There were three features that attracted me to Beacon when I moved to the city in 2008. Along with being incredibly affordable (unfortunately, that is no longer the case) it was a quick train ride into Manhattan and also, there were a number of independent shops in the neighborhood that were fun to browse on a quiet afternoon.
As someone who had spent most of her life in the Hudson Valley, I appreciated the walkability of the area and the fact it offered activities other than the generic experience of cruising the mall. There were community events, like Second Saturday and Electric Windows (which back in the day was sort of a open concept gallery meets block party). I loved exploring the stores and causally chatting with the owner.
Many of the people I met were visionaries who wanted to bring something new and unique to the area. They wanted to provide an alternative to NYC or strip malls, and I was there for it. Like I said, one of the reasons I moved to Beacon was because of the train and I was always taking it. Going to the city was usually the only way I’d find specialty items or really anything I was interested in. NYC was were work aka money, could be found.
The recession and writing for Organic Hudson Valley Magazine is what took my appreciation for small business to the next level. The unstable economy caused many people to reconsider their careers and people began to turn passion projects into full businesses. This provided job opportunities for others who either found work in these small shops or were able to provide supportive services. Eventually, I found myself embarking to the city less and less. For the most part, I could find what I was looking for in my own backyard. Whether it was a workout experience or hair stylist there was someone local providing it and that readers, is a beautiful thing.
Shopping small local business provides so much more than convenience. It helps grow the economy in your area which brings more prosperity and opportunity. For example, when you buy something from an independent shop, your dollar ends up feeding the community by allowing the store owner to purchase more inventory from the local creatives making products who in turn source from other local vendors.
On a separate but related note, you also find really neat, unique things. My friends often ask how I manage to find such cool products and brands. My answer is always the same: I visit the shops in the area.
The reason I started this blog (and even The Mighty Mite was born of this idea) to show all the amazing stores and restaurants in Beacon and the surrounding neighborhoods. Of course, I still visit NYC. But these days, I spend most of my time visiting the brick and mortars in my regional community to find things for my loved ones and self. I’m always discovering something or someone new and it’s empowering to know that I’m empowering my home to become fiscally and culturally stronger with my dollar. This Saturday is Small Business Saturday, a day dedicated to shopping local independent stores. If you want to see the area thrive, its important to visit the shops and restaurants in the area. Even if money is tight this year, you can support by telling others about your favorite spots in hopes they will visit these places and buy their holiday gifts there. It ends up helping everyone, because like I said, it feeds the local economy and we’re all apart of it one way or another.
This Black Friday and for the remainder of the season, I encourage you to think small. I am by no means telling you to ignore the mall (lots of locals work there and play an important role to our community as well), but make a point to visit the mom and pop shops in your neighborhood. If you need ideas of where to go, check out the holiday shopping guide I’ve created for Organic Hudson Valley Magazine, along with the 10 Hudson Valley Holiday Markets list that I’ve recently shared. Grab your friends and create new holiday memories while supporting your neighbors. It’s what this time of year is all about.
Tell me where you are shopping this holiday season.