Shopping on Main Street

Finding perfect gifts and great service is all about staying local


Holiday shopping season is upon us, and whether you’re a shopper who plans ahead or a last-minute scrambler, Main Streets have everything you need to complete your list.

While many people search high and low for deals on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, chambers of commerce in Nassau County emphasize that local businesses provide quaint and unique items that show a level of care that can’t be found with online gifts.

“It’s time to get back to having the experience of shopping in a store,” said Stephen Wangel, a past president of the Lynbrook Chamber of Commerce and owner of the Kitchen Loft. “Local retailers are more geared towards serving individual customers and making sure they get exactly what they want.”

“Malvernites have been supportive of our business community during the last few years, and this holiday season is no different,” said Maria Casini, president of the village’s chamber and CEO of Visual Fuel Design. “Black Friday was bustling, with many people buying from our retail stores and purchasing gift certificates from our restaurants, bars, the cinema and our bowling center. People realize the importance of shopping local to provide tax dollars for our village, and to keep home values up by having business filling storefronts.”

West Hempstead will offer a family event on Sunday, from 3 to 5 p.m.: Holidays at Hall’s Pond Park, sponsored by the West Hempstead Civic Association and featuring a Christmas Tree lighting at 4:30 p.m.

“It will be fun for the whole family,” West Hempstead chamber President Marshall W. Myers, of Laffey Real Estate, said. “There will be arts and crafts, and hopefully the weather will cooperate. The whole community gets behind this event, and looks forward to it all year.”

Wangel said that shoppers sometimes forget that purchasing online means being unable to see gifts first-hand. “There are certain things you can’t necessarily order online,” he said. “Jewelry is a big part of holiday shopping. You can order online all you want, but unless you can feel it and touch it and look at it, the satisfaction won’t be the same. In person in the store, you get to make sure it’s exactly the right gift.”

Wangel added that local businesses directly support the local community in a number of ways, so shopping local is in turn a way to support not only downtown businesses, but also downtown itself. “An intangible that gets lost is that local retailers support the village and schools and sports teams,” he said. “It’s reciprocal support. Local businesses help the local community.”

A big part of local shopping is spreading the word on social media, and Casini said that the Malverne chamber regularly promotes businesses during the holidays. “The chamber is featuring businesses on social media,” she said, “and our mascot, Chamber Champ, will be waving people on during weekends to encourage people to stop into shops.”