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Shop locally to preserve our downtowns


The Nassau County Council of Chambers of Commerce hosted its 35th annual Businessperson of the Year and Legislative Breakfast on Oct. 18, and 36 small-business owners were recognized for the contributions they make to their communities.

What makes small businesses so special? So often their owners and employees volunteer their time and energy to contribute to their local communities, because they are part and parcel of those communities, unlike the internet giants that are increasingly dominating the retail marketplace. They are our neighbors and friends, the people we turn to when we need our Little League or Boy Scout troop sponsored.

It might be the end of October, but it’s never too early to start thinking about your local businesses and supporting them as we head into the holiday shopping season.

One of the best ways to keep our downtown areas strong is to spend our dollars locally. In the coming weeks, consider spending some of your holiday budget at local stores, because like so many businesses, this is their busy season. In the era of internet shopping, local businesses need all of support they can get.

Without our small businesses, our downtowns would cease to exist, and our communities would be poorer for it. It wasn’t that long ago when the weeks before the holidays were a time when people spent many hours in their local downtowns, perusing the retail shops. Let’s keep that spirit of community alive and well, today and in the future.

Our local small-business owners provide unmatched personal service, delivered with a smile. At the same time, they’re the folks who host our street fairs, parades and carnivals. Many local chambers of commerce also hold business expos for high school students, to help mentor the next generation of business leaders and to award college scholarships to some of them.

Our downtown business districts have, for centuries, been woven into the fabric of Long Island. They add character to our communities. They are part of our identity. To preserve that identity, we must — must — patronize small businesses. Please do so this holiday season.