Shoppers turn out for Small Business Saturday, WNY businesses urge community to shop small throughout the holiday season

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB)– Businesses hit hard from the pandemic are encouraging the community to shop small this holiday. News 4 caught up with shoppers and stores throughout Western New York on Small Business Saturday who says this is the year to shop local. 

“There are small businesses being affected and do need your help,” said Brian Gavigan who owns Sole Man, a shoe store in the Elmwood Village. “It’s sad when you see Amazon’s numbers up 75 percent yet businesses are closing down all over.”

“Hopefully people will start to feel more comfortable shopping,” said Stephanie Robb, who owns Turnstyle Designs on Elmwood Avenue. “Getting out and supporting their local business, because if we fail the community is gone.”

The goal of this year’s small business Saturday is to prevent that from happening. Buffalo resident Heather Riester stopped by the Elmwood village to offer stores support. 

“I don’t want to see these businesses disappear after the pandemic is over, and I think a lot of them have closed their doors already. Which is sad to see,” she said. “I think it’s so important to support the small local businesses and help them especially because we don’t know what’s coming in the weeks ahead for them.”

“I got their back, like I said I want to support them,” said Peter Considine who was holiday shopping with his daughter. “With all the restrictions and lockdowns and stuff I think it’s important. I think they’re at a disadvantage compared to the bigger stores.”

In Niagara County, it’s Rustic Buffalo Artisan Market’s first Small business Saturday. The business located on Shawnee road opened up a few weeks ago. Owner John Pirrone said the support from the community has exceeded his expectations.

“Do I wish we could treat our customers with danishes and coffee and hot cocoa? Yes, I wish we could do that but because of the pandemic we just can’t do that. We’re limited.”

Pirrone is hoping people support local stores not only on Small Business Saturday, but throughout the year. 

“It needs to not be one day,” he said. “It needs to be every single day of the year. Not just shop local, but shop every day local.”

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