CHENANGO COUNTY — Communities across the nation will be celebrating Small Business Saturday on Saturday, November 25, and Chenango County is no exception. The Norwich Business Improvement District (BID) is urging Chenango County residents to get out and shop local this weekend.
According to the US Small Business Administration (SBA), Small Business Saturday is a day to celebrate and support small businesses and all they do for their communities." The event was founded by American Express in 2011 to support the approximate 32 million independent businesses across the country.
In Chenango County, many small business owners will be celebrating the event with specials and sales for shoppers.
Minty's Candies and Treats in Norwich will be holding a basket raffle in conjunction with 12 other downtown Norwich businesses, including Season's General Store, Nina's, Deja Brew, Palm and Sand, The Cottage Bakery/Tabryn's Marketplace, Serenity Hobbies, Kozmo's, Norwich Copies Plus, The Trophy Guy, Made in Chenango, Chenango Family Food Co-op, and McNeil Jewelers.
Shoppers can pick up a punch card at any participating stores, then have the card initialed when they shop at at least three of the stores. Then they can turn in their punch card at Minty's Candies and Treats to be entered to win a gift basket valued at over $200.
There will also be a food truck parked downtown during the day, and local vendors doing pop up sales in other downtown stores, such as Tabryn's Marketplace. Made in Chenango will be hosting an additional raffle for a basket filled with local art.
Norwich BID Board Member Mindy Chawgo said it's been a tough few months for downtown Norwich businesses due to the extensive road repaving project.
"It’s been really tricky, you know, coming off of COVID and then running into the construction. I don’t think anybody anticipated the foot traffic kind of coming really almost to a halt. People were trying to avoid the downtown space," said Chawgo. "But the city stepped in to help some of the local businesses, and now it’s just more important than ever that we get this fourth quarter to get people to come downtown and shop local and support local, and hopefully get that money turned back around into the community."
She also reminded residents in other areas of the county to support their local businesses, and check them out for sales and specials on Small Business Saturday.
"There's also a lot of other things going on in the other communities surrounding us, so I think it’s also important to highlight it’s not just us. Small Business Saturday is America-wide," Chawgo said. "We hopefully can get people in the door and get them some benefits as well, and get them some discounts as well, and hopefully they come by and visit and support their local community."
While Small Business Saturday is a great opportunity for holiday gift shopping, Chawgo emphasized the need to shop at and support local businesses year-round. Although it may be easier to shop at big box stores and have items delivered, she said shopping local doesn't just help the businesses; it benefits the entire community.
"When you’re in a small community like this and you're shopping local, that money stays within the community, and then benefits the community, and gets turned back around in the community. It supports the businesses, it supports the business owners, and makes more businesses want to come down and establish in our community," she said.
"If you think about it, all these businesses down here donate constantly to events, whether it be our local sports teams, whether it be benefits of people that are struggling. We’re constantly getting asked to benefit local projects, so that gets turned around in our community as well," she continued. "When you don’t have foot traffic and you don’t have the support of people, it’s very hard to do those things for your community."