Long Island retailers have a message for consumers: Shop local, and shop small.
These businesses and chambers of commerce are transforming “Small Business Saturday” to “Small Business Season.”
In the process they are pointing out that by supporting the region’s small, local businesses, consumers are strengthening Long Island’s economy.
This year’s shop local push is “not just about small business Saturday – it’s much beyond that,” said Eric Alexander, the founder of the LI Main Street Alliance at a press conference in downtown Farmingdale on Monday. “We hope it to be our biggest year yet,” Alexander said.
Alexander stood with chamber of commerce leaders from across Long Island to announce special events and offers taking place in communities all over Nassau and Suffolk counties. Leaders included those from the Suffolk County Alliance of Chambers and the Nassau Council of Chambers of Commerce
The initiative comes at a time when $0.68 of every dollar spent at a small business in the United States stays in the local community, according to a 2022 study from American Express. That same study revealed that every dollar spent at small businesses creates an additional $0.48 in local business activity as a result of employees and local businesses purchasing local goods and services.
Yet, “one day of shopping local is not enough to support small businesses,” said Joe Garcia, president of the Farmingdale’s Chamber of Commerce.
These are the retailers that “sponsor your Little Leagues, that sponsor your school events,” he said, adding that when “money stays in the local economy, it allows the region to grow.”
And many businesses are struggling as the region comes out of COVID, Garcia said. “Businesses are still paying back pandemic-related SBA loans. The more we shop local this small business season, the better everyone will do.”
Julie Marchesella, president of the Elmont Chamber of Commerce, shared that sentiment.
“All of your small business owners need your support year round,” she said. “It’s not just at holiday time.”
Bob Fonti, co-chair of the Suffolk County Alliance of Chambers, pointed out that shopping local “keeps businesses alive we ask,” adding that “there’s a multiple bounce back” for every dollar spent in the community.
“Small businesses don’t have a backup plan, said Harry Malhortra, director of minority business and development from the Town of Oyster Bay. “They only have one plan: to move forward.”
Liz O’Shaughnessy, executive director of Riverhead Chamber Commerce, said this week’s initiative serves as “a good reminder that every day you should be supporting small business.”
And Holly Byrne, executive director of the Port Washington Business Improvement District, said that this year instead of one day of Port’s “Holiday Magic,” the community was holding three.
Many of the offerings of holiday and shopping events across Long Island are featured here