Cox California shops small this holiday season

Tis’ the season for giving and celebrating life’s greatest treasurers. Whether you are celebrating Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanza, the Winter Solstice or just simply wrapping up 2021 with friends, family or pets, your plans likely include gift giving and entertaining.

Here at Cox in California, we’re all about connecting with the communities we serve both virtually and in person. Cox Internet powers our connections online across our Southern California markets and is a necessity when we are looking for small businesses to support this holiday season. 

We surveyed some employees of #TeamCox in San Diego, Orange County and Santa Barbara about how they will utilize their internet and community connections to locate unique and heartfelt gifts for everyone on their lists and celebrate the season on Small Business Saturday, Nov. 27, and through the end of the year. 

Cox California shops small graphic

Courtesy of Cox Communications

Here are some ideas that this well-connected and community-minded team came up with:

–Cassandra Weinlein, director of government affairs, is looking forward to shopping online (and in person where she can) at Pigment, Wild Island Collective and Kiko. On her new affection for plants Weinlein said, “I’m growing into being a plant mom, but wouldn’t be able to do it without the friendly staff at the Wild Island Collective. They can help you find the right plants for you – and some cool looking ones at that – and tell you what you need to do better to care for your struggling plants. Also, double stamp Tuesday is the BEST!”

–Diana Gray, government affairs manager, often meets small business owners at chamber events. This was the case when she met Kierstin Rielly, a member of the Oceanside Chamber of Commerce who runs a sustainability-driven business called Naturally SD. “The Naturally San Diego Community is all about supporting and fostering locally made, natural products, inclusive of food, consumer packaged goods and beauty. We bring people together to share great ideas and insights on how to foster their products and get them out into the world. We have hundreds of local companies within our community – and when you support one of them in the form of a gift purchase, you’re supporting your neighbor,” explained Gray.

–Adriana Mendoza, public affairs manager said Sand Sandals in Barrio Logan “is so unique you don’t find items like this here in the United States – I love that it brings a piece of the Mexican culture here and the products are so beautiful and unique. They offer shoes, clothing and other items for the entire family.”

–Michael Ford, sr. public affairs specialist and dog lover said, “I’m purchasing day passes to Camp Run-a-Mutt for my friends and family who have dogs. They are a small business that I highly recommend, and who’ve also been hurt by the pandemic. It’s a nice break for pets AND pet parents. I take [my dog] Mia once a week.”

–Santa Barbara Market Vice President Kirsten McLaughlin is also a native to the area and enjoys giving her friends and family Santa Barbara Gift Baskets. For those wine-lovers in her life she frequents Grassini Family Wines and Melville Winery.

–Aaryn Belfer, a contract communications specialist for Cox in San Diego recommends Simón Limón in Barrio Logan. She explained it as “a tiny curated gift shop that offers the work of independent artists and where you can find wonderful little gifts and stocking stuffers including original stickers, jewelry, blankets, ceramics, apothecary, apparel and more!”

–Casey Haack, sr. community relations specialist, is a fan of Newport Beach-based Anthill ShopNPlay. “You can tell the owner has only stocked her store with things that she’d buy for her own family or friends. I also love that she has a great selection of locally made products. She’s a small business that also goes out of her way to support other small businesses.” Haack said.

Ruth Russell, sr. communications specialist, fancies coffee from Portal Coffee, cupcakes from Frost Me Café and Bakery, and show tickets for Backyard Renaissance Theatre when considering gifts for friends and family. Russell explained, “Frost Me has the best cupcakes in San Diego hands down, and everyone I’ve introduced to them is now in love. Portal Coffee is local, friendly and beyond delicious. The people I know seem to have plenty of stuff, but everyone needs a coffee and cupcake break. And what better way to enjoy a night out and make memories than live theatre?”

–Chantel Baylor, outside retention representative for Cox Business in San Diego recommends visiting the Soul Swapmeet, a bi-weekly outdoor popup event featuring black-owned businesses throughout the county. “Every time I visit the Soul Swapmeet, I find a vendor for everyone on my Christmas list. T-shirts, body oils, hats, glasses, dresses, kids’ toys, desserts, bags and more. It feels incredible to support my neighbors.”

For the past two years, Gary Aswegan, project manager for Cox Business in Orange County, gets his sushi fix by hosting friends and family at Koko Sushi in Mission Viejo. He said it “feels safe and like family, plus the sushi is fantastic and the owner Luke always has a smile on under his mask.”

–Jessica Torrico, region marketing specialist for Cox Business in Orange County and her family like to dine and host special events at Urban Grill and Wine Bar in Lake Forest. Torrico, who hosted her mom’s retirement party at Urban, the only wine bar in the area, said, “Excellent service, delicious food, warm ambience or great for take out. Even get your wine and cocktails to go. They went out of their way to personalize the menu for my mom’s retirement party earlier this year.”

–Two things Lisa Komoto, Cox Business senior sales representative in Orange County, loves her clean and well-groomed dogs and sweet treats. Every eight weeks, it’s off to Paws N Klaws Animal Salon, in Aliso Viejo, often followed by a sugar free sweet treat at Bye Bye Sugar on El Toro Road in Lake Forest. 

Follow #CoxShopsSmall on social media to discover more businesses that Cox team members love nationwide. 

This is paid content by Cox Communications. Cox provides residents in the Newport Beach area with digital cable television, telecommunications and Home Automation services. Cox also provides scholarships to local high school students in its service area through its Cox Cares Foundation. For more information, visit