This season encourages local shopping

With the holiday season comes a local shopping campaign.

The push is in full force with a nod to Small Business Saturday and runs through December.

After a two-year pandemic holiday that saw people spend more dollars online, shoppers are back in force at stores and holiday markets. It’s a welcome trend for both small businesses and urban centers dealing with supply chain issues, rising costs and other challenges.

“Approximately 40 Long Island downtowns are hosting Shop Local and Small Business Saturday events, promotions and holiday activities, so it’s ‘Small Business Season,'” Eric Alexander, founder of the LI Main Street Alliance, told LIBN in a written statement.

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

On Long Island, the effort includes leaders of local chambers of commerce and government. The shop local campaign is recognized in communities across the country.

Small Business Saturday started with American Express in 2010 during the recession. His message of attracting shoppers to small businesses has resonated ever since.

“Small Business Saturday is economic patriotism at its best – supporting jobs and building thriving communities on the day you buy gifts for loved ones or visit a local restaurant,” said Bridget Weston. Weston is CEO of SCORE, the US Small Business Administration’s resource partner with a network of volunteer business mentors supporting small business owners.

In the city of North Hempstead, for example, officials say that for every $100 spent locally, about $70 stays in the community. For example, in the city’s Port Washington neighborhood, leaders are ready 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 Councilwoman Mariann Dalimonte said in a statement. “We will once again temporarily suspend parking fees in Port Washington to encourage residents to support our local shops and restaurants.”

He noted that “supporting local business can have a positive impact on the entire community. This includes creating jobs, helping local organizations and, of course, supporting the business owners who make Port Washington amazing.”

Efforts promote a sense of community. For example, Stony Brook Village Center has festivities at the upcoming Black Friday Party, with plenty of shops, restaurants and nearby the newly opened Long Island Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame and other venues. The village center event will feature carolers, live music and a petting zoo from 2 to 4 a.m.

For Keith Hall, president and CEO of the National Association for the Self-Employed, which offers grant programs funded by AARP and Dell, the small shop campaign is a chance to celebrate entrepreneurial ingenuity and determination.

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