Think Local: Shopping in the Finger Lakes

3 December 2020

Shopping locally is an important and easy way to benefit the Finger Lakes community.

shopping locally

There are many important reasons why everyone should consider shopping local and supporting small businesses. The support of neighbors and the local connections that are built in a network of small businesses are vital to keeping the Finger Lakes a unique, thriving, and friendly place to live. When customers are able to buy their goods and services locally, it benefits the community’s economy by keeping dollars local. Business owners that are from the area are much more likely to patronize other nearby establishments, whereas big chains have no incentive to do so. Additionally, when customers shop locally they are able to create a more personable relationship with the people behind the product. Creating that close relationship is a great way for small businesses to thrive, as customers then have a connection with the company that they might not otherwise have established. A personal relationship with a small local business can even create an atmosphere of better customer service. Customers will benefit from the expertise of local shop owners, and these businesses will create choices that more directly reflect the wants of the community. When members of the community are owning, running, and managing local businesses, they are more likely to care about their neighbors and the future of the Finger Lakes area as a whole.

Photo from Downtown Canandaigua

The benefits of shopping locally are not only restrained to improving the economy and fostering strong relationships; there are environmental benefits to shopping locally as well. Local businesses are beneficial to the environment as they often have a much smaller carbon footprint than large chains or national corporations. While it may not always seem like the most convenient option, shopping at a small local business nurtures the community and maintains lower overall transportation and packaging costs. In turn, this helps keep costs lower for both the business and the customer alike. Additionally, buying local food can even help improve health. For example, eating honey that is made by nearby bees can help reduce allergies. Small scale farms benefit from local shoppers, which allows for the preservation of genetic diversity, maintenance of biodiversity, and encourages accountability in the way farmers produce their foods.

The Finger Lakes are full of locally grown and made products! From farmers markets to restaurants, boutiques to wineries, there are so many options to support the neighbors who own these small businesses. Local antique shops can be the perfect place to pick up a gift that holds the rich history of the Finger Lakes area. Items from a mom-and-pop shop are more personal than a trinket picked up from a large name-brand store. Artist shops that produce fine works such as pottery, photographs, and paintings directly benefit the local talent the Finger Lakes has to offer. Local makers who work in leather, glass, and wool can be found with ease, with many even regularly providing customers a closer look via personal demonstrations. Many local museums preserve the unique history of the area, with a range of foci including art, science, boating, wine, and women’s rights. Second-hand book shops give readers the chance to find rare and out of print books that would never be displayed in a commercial bookstore. And it is well known that the locally made pies in the bakeries of the Finger Lakes far surpass any mass-produced treat around.

Due to the unique depths of the lakes, the Finger Lakes region is widely esteemed for its amazing selection of locally made craft beers, artisanal wines, and unique breweries. Here customers can find top-level sommeliers and brewers, while directly benefiting the local and family-owned small businesses that make up the community. Local events and festivals serve to promote these small businesses to larger groups, while still benefiting the economy. Although the Naples Grape Festival, the Finger Lakes Cheese Festival, and the Wineglass Marathon may be some of the more popular wine-related annual events in the Finger Lakes, every season comes with a new celebration of delicious foods and drinks, great music, cultural appreciation, and artistic expression.

Without the wide support that comes from residents of the Finger Lakes region shopping locally, the small businesses that create the unique atmosphere of the area may not be able to exist. Keeping dollars local is imperative to maintain the diverse yet personalized service that only a locally owned company can provide. From improving the economy, preserving the arts, celebrating the drinks, and protecting the environment, there are endless reasons to shop local in the Finger Lakes of NY.

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