Shopping local on Small Business Saturday

  • As the holiday season approaches, small business owners across the county are encouraging their communities to shop local. Astranada Gamsey owns Goose Exquisite Thrift in downtown Greenfield. STAFF PHOTO/MARY BYRNE

  • Marcia Gagliardi of Haley's Antiques and Publishing in Athol. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • Astranada Gamsey of Goose Exquisite Thrift in dowtown Greenfield said she has “high hopes” for the holiday season. STAFF PHOTO/MARY BYRNE

Staff Writer
Published: 11/29/2020 2:16:43 PM
Modified: 11/29/2020 2:16:42 PM

As the holiday season approaches, small business owners across Franklin County are encouraging their communities to shop local.

“I have high hopes for the holiday season,” said Astranada Gamsey, who owns Goose Exquisite Thrift in Greenfield.

On Saturday, Goose Exquisite Thrift saw a steady stream of customers, reassuring Gamsey that people were beginning their holiday shopping — and they were choosing to shop local.

Even “Small Business Saturday” — the day following the more widely known Black Friday — “seems to be getting more into the consciousness of people,” she said.

“A few people have mentioned that they are specifically coming in because they saw something on the news or they read something about (Small Business Saturday),” she said. “They’re following up by taking action.”

In Athol, Marcia Gagliardi of Haley’s Antiques and Publishing, said Saturday was about busy as it would typically be on the Saturday following Thanksgiving.

“It’s always important for local communities to support local businesses,” she said. “I think we’re encouraged that there’s been an effort to support our local business.”

As an antique store, the “support local” works two ways, she said. Gagliardi supports local people who want to sell their antiques to the antique store, and the local community, in turn, supports the antique store on South Main Street with their business.

“Local goes two ways here,” she said.

Diana Szynal, executive director of the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce, and Mik Muller, president of the Greenfield Business Association, urged residents in a press release to support the local economy during this “unprecedented time.”

“This year, more than ever, we must support our local stores and restaurants,” Muller said. “They are our neighbors. They are our friends. They deserve our patronage, and we deserve to have a vibrant and thriving home town economy.”

Gamsey, who also runs an Ebay site for her store, Goose Exquisite Thrift, said for those who are comfortable shopping in-person, she enforces a facial covering policy, restricts the number of people who enter her store, and sanitizes regularly. In fact, she has purchased a UV wand for sanitizing high touch surfaces.

“A lot of the bigger corporations have really benefited from this pandemic and people, understandably, are urged to do in-person shopping less for everybody’s safety sake,” she said. “But on the flip side, then the little guy suffers even more.”

In Shelburne Falls, some say there is already a “shop local” mind set.

“In this area, people have always been very aware of small independent shops and supporting them as best they can,” said Maria Uprichard, manager at Boswell’s Books. “People want that local connection, that hands-on, one-on-one help with their purchases.”

Throughout the pandemic, the independent bookstore on Bridge Street has provided a number of alternative services to its customers — whether that means taking orders by phone or email, or providing curb-side assistance.

Just a few doors down, Crystal Stinson, owner of Bridge Street Bazaar, felt similar about the community’s commitment to local businesses.

“A lot of people in town make the effort to shop locally, and stay out of the big malls, especially this year,” she said. “A lot of people are shopping online as well.”

She advised residents to seek out websites of their favorite stores if they don’t feel comfortable shopping in person. Many places, including Bridge Street Bazaar, are offering curbside services.

“We all want to see our towns survive through this and in some places, a lot of places are closing,” she said. “We definitely need to keep supporting local businesses.”

Mary Byrne can be reached at mbyrne@recorder.com or 413-930-4429. Twitter: @MaryEByrne


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