Small Business Saturday was held a day after Black Friday on Nov. 24, and with it a push for people to support their local economies by doing their Christmas shopping locally. That's a great idea, but to make it work, local businesses must play an active role too.
It's a fact that just about everyone will be shopping for gifts during the upcoming weeks, and the Lake Placid News believes supporting the local economy is important. The annual Lake Placid Village Stroll is coming up the weekend of Dec. 7-9.
Not only will there be a local flavor, but there will be lots of visitors in town, including attendees of the Festivus hockey game on Dec. 8 as North Country rivals St. Lawrence University and Clarkson University face off at the Olympic arena. Whiteface Mountain is open for the season, which always brings more people to the Olympic Village.
Yes, the village will be bustling with the shoppers in shopping mode. But the onus isn't just on residents to shop locally. In today's tough economic times, they need a reason to spend their money at a certain place. Unfortunately, the reality is most people seek good deals and the pitch of how important supporting the local economy is, may not be enough to lure shoppers.
Shoppers must be provided with reasons to shop - and that is the role of the local businesses this holiday season, starting during the village stroll.
Embrace the crowds and give them practical reasons to spend their money locally and NOT drive to Plattsburgh or shop online. If you don't think shoppers will focus on the online method or shop elsewhere, think again. Although it's not scientific, the current Lake Placid News poll asks: Where will you do most of your gift shopping this holiday season? The breakdown is: Locally, 29 percent; In Plattsburgh, 21 percent; Online, 33 percent; and Somewhere else, 17 percent.
That's 71 percent NOT?local.
Do people really care that money spent on the Internet or out of town leaves the community and is an economic drain?
If you own a local business, and want to get the word out that there are good local deals and locals should shop locally, get the word out. One great way to do just that is to run an advertisement in the local papers - the Lake Placid News and the Adirondack Daily Enterprise. Advertise a holiday special. (Call 891-2600 for details)
There are many craft fairs and local holiday shopping events that have been, or will be, within the pages of the Lake Placid News. Readers are urged to at least check some of these events out. You just might find that gift that will be treasured. Stroll the Village Stroll and look for deals. Local businesses will welcome you with open arms. And you just might find that deal.
In their hearts, locals probably love the concept of supporting local businesses. But it's a two-way street and will take efforts from businesses for the local economy to have a great holiday season.