As the owner of a retail store in Brewster, NY, I hear every concern about “Main Street” issues from both friends and potential customers. However, I am here to tell you that competitive price, quality and old fashioned customer service has never been more at the heart of small business owners and we do it better then any box store or large organization.
“How to change opinion without a multi-million dollar ad budget” is probably what I should have named this article. There is truly only one way to do it – one heart and mind at a time and hope that people spread the good word. But the larger issue that is eating at the Village of Brewster, NY and indeed many “Main Streets” in America is how do we get people to change their habit of rushing to the mall and instead shop small, locally owned businesses? Yes, small business is being challenged by the likes of Walmart, box stores and cost clubs, but we are far from dead and more interesting then ever.
To bring back a village and vital small businesses, it does take a partnership. We need customers who will take the time to visit local stores, believe in them and return. Small businesses bring jobs and stability to a neighborhood. They contain entrepreneurs who will take a chance on new products, ideas, promotions and vitality. Large stores bring conformity in products, style, flavor and overall appearance. In many instances, if you close your eyes and look at how towns “revitalize” themselves, it is difficult to figure out which ManyTown, USA you are actually visiting! They all seem to have the same box store names, designs and items. Can you say boring? The most interesting towns are those that are lined with small shops and restaurants and bring something new to our lives. The most memorable places to visit have communities that are committed to grow with small businesses instead of large box stores. The Village of Brewster is indeed at the start of its revitalization; however we want you to know that we are coming back!
While our Village is no different then many towns that have been gutted by large format stores, this is exactly the time to come back. It is a time when people are looking for a business relationship that is more then just a transaction. Come back for a pizza or lunch at the many restaurants. Stop listening to what people are saying and take a walk on Main Street to decide. The Brewster Chamber of Commerce will be bringing you ArtBeat in October, a display of local artists and their talents. We also have Founder’s Day, which will bring rides, games and a variety of food from burgers to Spanish and Brazilian fare. We have people organizing events of all varieties to bring you into the Village. Be prepared for change!