Categorized | Express Editorials

Shop Local

Posted on 04 December 2013

Tis the season, as they say, and in coming weeks, packages, boxes and bags will be making their way into homes across the East End as part of the gift giving tradition.

And we’re hoping that many of those purchases will have been made right here on Main Street.

Yes, we know big box retailers and online behemoths like Amazon are hard to resist when with their enticing “door busters,” but let’s all take a minute to remember, there’s a reason we have chosen to live in this part of the world.

And it ain’t about the shopping malls…

Luckily, someone’s gotten wise in the marketing world and has come up with Small Business Saturday a way to pay tribute to the little guys — those mom and pop Main Street shops all over the country just like Sag Harbor’s.

We’re not sure if you took part in Small Business Saturday, which was wedged conveniently between Black Friday and Cyber Monday. But if you missed it, luckily, Sag Harbor’s Main Street stores are open all month long (unlike some other East End villages we know of) and there’s lots of treasures to be found here for you and the loved ones on your gift list. In this village we’ve got hats, gloves and scarves, clothing, candles, furniture, books, decorative items, toys, jewelry, wine, restaurant gift certificates, real estate — the point is, the sky (and your own personal credit card) is the limit when it comes shopping Main Street and we hope that in coming weeks you do.

Because we’ve got quite a little retail center going on right here in Sag Harbor that we’d like to preserve — one with a sense of self, if you will, with a unique collection of individually owned storefronts selling equally unique quality merchandise.

Which is why it’s so important to support local businesses at this time of year. Yes, we understand that it’s not always possible for everybody to do all their holiday shopping on Main Street alone, but every little bit counts and in our experience, there are many affordable and absolutely awesome things to be found in stores here.

We’re not alone in feeling this way, and the national stats on Small Business Saturday bears this out. According to Forbes, in a survey released Monday by American Express and the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), an estimated $5.5 billion was spent at locally owned stores and restaurants on this most recent Small Business Saturday.

And this week there’s another reason to shop Sag Harbor — as part of the upcoming Cash Mob which will descend on Canio’s Books (290 Main Street) from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. this Saturday where shoppers will spend money on all sorts of books and other items that will make great gifts. So we hope you’ll join them for a little shopping and a lot of holiday cheer.

So remember, beyond what it does to help retailers compete against chain stores, shopping local also contributes to the sense of what Sag Harbor is — a very vibrant and unique place on this planet.

We also like the idea of a lot of people out and about. Recently, a Main Street Sag Harbor store owner reported an armed robbery on a quiet Tuesday night in November which resulted in the theft of thousands of dollars worth of merchandise. We see this as an unusual event and in no way believe it’s a trend that shop owners need to panic about. In addition, the Sag Harbor Police Department has issued a direct order that patrols of Main Street be stepped up in order to ensure that sense of security.

But we do believe it’s also helpful to have people out and about on Main Street and visiting stores throughout the day and in the early evening hours to set the stage. Criminals don’t like attention, and they certainly don’t like seeing people in stores and on the street who might be able to identify them in the aftermath of committing a crime.

So go ahead — shop till you drop….but this year make sure to do it on Main Street and not the mall!

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- who has written 450 posts on The Sag Harbor Express.

Arts Editor and Education Reporter for the Sag Harbor Express. Covering the East End with a focus on arts, education and the police blotter. Twitter: @TessaRaebeck

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