In this era of online shopping, it has never been easier to get exactly what you’re looking for, quickly and relatively cheaply. It seems like every day, Silicon Valley and its investors cook up some new scheme to deliver whatever we might want, whether it be food, clothes, appliances or toys, right to our doorsteps with increasingly short delivery times.
But while we may win when it comes to convenience, by relying so heavily on the Amazons of the world, we lose out — big time — in the long term by not supporting the businesses in our neighborhoods that contribute so much to our communities in so many ways.
We Long Islanders already pay some of the highest property taxes in the country. Now imagine what those tax bills would be if our local schools, libraries, fire departments, villages and towns suddenly lost the revenue from our local businesses if they were forced to close because of a lack of customers.
The effect would be catastrophic, especially when you factor in the sales tax revenue generated for the county and state, which provide vital services such as the roads and transit systems we use to get to work. In the 2017-18 fiscal year alone, retail sales in Nassau County generated nearly $2.7 billion in revenue, according to the latest county budget.
At the same time, local businesses provide vital services. Our chambers of commerce raise funds for charities and hold fun seasonal events in their respective communities. Many will host such festivities in the coming weeks. Most also have installed holiday lights in their downtowns, all to encourage us, the shoppers, to experience the holidays together as neighbors.
So, even if it means getting in the car and taking a short drive, or walking a few hundred feet or paying a few extra dollars, think twice before clicking that online “buy” button. At the very least, have a holiday meal in town and take a look around. You’ll probably like what you find.