BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Black Friday is now two weeks away and local store owners know the fourth fiscal quarter, running from the beginning of October through the end of December, is the final stretch to get their marketing and sales to close out the year strong.
“The fourth quarter is really something special. People just love giving Buffalo inspired gifts to everybody on their list and we have so many folks from around the country ordering through our online store as well,” said Mary Friona-Celani, owner of the Totally Buffalo Store.
“It’s one of our biggest times and we love it because it represents our community. But the excitement coming in the store is a different vibe this time of year and is really exciting,” added Nate Mroz, owner of the BFLO store.
The excitement from locals also stems from local teams — the business of the Bills and other fandom can allow Western New York stores to thrive.
“They have a bad game; we have a little bit of a bad day. So, we want them to win because we love them, but we also want them to win because it’s better for business, there is no way around that,” said Friona-Celani.
That local loyalty is also something Charles Lindsey, a national retail expert at the UB School of Management, says contributes to neighborhood company success.
“It also affects everyone in the community because all those businesses, of course, businesses pay taxes. So, it then creates greater sales tax revenue, so on and so forth that benefits roads and bridges and other infrastructure initiatives,” Lindsey said.
Larger retailers across the country are closing their doors — locally, the McKinley Mall was recently sold off, along with the Eastern Hills and Boulevard malls being transformed into mixed use sites. So, why are malls struggling but local brick-and-mortar shops thriving?
“We designed the store to match what a national level would feel like, but we still have the local ownership, the local touch and feel,” Mroz said.
“The average consumer in Western New York is a little more pro-local. Every community is like that with a certain percentage of individuals going out of their way to support local businesses. But I think it’s even more the case in Western New York, and I think that’s a great thing,” concluded Lindsey.