The holiday season is upon us, and it’s safe to say it will look wildly different from any in recent memory. Local businesses are — quite literally — struggling to survive, and some have already closed their doors or will soon.
Part of what makes South Orange and Maplewood special is the abundance of small, independently-owned (family-owned, women-owned, minority-owned) unique shops, boutiques, restaurants, service businesses and more. They offer a more personal experience than big box stores, and they enrich the local economy by keeping dollars in the community.
But those businesses will not be around to add to the rich fabric of these towns and to help fuel economic growth, without the ongoing loyal patronage of the community. Indeed, in the time of COVID-19, shopping local may well help save communities.
This past weekend was Small Business Saturday, and it was a much-needed boost for small businesses in both towns. But these days, while it’s vital to support local shops and restaurants this weekend and during the holidays — that alone is not enough.
Recently, on the SOMA Lounge message board, local resident Melanie Cortese suggested making a regular habit of shopping local, throughout the week and throughout the year:
“What if “Taco Tuesday” became “TAKEOUT TUESDAY” and we commit to ordering from local restaurants at least once a week? What if “Small Business Saturday” isn’t only once a year after Black Friday but it’s EVERY SATURDAY? Every Saturday (or a day of your choosing), we spend at some local shops and save Amazon and Target for another day? Whatever it is, maybe if it becomes more routine, the $$$ will start to add up and make a difference? Love these two towns so much…”
Here are some ways you can help support local businesses in SOMA, this holiday season. And to keep patronizing local businesses throughout the year, check the websites below for listings and business directories.
Also, remember to visit the Village Green Holiday tab for news and events during the season.
- Buy a $25 South Orange gift card for only $20.
- Patronize the South Orange Open Air Holiday Market on Thursdays and on Christmas Eve
- Visit the Springfield Avenue Open Air Market on Saturdays.
- Check out the Maplewood Village Open Air Holiday Market on Saturday, December 5.
Listings and Business Directories:
- Maplewood Village Alliance: Business Directory, Facebook, Instagram.
- Springfield Avenue Partnership: Business directories, Instagram, Facebook.
- South Orange Village Center Alliance (SOVCA: Business Directory, Facebook, Instagram.
And remember the businesses that are not covered by those district management organizations, including those on Valley Road in both towns, Irvington Avenue (Seton Village), Elmwood Avenue, Ridgewood Row and more.
So as we begin this different and difficult holiday season, remember as Springfield Avenue Partnership suggests: Shop Early, Shop Local. And we would add: shop local after the holidays are over.