RIDGEFIELD, Conn. – When it came time to do the holiday shopping, instead of going to the malls and big chain stores many Ridgefield residents turned to Main Street for their gifts.
And owners of local businesses are reaping the benefits. Ellen Burns, the co-owner of Books on the Common said that Dec. 22, the Saturday before Christmas, was the best single day of sales the store has ever had in its 27 years of being open.
Burns said that people have realized that local businesses support the town and the people in it. “I think people are increasingly aware of shopping local,” she said. She added that each local store pays town taxes, hires local people, supports local non-profits and is invested in the community, a sentiment that other business owners echoed.
At Olley Court on Main Street, co-owner Susan Buzaid said that this holiday season brought in many new faces and customers to the store, all choosing to shop local rather than going to some of the big stores.
After Hurricane Sandy and the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Buzaid said that she thought people just wanted to come together.
“I feel like people sort of just became much more attune to community and I think understand what it means,” Buzaid said. “I think in a world of technology that it becomes very isolating,” and that knowing the store owners and getting personal service was beneficial to her sales this past holiday season.
“I think there was a lot of strong support for shopping local,” Nancy-O owner Nancy O’Connell said. “I think that people are realizing that first of all if they don’t support you year round, you’re not going to be there, second of all the benefits of supporting small business, people know you, you have unique items, they’re all hand wrapped you’ve got people who know the people you’re shopping for, you’re not hitting the mobs at the mall. We make sure that we can take care of people.”
Both O’Connell and Buzaid felt that the increase in local shopping was helped by a campaign put on by the local retail council.
Posters reading “Live here. Play here. Shop here. Keep it local.“ have been displayed around the town at local stores, and Buzaid said that she thought it helped bring in more people to the stores.
“It makes you feel like Ridgefield is still a little bit of a small town,” Burns said.
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