The holiday shopping season is in full swing and local businesses across the city are booming on Small Business Saturday.
Some shoppers are seizing the opportunity to buy local. It's more than just a Saturday for Isabel Leaf. The native New Yorker is out on Small Business Saturday to support independent bookstore Book Culture, she said.
“Basically, we do our shopping as much as possible within walking distance. It feels like it's part of our community,” Leaf said. “They are always pleasant and helpful with anything we need.”
Emily Keating said she has been coming to Book Culture since she was a child. The 31-year-old said she likes to shop in person.
“I truly believe in supporting businesses that serve 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. American Express says most consumers plan to make small purchases this year.
Gov. Cathy Hochul said small businesses make up 40 percent of New York state's private sector workforce, including employees at the Museum of Nostalgia, a vintage toy store in Astoria, Queens. This includes employees, he said.
“As a small business, we are participating in the Astoria Small Business Retail Crawl,” owner Phoebe Taylor said. “It's been great because we've had all kinds of people come on board who didn't know about us before. We're a new business and this is the first year we're open for the holidays.”
Another group's effort used giveaways and free entertainment to encourage community members to shop local in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn.
“We do business from Fulton Street and Nostrand Avenue, and there are other entrepreneurs in the neighborhood,” said Dale Charles, executive director of the Bed-Stuy Gateway BID. “We are trying to support businesses in our community that are suffering from the effects of COVID-19 but are still trying to move forward. We are trying to help them stay in business.”
Back to book culture, this is a family affair for Britney Wilcox and her almost 2-year-old daughter. She said she wants to set an example for her daughter, not only when it comes to reading but also when it comes to buying things.
“We love supporting businesses that keep neighborhoods feeling like a community,” Wilcox says.
Josephine White has been a bookseller at this store since May. She said she hopes the books they sell will make customers feel connected and seen, not just today but all year long.
“It's important to support local books and bookstores because I think the books here really tell a story. It's very inclusive,” Ms. White said. “It's the diversity of our books, not just what's mainstream, but also the authors we support.”