Elmwood village prepares for Small Business Saturday

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BUFFALO N.Y. (WIVB) — Locally owned businesses say there’s more of a reason to shop small this holiday season. As national supply chain shortages make shopping for that perfect holiday gift a challenge, locally owned businesses say their customers won’t have that problem.

“We can wrap everything, we have everything in stock, you’re supporting local businesses, and you’re supporting local artists. It’s a no-brainer, especially this year,” said Therese Deutschlander, who owns Thin Ice Gift Shop.

Deutschlander, along with other business owners in the Elmwood Village, is preparing for Small Business Saturday.

“It’s always a lot of fun, it’s high energy and the customers are in such a good mood because they’re not trampling the next person in line at Best Buy to get the biggest TV. It’s a different feeling,” Deutschlander, who’s also the president of the Elmwood Village Business Association, said.

Most of the items you find at the shops along Elmwood Avenue come from artisans right here in Western New York. Business owners say there’s no waiting around weeks for an item to be shipped over, which could be the case for big-box retailers.

“We don’t open on Elmwood so that we can be going through catalogs with all this made in China stuff. We want something unique. This isn’t Target. So I think the rest of the businesses aren’t affected by the supply issues,” Deutschlander said.

“A lot of us depend heavily on local artists. It’s pretty easy to be like ‘knock-knock hey we need some stuff’ and then they’ll come and bring it,” said Esther Neisen, who owns Lumpy Buttons.

Shop owners expect the convenience of offering unique gifts will set them apart.

“It helps the individuals in Buffalo. So when you shop here, that allows someone here to maybe do their own Christmas shopping, provide dinner for their families,” said Rebecca Kulik who owns Timeless Babez. “Rather than shopping at a large box store, you’re paying a lot more and you’re not getting such a unique item.”

The Shop716 initiative is back this year. People who buy a $25 gift card will receive an extra one from Erie County, which can be spent at a variety of locally-owned shops and restaurants.

Sarah Minkewicz is a reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here.

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