North Brooklyn neighborhood groups promote shopping local during holiday season

A business strip in Greenpoint.
North Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce

North Brooklyn business boosters are pushing a “shop small” initiative for local retailers after a particularly tough year brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. 

A trio of neighborhood organizations — the North Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, the Greenpoint YMCA, and the North Brooklyn Small Business Owners Facebook group — are collaborating to encourage neighbors in Williamsburg, Bushwick, and Greenpoint to spend their money locally during the holiday season.

“A lot of the businesses if you walk down your neighborhood, you don’t want to see them close. If any of the businesses close, it just changes the heart and culture of the community,” said Tatiana Terzouli, director of communications for the Greenpoint YMCA. “We wanted to make sure that we did something focused on the holiday season.”

The campaign — dubbed “Shop Local. Eat Local. Spend Local.” — runs from Thanksgiving through New Years Day, and encourages Brooklynites to spend money at their neighborhood businesses and pen positive reviews on Yelp, Google, or Facebook, while also sharing their  experiences on social media under the hashtag #ShopLocalBGW.

Organizers are offering local shops the chance to participate in the campaign by promoting it in their storefront windows (all participating businesses can be found on the North Brooklyn Chamber’s website), and they hope the campaign will shine a light on the struggles of local brick and mortar shops.

“One of the main concerns from the North Brooklyn Small Business Owners group was that restaurants and bars have had much more attention and much more concern put out in their direction during the pandemic,” said Paul Samulski of the North Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce. “That’s a great thing, but it’s only helping a small area of the business community.”

Above all, those at the helm say they hope the campaign encourages people to keep their money within the community instead of spending it online. 

“If you do shop local small businesses, a lot higher percentage of the money is going back into the community,” said Terzouli. “That’s what we’re trying to do.”