Keeping dollars in community has many benefits
By Michael Turton
Tis the season. For most of us that means there’s shopping to be done. Making holiday purchases is a highly anticipated, annual pleasure for some. Others may be less gleeful, but there are still stockings to fill and special gifts to be found. Doing even part of that shopping in Cold Spring and nearby stores can increase the pleasure while decreasing the stress that sometimes accompanies the holidays.
Shopping local has been promoted for years, mainly as a way to boost the local economy while adding local flavor to gift giving. An ABC News report in 2013 cited numerous studies that attest to the economic and other benefits of keeping seasonal spending close to home. “For every $100 spent at a locally-owned business, $68 stays in the local economy compared to only $43 if spent at a national chain,” the report stated.
It also pointed out that local businesses purchase other local goods and services at more than twice the rate of chain stores. Locally owned businesses have also been shown to contribute more to local charities and fundraisers than national companies. “It is well documented that local retailers offer much stronger support for local economies than do national chains,” the ABC report concluded. Numerous sources also point out the environmental benefits of buying local — including the smaller carbon footprint associated with small, independent businesses, less highway traffic, decreased fuel emissions and reduced packaging.
Alison Anthoine, president of the Cold Spring Area Chamber of Commerce, puts it very simply. Shopping locally “just makes sense for all kinds of reasons,” she told The Paper. “It keeps our money in our community. It supports our local merchants and neighbors — and it even supports our county through the sales tax.” She also points out something that local residents often overlook — the variety of goods available. “In Cold Spring we have a terrific variety of gift options. I take particular pleasure in giving items made by local artisans, as well as Hudson Valley hard cider.”
Sharon Acocella works at the Foundry Cafe. She, like Anthoine, thinks shopping locally is important. “I always shop locally this time of year. I never go to Wal-Mart and the other big stores,” she said. “Everyone in the community should support our local businesses. I know the people who work in them. We have to support each other.”
A wide range of gift options
The range of local purchasing possibilities — without having to contend with traffic, malls, huge crowds and sore feet — is considerable. The Gift Hut features an array of items for young and old, including many Made in USA and eco-friendly toys, games, puzzles, models and unique gifts. Burkelman is a local shop also considered a Hudson Valley destination for home wares, furnishings, tableware, textiles and fine art. A gift basket from The Country Goose might include everything from Hanukah candles and mince pies to plum pudding, teas and Black Magic and Quality Street chocolates. Anyone looking for a watch, diamond jewelry or antique silver can simply stroll up to Joseph’s Fine Jewelry. The Cold Spring General Store prides itself in offering American-made goods for the home and kitchen, artisanal provisions, numerous cookbooks and many other books on life in the Hudson Valley.
Gift certificates may be the least stressful form of gift giving known to man. No fretting over color, size or brand name. They’re also excellent for last-minute shopping and fit nicely as stocking stuffers. The challenge in Cold Spring is to find a restaurant, shop, salon or cafe that does NOT offer gift certificates. Consider these creative options: Who would not want a gift certificate for a prime rib roast from Marbled Meats? Or tickets to the upcoming season of the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival?
Lighting up Main Street
Main Street and beyond will be bustling this holiday season thanks to the collaborative efforts of the Chamber of Commerce and the Merchants’ Association. Black Friday could actually be a pleasant experience if spent kicking off the shopping season in and around Cold Spring. LoHud (The Journal News) has included the village as a Shop Small destination for Small Business Saturday on Nov. 28. Holiday Magic on Main Street kicks in on Dec. 4, with a number of First Friday events. Holiday Shop Hop will be held on Dec. 5 and 6.
Shoppers pick up a Shop Hop card at Country Goose, The Country Touch or The Gift Hut. Those who get their card stamped at all participating shops, without having to make a purchase, are eligible to win a bountiful and uniquely Cold Spring gift basket. The first 50 people returning a completed card will receive a specially designed Cold Spring ornament. On Dec. 12 and 13 shoppers can check out holiday bling, attend two jewelry trunk shows, enter raffles for gift certificates, stock up on beads for the holidays, learn how to use bottle bags as a second gift, enjoy taste testings, or simply take a family photo in Santa’s sleigh.
Vote for your favorite decorations
This year, residents and visitors alike can vote for their favorite holiday decorations at participating Philipstown venues. To cast your ballot as part of “Light up Philipstown” go to explorecoldspringny.com. Voting ends on Dec. 18.
The proponents of “shop local” by no means anticipate that residents will do all their holiday shopping in their hometown. Michael Shuman, author of Going Local, put it this way: “Going local does not mean walling off the outside world. It means nurturing locally owned businesses, which use local resources sustainably, employ local workers at decent wages and serve primarily local consumers. It means becoming self-sufficient and less dependent on imports. Control moves from the board rooms of distant corporations back into the community where it belongs.”
Photos by M. Turton