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OPINION: Shop Local and Support Your Community this Holiday Season

By Will Barclay


Small businesses are the backbone of New York’s communities and one of the most important elements of our state’s economy. Data from Empire State Development shows a whopping 98 percent of all businesses in New York state are classified as small businesses and those businesses account for more than half the total workforce in the sector. The jobs these businesses create and the goods and services they offer are a tremendous asset to our neighborhoods. We are fortunate to have so many creative, hard-working entrepreneurs here, willing to shoulder the enormous responsibility of independent ownership.

Shopping locally bolsters tax revenues, creates jobs, and breathes life into the many great hamlets, towns, and villages we have here in New York. They often provide a comfortable place to gather and serve as an important shared space where community character can grow and flourish. For this reason, I call on my fellow New Yorkers to consider the benefits of shopping locally this holiday season. One great way to start was on “Small Business Saturday,” which took place on Nov. 25 this year. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, the day celebrates and supports small businesses for all the great work they do.

The benefits of shopping locally extend far beyond the small businesses themselves. When we spend money at locally owned establishments, more money stays in the community. According to data from the small business advocacy group Independent We Stand, for every $100 spent at a local business, $68 will be returned to the community. In contrast, shopping at a large, national retailer only returns $43 to the community.

During this time of year, there will undoubtedly be many opportunities to shop during [the various sales and special events]. But failing to pay attention to locally owned options deprives consumers of unique, handmade items that can only be found in the community. These stores offer tons of one-of-a-kind products to help shoppers check names off their holiday-shopping lists.

 It is even more important to patronize these shops during times of economic uncertainty. There is no shortage of obstacles facing New York businesses and we still have much to do to restore our lagging economy. For those looking to help strengthen our economic standing and find some hidden gems to hand out during the holidays, [our small, local businesses are] great places to start.                                    

William (Will) A. Barclay, 54, Republican, is the New York Assembly minority leader and represents the 120th New York Assembly District, which encompasses all of Oswego County, as well as parts of Jefferson and Cayuga counties.

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