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Is Holiday Shopping the Only Time You "Buy Local?"

target store
Anne Bolt

The holiday shopping season is now in full swing, but while it’s true a snowy winter wonderland can get consumers in the Christmas shopping spirit, New York State Retail Council Vice President Ted Potrikus cautions that the chilly weather can result in some frustrating situations for retailers:
With Christmas now just a week away, procrastinating consumers are simply running out of time - and even the most treacherous weather around New York State isn’t stopping that final Christmas rush.  

Retailers are happy with the one to three percent uptick in sales from this time last year, which is measurable even with factors like a shorter Christmas season and the recent weather extremes. Potrikus says that uptick is just about the peak of expectations. 

Locally-owned stores around Central New York are trying to get their share of holiday gift buying.  The downtown clothing store, the village craft shop or the local jeweler face some obstacles, but also have some assistance.  Potrikus says he knows small businesses have to fight against big names and big advertising.
In the Syracuse area, groups like Syracuse First and Syracuse Guru promote the value of buying local – which of course includes Christmas time.  Potrikus says promotions like Small Business Saturday and holiday pushes to buy local may help, unless the end of the calendar year is the only time customers make a point to frequent and purchase from that local store:

Marshall Street in Syracuse, Shirt World store front
Credit Chris Bolt / WAER News
Small businesses may experience a drop in profits after major shopping seasons or "buy local" campaigns


Potrikus says that local businesses may struggle with a drop in sales after the holiday shopping season and "buy local" campaigns expire.

Potrikus says small, local retailers can also have trouble competing with big stores’ online sales and promotions. But many counter that with targeted marketing to customers in the area and by offering location-specific coupons.  Potrikus expects buyers to be out at stores the next few days as the procrastinating buyers realize any online purchases they make may not arrive by Christmas.

For more on the New York State Retail Council, visit

Chris Bolt, Ed.D. has proudly been covering the Central New York community and mentoring students for more than 30 years. His career in public media started as a student volunteer, then as a reporter/producer. He has been the news director for WAER since 1995. Dedicated to keeping local news coverage alive, Chris also has a passion for education, having trained, mentored and provided a platform for growth to more than a thousand students. Career highlights include having work appear on NPR, CBS, ABC and other news networks, winning numerous local and state journalism awards.
Hannah vividly remembers pulling up in the driveway with her mom as a child and sitting in the car as it idled with the radio on, listening to Ira Glass finish his thought on This American Life. When he reached a transition, it was a wild race out of the car and into the house to flip on the story again and keep listening. Hannah’s love of radio reporting has stuck with her ever since.