The weekly column written by Mayor Mary Marvin:
BRONXVILLE, NY — This coming Friday marks the official start of the holiday shopping season kicking off with a Shop Local campaign countrywide.
In the Village, to encourage your participation, Jon Gordon of Admiral Realty has bought out all the meters on Saturday, November 25th on Pondfield Road, Kraft Avenue, Park Place and Cedar Street. There will be free parking after Noon in the Kraft Avenue lot, Kensington Road garage and the Garden Avenue lot compliments of the Village.
This next month of shopping is honestly a make or break for some of our merchants as they count on this period to balance out the quiet of July and August.
Bronxville is so fortunate to have one of the highest concentrations per square foot of locally owned independent businesses in the county; many of our businesses having been with us 20+ years and one even 60+ years creating a stabilizing force in our Village.
Our downtown and its robust storefronts and retail occupancy is the envy of my mayoral colleagues. We are truly home to a gem of a downtown. Our merchants also do so much more than offer you well curated, beautifully wrapped and easy to exchange items as they live in a relationship based economy and further help the village by buying parking permits, goods and foods from their fellow merchants and use the services of our local professionals, including lawyers, accountants, computer consultants, and graphic designers.
They also pay a great deal of taxes that go directly to support Village government and our school.
The money reinvested in the community is real; Of $100 spent locally, 68%, or more than twice that of a big box store purchase, stays in the community. In addition, the sales tax revenue that is generated for the Village’s budget is critical to our bottom line translating into over $1.7 million or 25% of our non-property tax revenues.
If we all decided to go the mail order route, the loss of this tax revenue would translate into either a whopping 15% increase in the Village side of your taxes or a drastic decrease in municipal services.
Shopping local also sends a message to our most charitable merchants that their presence in the Village is valued and appreciated as small businesses donate more than twice as much per sales dollars to local nonprofit events and teams compared to big companies. An unbelievable 91% of our local businesses contribute to local charities and institutions a staggering 200 per cent more than chain stores or mail order operations.
One only has to look at the raffle prizes or auction catalogs of our local charitable organizations or school fundraisers to see that the names that appear as donors include businesses such as Underhill‘s Crossing, Silk Road and Silver Spoon, not Amazon, Costco or Zappos. In the end, we must support our supporters.
In addition, it has been conclusively proven that home values are directly related to the condition and vitality of one’s local business community. The nexus between often one’s greatest personal asset and local commerce is indisputable. A downtown filled with empty stores severely affects the sale value of nearby homes. It is just a fact.
In adding to the extremely important financial benefits, the environment is positively affected as people walk more when shopping locally; less gas is consumed, air quality is better versus traveling to a mall or a big box store or buying items on the Internet where the shipping method adds one billion metric tons of CO2 per year to the environment and further compounded by the cost of those Amazon boxes which are so wasteful to the environment.
As an added benefit, a walkable downtown allows our younger residents to receive an appropriate degree of independence when allowed to walk to town for school supplies or an afterschool treat.
Bronxville also has the potential to be a Blue Zone – an area in the world where people live much longer than their neighboring countrymen with the key factor being personal human interaction. Those who live in Blue Zones make purchases in person by walking to their nearby businesses, grocery stores or visiting doctors and other professionals, thus sustaining local interpersonal ties not only with store staff, but those waiting in line be it at a post office, waiting room, or bagel store. The endorphins released, all scientifically proven, genuinely contribute to happiness and thus longevity. So if you want to live a long life, shop on Pondfield Road!
The Trustees and I, as champions of “shop local,” also realize it is not possible to purchase everything you need locally; we just ask that you think local first, as it ends up being your best choice. You will not only be getting a beautifully curated gift or a delicious meal; perhaps helping your neighbor keep a job, supporting our nonprofits or making someone else’s day simply by smiling with a purchase.
Bottom line, shopping in the Village is your biggest bargain.