In a world where online shopping is has become the norm, especially during the holiday season, Five Towns businesses are fighting to maintain success in today’s digital shopping world.
The impact of online shopping is growing. CNN reported that Amazon made a total of $9.6 billion in sales from Cyber Monday shopping on Dec. 2. A roughly a 17 percent increase from last year.
To mitigate the popularity of online shopping, Steve Silverman, owner of Morton’s Army Navy Store on Central Avenue in Cedarhurst noted the deals in-store customers are offered. “We have racks that have items for $5 and $10 that sells pretty quickly,” Silverman said. “We also offer coupons that take 20 percent off the final price of a customer’s purchase.”
Silverman added that shopping locally has helped keep the store that has been in Cedarhurst since 1973 in business. “We treat our customers as if they’re part of our family,” he said. “We’re on a first-name basis with them and we always try to listen to their recommendations when it comes to brands.”
Cedarhurst’s Business Improvement District Executive Director Teri Schure noted the collaboration between the BID and village to entice shoppers to the business district. “Every year, thanks to Mayor [Benjamin] Weinstock and the board of trustees, the village offers free parking in the parking lots starting at noon for the entire month of December,” Schure said. “This gives shoppers the added convenience and incentive to shop locally instead of shopping online.”
To attract people to Cedarhurst just as the holiday shopping seasons gets under way, the BID sponsors a Midnight Madness shopping events. It takes place the Saturday after Thanksgiving and the stores in the village are open from 8 p.m. to midnight. “The village comes alive for Midnight Madness and it’s great to see,” Silverman said. “It’s never good for any community to have empty storefronts.” Another Midnight Madness event is scheduled for Dec. 21.
Hewlett-Woodmere Business Association President David Friedman said the aim is to get local businesses involved with community events. “It’s important for our local businesses to come to these events so they can show residents what they have to offer,” Friedman said. “Hewlett High School is hosting their annual ‘King of the Mats’ wrestling event on Dec. 14 and HWBA is providing the water for the event.”
Eyes on Broadway owner Dr. Steven Agin, in Hewlett, said he does not try to do anything drastically different for the holidays. “I understand that near the end of the year, people come in with some extra money to spend,” he said. “We don’t have any special deals for the holidays. But we try to provide our customers with the best customer service year-round.”
Schure thinks that the in-person experience has more to offer compared to shopping online. “There is something to be said for a shopper being able to walk into a store, interacting with a friendly and knowledgeable associate, while being able to see, feel and try on the merchandise before making a purchase,” she said. “While everyone is looking for a deal, it’s not just about the price tag, it’s about the combination of selection, convenience and price.