Staten Island shoppers support Small Business Saturday

SI Chamber acts as ‘neighborhood champion’ for event

Staten Island businesses got a significant holiday boost on Nov. 25 as local shoppers visited their neighborhood retailers to participate in Small Business Saturday.

“This is such a wonderful event for Staten Island business owners because it really stresses the importance of our locally owned stores,” noted Linda Baran, president and CEO of the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce, which this year served as a “neighborhood champion” for the event, rallying for the borough’s support via social media and distributing Shop Small merchandise in an effort to get Staten Island businesses involved.

“To have a large company like American Express supporting this cause, giving it a lot of marketing exposure and encouraging shoppers nationwide to shop small — it really is a great boost for so many of our local shops,” Baran continued.

Founded by American Express in 2010, Small Business Saturday was created to help businesses with their most pressing need — attracting more customers. The day, which encourages people to shop at small businesses on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, has grown into a powerful movement, with more than 100 million shoppers taking part nationwide.

“In 2016, 112 million people went out to shop small on Small Business Saturday, which was a 13 percent increase from 2015,” Baran said, quoting stats from American Express. “Small businesses nationwide generated $15.4 billion last year and those numbers are only projected to grow this year. It really is great to be a part of something so big.”

In a retail climate where online shopping dominates and slashed prices at big box stores are hard to beat, support for small shops is vital.

“Small businesses offer an intimate relationship that doesn’t exist in big box stores,” noted Jim Pistilli, president of the Tottenville Civic Association, who attended a Small Business Saturday launch event at Cape House Gallery in Tottenville earlier in November.

Frank Morano, a representative from Councilman Joe Borrelli’s office, agreed.

“Small businesses, particularly like this one, (Cape House Gallery) give a sense of neighborhood,” he noted. “Personalized service is not something you get in a big box store.”

Baran echoed those sentiments.

“When you visit a small business, you can expect exceptional customer service,” she said. “And when you buy items from local stores, you help support the neighborhood. Buying goods on New Dorp Lane, Forest Avenue and Bay Street helps keep those areas vibrant.”

The Chamber’s support for small businesses will continue throughout the remainder of the holiday season. Shoppers and store owners alike are encouraged to share their photos and unique finds on social media using #shopsmallstatenisland and #shopsmall.

“At the end of the day, the social media push helps spread the word about small businesses on Staten Island and nationwide,” Baran concluded.