There's nothing that makes Brooklyn quite so liveable as the fact that we aren't, like so many American cities, just a horizontal mall full of chain stores. Brooklyn's mom-and-pops (O.K., along with the houses, parks and the diversity of our population) make our neighborhoods feel distinct, and like home.
Sure, it's easy to shop online, and sometimes its fun to go to huge stores and malls to get bargains and see what's new. But if you're a Brooklynite and you love the feel of our local 'hoods, then try to spend a little of your holiday budget on Brooklyn's smaller businesses this year.
The Saturday after Thanksgiving marks the annual "Small Business Saturday" event, launched in 2009 in the wake of the financial crisis. The event largely promoted by American Express, with support from such non-small businesses as Sprint. You can find out which of your fave Brooklyn stores officially participate here on their site.
But really, it doesn't matter if they do or don't officially participate, because it's the idea of supporting small entrepreneurial businessess that's really important.
5 Reasons to Spend Your Money in a Local Brooklyn Small Business
1. Imagine Your Hood Without That Great Food/Clothing/Shoe/Book Store: Pick a few stores in your neighborhood that you love -- the corner bodega that sells good beer, the local women's clothing store, the local pottery shop, the local toy store, or yes-oh-yes the local bookstore.Now, imagine they've gone out of business. Don't let that happen! Do your bit, spend some money, and help stay afloat.
2. Need a Job? Help Create One. Brooklyn needs jobs, and according to the Small Businesses Association, small businesses nationwide have generated 65% of net new jobs created over the past 17 years. Buy local, and you are helping create or keep jobs in Brooklyn.
3. You Might Find Something Unique: Shop local, and get something original. Brooklyn's popping with cool, artisanal, creative stuff, from food to clothes to handmade housewares.
4. It's Fun to Explore a New Brooklyn Neighborhood: So you live in Williamsburg but don't know a darn thing about Bay Ridge. You might just find something very ironic and kitchsy there. Or, you live in Bay Ridge and had no idea that there's great shopping on and around Bedford Avenue, Williamsburg's epicenter. So, head to a different Brooklyn neighborhood -- Bay Ridge, Williamsburg, Carroll Gardens, Atlantic Avenue-- and take a look around their mom-and-pops. Every Brooklyn 'hood has its own personality, reflected at the retail level in the shops, too. Go native.
5. It's More Fun to Shop Small Than to Battle the Mall Crowds: Lets face it. Malls are a yawn. It's much more fun to interact with the storeowners, and then pop out of the store for a delish cup of coffee and pastry at a local place than to end up in a huge line at the checkout counter, and then at a Starbucks, yet again.
Make your post Thanksgiving shopping outing a Brooklyn moment.
We can all do our part, and support our own local businesses. If you agree, then please say goodbye to my blog here, log off your computer, and bring your holiday shopping list to a local Brooklyn neighborhood store.
Note: Small Business Saturday participants may or may not offer sales and reduced prices.