Locals 'Shop Small' To Start The Holiday Season

By Peter Sloggatt

Shoppers filled the streets of downtown shopping areas throughout the Town of Huntington on Small Business Saturday in support of locally owned and operated businesses.

Small Business Saturday, a promotion initiated by American Express, is the downtown retailer’s version of Black Friday and reminds shoppers of the many benefits that buying locally brings to the community.

Downtown areas throughout the town were bustling on Saturday, Nov. 25 as shoppers joined the “Shop Small” movement and took advantage of promotions put in place for the day.

In Huntington village, merchants got an added boost with the decision by town officials to move the annual holiday parade to Sunday, Nov. 26. The parade was held on Saturday night for the past seven years, but organizers finally bowed to requests by retailers and restaurant owners who said parade set up and preparations disrupted Small Business Saturday.

Huntington Chamber of Commerce supported that move and on Saturday its chairman, Brian Yudewitz brought the town’s next supervisor, Chad Lupinacci, to meet several merchants.

“We’re always eager to learn about what the local business owners are facing,” Yudewitz said. “We listened to their concerns and will take those concerns back to those in local government.”

Lupinacci, a state assemblyman from Huntington Station who won election to the supervisor’s office, welcomed the input.

“We heard a lot about parking in the village,” he said, adding, “We want to make sure that we are providing more opportunities in the village for retail.”

Andrea Bonilla, community liaison for Huntington Station master developer Renaissance Downtowns, joined the tour.

“We like to show support for small business because we feel it’s the backbone of the community,” she said.

Shop owners were happy for the support, but with a steady stream of customers to deal with, several were pressed for time. At NALU Dry Goods on Main Street, owner Marie Fisher had a hard time getting out from behind the cash register to help the supervisor-elect pick out a new pair of sunglasses. (The tortoise shell Ray-Bans were the first pair they picked out, but Lupinacci still had to try on pair after pair before coming back to the first choice.)

In addition to NALU, the trio made stops at Chip'n Dipped and Paper Doll Vintage Boutique on New York Avenue, and stopped at Community Pet Shop where a steady stream of pet lovers were lined up with their pets to take photos with Santa. Community’s owners and photographer Len Marks host the annual photo shoots as a benefit for the League For Animal Protection.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone and Huntington Councilman Mark Cuthbertson made a similar tour, visiting downtown merchants in Northport Village.