Written by Joe Scotchie Friday, 03 December 2010 00:00
Thanksgiving and Black Friday are over and the holiday season is here. On Tuesday, Nov. 30, Nassau County Executive Edward I. Mangano held a press conference to deliver his own holiday message to his fellow Long Islanders: Namely, shop locally during the vital month of December.
Noting that 65 percent of all employment in Nassau County comes from local businesses, the county executive added that more than just jobs are the beneficiary of a strong retail winter season. Local businesses, he added, provide for downtown revitalization, which in turn boosts property values. In addition, the revenue gained from the sales tax keeps funding county government itself. Plus, local businesses contribute to the lifeblood of their communities by sponsoring such organizations as Little League and PAL teams for young people.
Mangano’s message came at a press conference held at the Nassau County Legislative Office Building in Mineola. The county executive was there to also announce that the county would embark on a radio, television, and print advertising campaign to urge residents to shop locally. Mangano was joined by Nassau County Chamber of Commerce President E. Christopher Murray and by numerous members of the county legislature, including Judy Jacobs, Denise Ford, Judi Bosworth, Dave Denenberg, and Francis X. Becker.
“Our downtowns have retail stores, make the most of them,” was Murray’s message. By spending money locally during the holiday season, consumers will make Long Island a better place to live with vital downtowns and a strong tax base, he added. “Go downtown, go to local merchants,” the chamber president said.
Mangano also advised shoppers to use their gift certificates to patronize eateries, florists, hair cutting and nail salons. Mangano also admitted that operating a business in Nassau County can be a struggle, noting that in recent years, the county has lost company bids to other states. Mangano added that he would introduce legislation designed to make the bidding process more competitive by making it easier to do business in Nassau County. Mangano said that the county has certain grants available to small business owners, but in all, no government action is a substitute for shopping locally.
“There is not a replacement for patronage, for that pool of shoppers,” the county executive said.
December is the month that local businesses always look forward to. The holiday rush gives often-beleaguered small businesses an opportunity to catch up on their bills. Indeed, the term, “Black Friday” for Nov. 26, does not have negative connotations. It comes the day after Thanksgiving when the Christmas season begins in earnest. For businesses, the “black” in Black Friday means that the onrush of shoppers and their dollars helps to put many a business out of debt and into the black. Businesses used to wait until the end of the year to try to put themselves into the black, but now they try to do it on Nov. 26 and hope for big profits in December.
Asked why shoppers should choose small businesses over the malls, Julie Marchesella, first vice president of the chamber and proprietor of Queen of Hearts, a boutique in Merrick, said that such establishments are simply more convenient. The parking is convenient and safe, as opposed to mall lots, which can be vast and dark. Thriving local businesses do more than stabilize property values. As Judy Jacobs noted, a vibrant downtown is a reflection on an entire village, making it an even more desirable place to live and also to attract even more commerce.