And this year, there is even more help out there for small shopkeepers struggling for a piece of the holiday shopping pie, CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported Monday.
Mary Alice Meinersman, the owner of Bon Bons chocolatier in Huntington, is decking her store with sweet deals to draw shoppers on Small Business Saturday, a decade-old concept that’s helped local store owners reclaim some holiday profits lost to malls and the internet.
“A lot of the towns on Long Island are coming back are becoming more vital. That doesn’t mean the battle is over,” Meinersman said.
Vacancy signs underscore the struggle. For mom and pop owners, the “Shop Local” slogan has helped the Saturday after Black Friday, but the challenge is year round.
“People support us, but not enough new people,” said Rutika Reisner, owner of Antiques & Jewels On Main.
So now, new strategies are being enacted to boost local downtowns. Among them, a slate of legislative proposals in Albany.
“Doing business is challenging in New York state,” said Assemblyman Steve Stern, D-Huntington.
A local business-friendly agenda proposes lowering the state corporate tax rate for small businesses, and allowing owners to start a tax-deferred savings account.
“If you make enough money and you have a banner year, you get to invest it tax free. That’s landmark,” said Robert Fonti of the Long Island Business Council.
A sort of rainy day tax, a deferred savings plan for small business owners is like an IRA that can help in good times or bad.
“These small businesses support the property tax base. They’re the ones who are contributing and volunteering in so many different ways to support our community. They are creating the jobs here,” Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said.
Meanwhile, Nassau County is rolling out a first — a scavenger hunt. It will give out hundreds of dollars in gift prizes to shoppers who hit up local haunts on Saturday.
“Go from business to business, have lunch at one shop, go shopping in another, wash your car in another. It’s just all good fun,” said Harry Coghlan of the Nassau County Industrial Development Agency.
“Really helping our communities and supporting our small businesses who employ our families, our friends, our kids,” Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said.
If you shop local, it stays local, an estimated 67 cents on every dollar.
The legislative proposals may have bi-partisan support. Scott Reif, a spokesman for New York State Senate Republicans, told Gusoff, “The proof is in the pudding. If Democrats who control the Legislature actually support small businesses, they should put legislation on the floor and pass it immediately. If not, this is all for show.”
To find out more on how to shop local on Small Business Saturday, please click here.