This season’s push to shop local

With the holiday season comes the local shopping campaign.

The push is in full swing, with a nod to Small Business Saturday, and stretches well into December.

After two years of pandemic holidays that saw people spend more dollars online, shoppers in stores and at Christmas markets are back in force. It’s a welcome trend for small businesses and inner cities alike that have overcome supply chain issues, rising costs and other challenges.

“Nearly 40 downtown Long Island cities host events, promotions and holiday activities for local and small businesses on Saturdays, so now is ‘small business season,'” Eric Alexander, founder of the LI Main Street Alliance, said in a written statement to LIBN.

“With the economic headwinds of winter inflation and energy costs, it’s more important than ever to support your independent local businesses,” he said.

On Long Island, efforts include executives from local chambers of commerce and government. The local shopping campaign is recognized in communities across the country.

Small Business Saturday was launched by American Express in 2010 amid the recession. His message of bringing buyers to small businesses has since resonated.

“Small Business Saturday is business patriotism at its finest — a day spent buying gifts for loved ones or visiting a local restaurant supports jobs and builds thriving communities,” Bridget Weston said in a statement. Weston is CEO of SCORE, a US Small Business Administration resource partner with a network of volunteer business mentors who support small business owners.

In the town of North Hempstead, for example, officials say that for every $100 spent locally, about $70 stays in the community. In the city’s Port Washington hamlet, for example, executives are poised to welcome shoppers who won’t have to worry about “feeding the meter” during the holiday season.

“Port Washington is such a magical place, especially during the holiday season,” City Council Member Mariann Dalimonte said in a statement. “We will again be temporarily suspending parking fees in Port Washington to encourage residents to support our local businesses and restaurants.”

She pointed out that “supporting local businesses can have a positive impact on the whole community. This includes creating jobs, supporting local organizations and of course supporting the business owners that make Port Washington so great.”

The efforts promote a sense of community. For example, there’s celebration at the upcoming Black Friday Fun at the Stony Brook Village Center, which features a plethora of shops, restaurants, and nearby the newly opened Long Island Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame, among other venues. The event in the village center features Christmas carolers, live music and a petting zoo from 2pm to 4pm

For Keith Hall, President and CEO of the National Association for the Self-Employed, which offers grant programs sponsored by AARP and Dell, the Shop Small campaign is an opportunity to celebrate entrepreneurial ingenuity and perseverance.

“From managing a devastating pandemic to battling uncertain economic times, America’s small businesses represent our nation’s true entrepreneurial spirit,” he said in a statement. “At the same time, we’ve seen a surge in new small businesses across all demographics, including older entrepreneurs starting a new small business after retirement and continuing an existing small business.”


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