OSSINING, N.Y. – Businesses in Ossining, Croton and Briarcliff Manor are gearing up for the holiday season and hope that residents remember to shop locally on Saturday.
In coordination with American Express and the Greater Ossining Chamber of Commerce, businesses in Ossining, Croton and Briarcliff Manor are joining the third annual Small Business Saturday initiative, which encourages shopping at local stores on the first Saturday after Thanksgiving as an antidote to big retail's "Black Friday."
Chamber of Commerce Director Omar Herrera said the group is letting residents know that they don't need to travel far to find gifts for their friends and family.
"Everything on your Christmas list can be found in Ossining, Croton or Briarcliff. People don't know you can find those big items right down the street for the same price," Herrera said. "The more money that is spent in our community, the more that stays in our community. It creates a healthy local economy, which will attract more great things to our area."
The national movement, started by American Express, comes at a perfect time, Herrera said, after the chamber had to postpone its own "Shop Local" week because of Hurricane Sandy.
"Our Shop Local week was unfortunately put on hold because of Hurricane Sandy," he said. "Hopefully we will be able to reintroduce that in June to coincide with Ossining's Bicentennial Celebration."
About a dozen shops from the three communities were registered as of Monday afternoon. Ossining’s Tasty Port Wine, for instance, will offer discounts and free tasting on Saturday.
"By shopping at stores in your neighborhood, you're supporting where you live and your village," manager Rute Goncalves said. "We're always trying to push people to come to Ossining to help the town go further and help our whole community."
Qualified small businesses can join the movement and receive free advertising, while customers shopping at the registered shops can receive discounts and other incentives from American Express, according to the initiative's website.
“With so many retailers offering deep discounts and opening their doors on Black Friday or even on Thanksgiving night, it is difficult for smaller retailers to compete,” said Marsha Gordon, president and CEO of the Business Council of Westchester. “This Saturday, we will be supporting the smaller shops in our county, many of whom are our members, and we urge residents to do the same. It is crucial that we support these businesses to keep our local economy moving.”