifts, offering items such as jams, cheese knives, and scented candles. There store is also outfitted with seasonal items.

Rasmussen said residents have shown interest in shopping locally.

"I think a lot of people want to support their local businesses," she said. "They want to have more shops in La Cañada."

La Cañada Flintridge offers about 250 retail establishments, said Pat Anderson, president of the city's Chamber of Commerce. The chamber promotes local shopping, and Anderson said that businesses she visited on Small Business Saturday, which occurred after the Thanksgiving holidays, were busy.

Retail sales for the 2012-13 fiscal year were up slightly over the previous year, she added.

Residents interviewed around the downtown area said that they plan to complete a majority of holiday gift shopping online, while purchasing specialty items from stores in the area.

Flintridge Bookstore and Coffeehouse owner Peter Wannier said the store always receives a lot of local traffic during the weeks leading up to Christmas. It is open until 9 p.m. on Christmas Eve, which he said is a busy day for the store.

The store has increased its gift section recently, he said. Customers can purchase a variety of items from the bookstore besides books, including scarves, Star Wars plush toys, book-themed T-shirts, and even items related to the city.

A La Cañada trails DVD is one new item in the store's local section.

"That's something you cannot get except at a small, local business," said Wannier.

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Follow Tiffany Kelly on Google+ and on Twitter: @LATiffanyKelly.

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