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CEO Focus: Support Small and Locally Owned Businesses this Holiday Season

By Robert Simpson


CEO Focus:

Across our region, small and locally owned businesses have borne the brunt of the COVID-19 economic crisis. These businesses are critical economic drivers that support livelihoods and create a unique sense of place within our communities. With this in mind, CenterState CEO and its partners have developed events and programs to drive patronage of small businesses during the busy holiday-shopping season.

The virtual Buy Local Bash Marketplace, [which runs from Nov. 18-24 and is] presented by AmeriCU, provides an opportunity to support local businesses this season. [The event allows] vendors to get visibility for their one-of-a-kind products and services across a larger community of potential customers during the week-long event. Shoppers that visit locally owned, independent businesses through the Buy Local Bash Marketplace website ( gain access to special deals available from this unique lineup of merchants.

Then, starting Nov. 29, the Greater Oswego-Fulton Chamber of Commerce will kick-off its Small Business Stroll, presented by Novelis ( This week-long event also encourages community members to shop, eat, and save locally this holiday season. Participating Oswego County businesses will provide specials and deals throughout the program. Local, large employers, including Oswego Health, Eastern Shore Associates, and Pathfinder Bank, will also rally their teams to shop small by providing incentives to visit participating locations.

The Downtown Committee of Syracuse will also support small businesses and promote holiday experiences throughout downtown Syracuse. Every Monday, starting Nov. 23, the Downtown Committee will send out a special edition of its News & Events newsletter, focused on business specials, events, and holiday activities. You can learn more at

When you shop local, your dollars stay in this community and help us drive a faster recovery from the COVID-19 crisis. I encourage you to think about how you can make a bigger impact this holiday season by supporting the region’s small and locally owned businesses.                      

Robert M. (Rob) Simpson is president and CEO of CenterState CEO, the primary economic-development organization for Central New York. This viewpoint is drawn and edited from the “CEO Focus” email newsletter that the organization sent to members on Nov. 12. 

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