The holiday shopping season is now in full swing and local businesses across the city are getting a boost—Small Business Saturday.
Some shoppers are seizing the opportunity to buy local. It’s not just any Saturday for Isabel Reiff. The native New Yorker said she’s out on Small Business Saturday to support Book Culture – an independent bookstore.
“We basically do as much of our buying in walking distance as we can. It feels like it’s part of our community,” Reiff said. “They’re unfailingly pleasant, they’re helpful with whatever we need.”
Emily Keating said she’s been coming to Book Culture since she was a little girl. The 31-year-old said she prefers to do her shopping in-person.
“I really believe in supporting businesses that give back to the community,” she said. “I don’t order books from Amazon. This is part of the people, and I want to support real people.”
Sandwiched between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Small Business Saturday was launched in 2010 by American Express, which said most consumers intend to shop small this year.
Gov. Kathy Hochul said small businesses make up 40% of the private sector workforce in New York, that includes employees like the ones working for the Museum of Nostalgia, a vintage toy shop in Astoria, Queens.
“As a small business, we are participating in the Astoria small business retail crawl,” said owner Phebe Taylor. “It has been amazing because all sorts of people have been coming in that have not known about us before. We are a new business and this is our first year being in business for the holidays!”
Another group effort used giveaways and free entertainment to get community members to shop locally in Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn.
“We have businesses from Fulton Street and Nostrand Ave. We have other entrepreneurs from the neighborhood,” said Dale Charles, Executive Director of the Bed-Stuy Gateway BID. “We are trying to support the businesses within the community that had been suffering from COVID and are still trying to get ahead. We’re trying to help them stay open for business.”
Back at Book Culture, it’s a family affair for Brittney Wilcox and her almost two-year-old daughter. She said she wants to set an example for her daughter, not just when it comes to her love of reading, but also buying.
“We love supporting businesses that keep our neighborhood feeling like a community,” said Wilcox.
Josephine White has been a bookseller at the store since May. She said she hopes the books they sell make customers feel connected and seen, not just today but year-round.
“It’s important to support local books and bookstores, because I feel like the books that we have here really tell a story, it’s very inclusive,” said White. “It’s variety in our books, and it’s not just about what’s mainstream, it’s also about the authors that we’re supporting as well.”