UPPER DELAWARE REGION — Millions of Americans will rush to their computers for post-Thanksgiving Cyber Monday deals. But before you start online holiday purchasing, close up the laptop and shop local during National Small Business Day on Saturday, November 26.
Because when you shop local for your holiday gifts, your entire community joins your gift list.
“Do you know what brings visitors to our area? Our fantastic local shops, our delicious farmers’ markets, our farm destinations, our artists, our artisans, our crafts people,” said Sullivan Catskills Visitors Association president Roberta Byron-Lockwood.
“Our visitors crave what is so unique to us. They want a charming, safe Main Street to explore. They want one-of-a-kind items from our potters and our woodworkers. They go to our distilleries, they drink our locally roasted coffees, taste our cheeses, maple syrups, fresh vegetables, all of the wonderful foods that we produce here. They taste and they take that taste home with them. Then they come back for more.”
According to the U.S. Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages, small businesses account for 53 percent of all New York employment, and businesses with fewer than 20 workers employ 1.5 million New Yorkers, 180,000 of those in retail.
“When I speak with customers at my store, I hear how I am just one stop on a full day of local exploration,” says Cindy Herbert, whose Gardner & Co. General Store opened in Hortonville this past July.
“I love to give my guests ideas of where to grab a bite to eat, maybe an attraction or outing that they haven’t thought of. So, as well as promoting the wonderful artists and artisans that stock Gardner & Co., I love promoting the other businesses in the area. I love being a part of that local business
community that makes our upstate region so special.”
Research demonstrates the powerful effect on a local economy of actions such as Herbert’s. According to the Andersonville Study of Retail Economics, $68 of every $100 spent on a local business stays within the community, compared to $43 spent at a national chain. Local businesses contribute 250 percent more to community causes than do national chains. And shopping local reduces carbon emissions associated with product shipping, which accounts for 25 percent of all U.S. carbon emissions.
Local retail shops go a long way in nurturing the artistic and cultural resources of the area. “Spruce Home Goods carries my pottery,” said artist Carolyn Duke. “I couldn’t be happier leaving the marketing and advertising to David and Lori. They are experts at what they do, and their work leaves me much more time to devote to my work, more time to devote to my art.”
“When a business is owned by an individual, rather than a corporation, the community gets something unique, something with its own personality, something you can’t get anywhere else,” said Lauren Seikaly, whose Jeffersonville Bake Shop serves as a refuge and community clubhouse for residents and travelers. “It makes people want to take a special trip.”
“Folks want a good story,” added Byron-Lockwood. “They come here to the Sullivan Catskills for a good story. This is exactly what I’m talking about. That’s our story. That’s our good story.”
So go find the local story this holiday. Then gift it. Gift our good story.
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