Local holiday shopping is a community investment

HAMPSHIRE COUNTY – In this holiday season when supply chain disruptions and on-time delivery issues are rife, local business advocates are encouraging shoppers to consider unique new ways to spread the holiday cheer all over the place. by supporting the local economy.

Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Claudia Pazmany and Greater Easthampton Chamber Executive Director Moe Belliveau discussed with Reminder Publishing some new and different gift options and programs by which their organizations and others have supported local traders.

“As you know, as you know, for every dollar spent, 68 cents stays here in your local economy,” Belliveau said. “But you also get a taste of the unique character and flavor of your community – those types of eclectic posts that say, ‘We’re Easthampton’ without specifically writing Easthampton on it. It’s a big part of local shopping. You don’t get that at big box stores.

Pazmany agreed, saying, “We have such diverse business owners from all walks of life and from all ethnicities. There is so much to offer here and it is such a beautiful thing.

Both Easthampton and Amherst shopping areas have seen growth this year, despite the pandemic, providing new options for local buyers. Easthampton Mayor LaChapelle recently noted the creation of new women-owned businesses and the expansion of others on Cottage Street. New additions include Breathing Space Yoga, Olivia Pearl Interiors, Tsvga Parfvms and The Flying Squirrel – a “sister store” of Sonnet & Sparrow.

In Amherst, Pazmany, she pointed to the Mill District General Store in North Amherst and the nearby local Hannah Art Gallery, adding that the Mill District is a “hot spot” that is also home to Provisions and other businesses. flourishing.

“We have a lot of new businesses downtown, which is really exciting. Things are really filling up and there is some exciting news to come, ”she added. On Main Street, one can find something for the romantic side of a vacation with Art of Intimates featuring clothing, lingerie, perfumes and candles and an Amethyst jewelry and crystal store right next door. Down the street, she noted, is Clay’s, a women’s clothing store. “And then when you’re done shopping, or even in between, you can grab a cookie from Insomnia Cookies or Black Sheep,” she laughed.

Pazmany also highlighted a new home store, Mary Moore Design on Pleasant Street, calling it “perfect for gift giving.”

While supply delays have impacted businesses large and small, the ability of local suppliers to be creative and pivotal has set them apart and has also opened the door to truly unique products, Bellveau noted. .

“I think it’s a frustration for everyone, but from what I’ve seen people are finding solutions to this problem and are pretty well supplied. The beautiful thing, too, is because we have such an eclectic and unique flavor that merchants aren’t necessarily so ruled by it. They are more willing and excited by the unusual and the unique, ”she said.

Belliveau suggested that local printing houses were an industry one wouldn’t normally think of during the holidays.

“There is an interesting option of services like local printing, like if you wanted to get a special garment that you could have personally branded or embroidered. There are also gift certificates for those kinds of places for people who run businesses, ”she suggested.

Supporting local auto stores was another way forward, she added. “Oil changes and things like that is something that everyone needs. “

Gift certificates and gift cards remain popular giveaways, both noted – not just for local restaurants. Pazmany suggested admission to the Amherst Cinema, for example. “I think it’s a perfect gift. If you were to look at their offers they get some amazing headlines. They are absolutely a reason to come to downtown Amherst. Of course, you could just come for the popcorn alone – I could eat it for lunch.

Pazmany also presented the gift of family fun days, like a trip to the Hampshire Mall in Hadley for Cheesy Street Grill or Arizona Pizza followed by a fun time at PinZ Entertainment or Interskate 91.

Both also pointed out that the local farms were real horns of plenty for gifts. “Farms shouldn’t be downsized because they have a lot of household stuff, gifts, maple sugar stuff, maybe candles, maybe donuts,” Pazmany said.

As an example, Belliveau suggested Sage Meadow Farms and its wide variety of goat dairy products. She added that the local butcher’s shop might be the perfect place to buy a little hostess gift.

As the coronavirus pandemic continues, Pazmany has acknowledged that not everyone has the ability or desire to shop in person, which would normally take them to national retailers. However, she noted that many local businesses have adapted to include online options.

“I think that’s the big twist this year – we used to tell people to stop all that online shopping, but now instead we’re encouraging people to stay hyper-local. they go online. A lot of our businesses are online, ”she said. “There is no excuse. Our local businesses have adapted and have given us no excuse not to support them. “

Support from Chambers and Communities has been offered in different forms.

Instead of its usual Pack the Sack promotion, this year the Amherst Business Improvement District (Amherst BID) held “Happy Days” where companies offered 20% discounts on the 3rd and 4th. December. The Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce followed this up with its Holiday Gift Card match where people spending at least $ 26 can receive a $ 50 gift card, made possible by Curry Keegan Financial Guidance and Planning. and BankESB. Pazmany theorized that the program would be so popular that the corresponding gift cards would have disappeared at press time.

However, Red Ticket Month, sponsored by Amherst BID with support from BankESB, continues until December 18. For every $ 20 spent at participating stores, customers will receive a red ticket with four chances to win $ 150 and one chance to win $ 1,000. The winner will be drawn on December 18 at 3 p.m. at Kendrick Park and you must be present to win.

The town of Amherst also announced free parking on Saturdays downtown through December 25.

The Greater Easthampton House has partnered with Easthampton City Arts to develop a Holiday Gift Guide. “This includes not only the members of the chamber, but the community at large. This is a very nice comprehensive list. It also has the added value of each company and artist listed has a direct link so you can find out more about their hours and what they are offering, ”explained Belliveau.

Both chambers also offer gift cards that can be used at participating businesses.

Of course, one of the biggest supporters for local businesses, Belliveau noted, was the other.

“Our local merchants and services and the business community in general support each other and truly understand that when everyone is successful, the community is successful. I find it really refreshing. They all care deeply about each other, ”she said.

For more information on the Amherst Region Chamber of Commerce, visit www.amherstarea.com or www.facebook.com/AmherstAreaCC. To learn more about the Greater Easthampton Chamber of Commerce, visit www.easthamptonchamber.org or www.facebook.com/Greater.Easthampton.Chamber.of.Commerce.

Reminder Publishing has contacted the Greater Northampton Chamber of Commerce but has not received a response at the time of publication. For more information on their initiatives, visit www.northamptonchamber.com or www.facebook.com/GreaterNorthamptonChamberofCommerce/.

Jill E. Washington