JAMESTOWN, NY (WNY News Now) – With the holidays just around the corner, many shoppers are considering where to spend their money. Businesses in Chautauqua County, hope you shop local.
“Small business Saturday is a really great push for folks to get out when you’re in the holiday shopping mood in the season and go support local business. A lot of years there’s been a lot of focus on the Black Friday sales and the Cyber Monday sales. But small business Saturday is a great time to really make your shopping for the holiday an experience and support your local community,” explains President and CEO of the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce Daniel Heitzenrater.
In order to connect both in-person and online, the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce has launched a social media hashtag contest. Shoppers participate by taking a photo of themselves or a product at a local business, posting it on Facebook or Instagram with #shopsmallchq. You could win a $500 shop local CHQ gift card.
“That’s a closed loop gift card system, so it means you have to be signed up and you have to be a Chautauqua County business to take that gift card that the Chamber manages. And then we sell those gift cards to a lot of companies, they use them for safety bonus or employee bonuses, individuals who wanna give them as a gift card,” says Heitzenrater.
Over 160 businesses across the county accept this gift card, most of which are locally owned.
“67 cents of every dollar spent at a local business stays local. So you can think of that as far as wages for employees, rent and other supplies that they may use from other local businesses. All the way down to maybe the business owner paying for dance classes for their child,” says Heitzenrater.
Those who prefer online shopping can still shop locally, through the ShopLocalCHQ.com website where they can purchase goods from over 70 vendors.
“It was kind of launched as a response to the pandemic when so many local businesses had to close their doors to really provide an online platform for them to still put their products and get some sales,” says Heitzenrater.
In fact, there’s an opportunity to save by using the code “Cyber Monday,” which takes 20 percent off a purchase of $200 dollars.
“There’s also a perception sometimes that shopping local is more expensive than shopping online or shopping big box but if you check out your local businesses. Just walk inside and see what they have, you’ll find there are a lot of businesses that have, or really every business is gonna have options and products that are on the less expensive side as well,” says Heitzenrater.
Products from local businesses also tend to be more unique and have a higher quality than big box stores, which chamber leaders say is just another reason to not just shop local this weekend, but all year long.