NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — An online alliance is forming in Brooklyn that many business owners are hoping is strong enough to take on Amazon and other internet giants.
In just a few days, it will launch in Park Slope, and CBS2’s Valerie Castro has a sneak peak of what’s to come.
For the last 10 years, the owner of Little Things Toy Store on 7th Avenue has relied on most of his customers to stop into his shop, but has quickly learned foot traffic isn’t enough anymore.
“Amazon over the last couple of years has definitely been … we’ve felt their presence,” Mitchell Szpicek said.
Declining sales drove him and other Park Slope business owners to work as a team and take on big online retail platforms like Amazon.
“I definitely think that if we don’t take steps to support the small businesses they will disappear,” said Kose Kaffe owner Sarah Huck.
Starting on Thursday, 60 independently owned stores and restaurants on 5th and 7th avenues will market themselves on a new website called emain.org.
“We are surrounded by small businesses every day that can get you what you need,” said Mark Caserta, executive director of the Park Slope 5th Avenue Business Improvement District.
During the 12-week long trial period, Caserta said businesses will feature items for sale and in-store deals, like 10 percent off coupons, changing them every week. They will also provide free next-day delivery.
“It’s not about shipping, necessarily. It’s about showing the local community what you have and what’s to offer,” Caserta said.
“Reminding that there are brick-and-mortar businesses that really offer so much more than an online experience can offer,” added Tammy Shaw, the president of the Park Slope Chamber of Commerce.
Anyone can get in on the deals, but you must live or work in Park Slope to take part in the delivery. Many locals said they are pleased to keep the money in their neighborhood.
“Being able to access and still support local stores while it being convenient is going to be a great thing,” resident Kimberley Krueger said.
“The mom and pop shops are disappearing all over the neighborhoods here,” Ron Litke added.
EMain could be the easy answer for these owners.
If the trial period goes well, they hope to include more businesses right in time for the holiday shopping rush.