There is nothing worse for an area’s commercial corridor than abandoned storefronts. Not only do these eyesores become dumping grounds for garbage and canvases for graffiti vandalism, but they convey a sense of economic distress which hurts the surrounding residential community.
With the holiday season upon us, the Queens Economic Development Corporation urges you to spend time discovering the borough and all it has to offer during this most wonderful time of the year. Santa and his helpers are planning appearances throughout Queens in the coming weeks, trees are lit from Astoria to the Rockaways, and many of our commercial streets are festooned with decorations and bargains.
The “shop local” idea is not new, but it is often misunderstood. It does not mean walling yourself from the outside world. It simply involves nurturing locally owned businesses that hire neighbors and know what you want. It can transfer control from the boardrooms of international corporations to your community.
The following is a list of five reasons to shop locally this holiday season and every season.
1.What goes around comes around: When an individual patronizes a local store, much of that individual’s money is then reinvested in the community as the storeowner makes purchases from nearby businesses.
2.Profits to non-profits: The more largesse your local stores enjoy, the more money they will give to local non-profits, such as youth sports leagues, cultural institutions and merchant groups.
3.Go Green: The more stores near your house, the less you have to travel. This can reduce your carbon footprint and save you time and the frustration of traffic or crowded subways and buses.
4.Jobs, Jobs, Jobs: Nationally, small local businesses are the largest employers in a community, and they most often hire locally. There are more than 45,000 small businesses in Queens, so imagine their impact on the employment rate.
5.Unique New York: Stores provide unique character to a neighborhood, plus they become destinations that provide a sense of place, an identity.
And the best reason to stay in the borough is that Queens literally has it all: big-box, artisan, ethnic, secondhand, clothing, books, theaters, heck we even have magic shops, a plus-size underwear seller and Indian jewelers. You will certainly be able to find the perfect gift for a favorite aunt or adorable niece. And while you’re out, there is no better place for authentic, affordable cuisine.
In addition to shopping and dining, be sure to check out QEDC’s website dedicated to borough events, www.discoverqueens.info, to learn about the many Santa appearances, holiday concerts and events commemorating Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa.
Shop, eat, and enjoy — and may you have the best of holidays and a happy and healthy new year.
Seth Bornstein is executive director of the Queens Economic Development Corporation.