In this season of plenty, there are plenty of reasons to patronize Scarsdale businesses.
Merchandise: In local stores you’ll find unique, specially chosen items whether from a gallery, jewelry store or boutique.
Convenience: It’s easier to navigate small spaces than trying to separate the junk from the treasures in giant emporiums with too many impatient people and too few salespeople.
Service: Local merchants offer personal attention and expertise, and often will customize your purchase.
Sociability: You’re likely to run into people you know.
So make time on Small Business Saturday, Nov. 24 (a holiday tradition started by American Express in 2010 as an effort to bolster small businesses in the internet age) to visit Scarsdale’s several retail hubs — the village center, Five Corners, Golden Horseshoe, Weaver Street and Garth Road — where local merchants are offering discounts and special promotions starting today, Black Friday, through Sunday.
Looking at all the storefronts, you will realize retail in Scarsdale has enjoyed a resurgence this year. Just three years ago this newspaper reported there were as many as 15 empty spaces in the downtown hub. But now most of those spaces are filled with new places to eat, shop or enjoy specialized services. The progress has come thanks to concerted efforts by TAP, The Acceleration Project, a homegrown movement launched in 2014 to “tap the potential of professional women to accelerate small business growth.” Its “Shop the ’Dale” campaign raised consumer consciousness around town and its upcoming “Light the ’Dale” family event Nov. 30 is creating excitement for a bright start to the holiday season.
TAP consultants have rallied the village government and local businesses to work together to improve the retail climate here. The village has invested in infrastructure, such as sidewalks, paths and curb bump outs to increase outdoor dining areas. The village also has made it easier for community happenings to happen. Art in the Park, Rock the ’Dale, the farmers market, as well as next week’s Light the ’Dale celebration have expanded the roster of annual events like the Scarsdale Concoursd’Elegance car show and the Art Association’s outdoor exhibition.
Parking has been a thorn in the side of shoppers and merchants for years. But this year the village has been investigating parking meter upgrades, training parking enforcement staff to be more lenient and next week the Scarsdale Business Alliance will meet to discuss parking alternatives for merchants. In addition, shoppers can park free in Freightway Garage and in the Christie Place Garage on weekends, and at downtown meters on specified holidays and seasonal shopping days.
Streets are becoming more pedestrian-friendly with improved traffic light timing, safer crossings and new LED streetlights and improvements on the Popham Road Bridge.
Realtors say home values increase when homebuyers see charming, vibrant retail hubs that encourage foot traffic. They also say today’s buyers are looking for unique places to shop, places to congregate and late night dining options. That’s why Scarsdale’s stakeholders are working to create the buzz and excitement that will attract those buyers.
It takes a special effort to ensure the success of small businesses, especially when competing with big box stores and online shopping. Robust commerce supports and enhances the community, but cannot be taken for granted, and shoppers should remember a portion of money spent in Scarsdale stays in Scarsdale. Shopping locally is part of the social contract with merchants who take the business risk to set up shop here. They want the community to accept them and embrace them. They rely on local patrons. Show them you care. Come out and spend some time (and money) locally this weekend.