There are a number of national programs like Small Business Saturday that encourage shoppers to spend money in their local communities. Geneva has a year-round program that encourages people to shop and dine locally. Love Geneva signs are all around downtown Geneva including Stomping Grounds on Seneca Street.
“Love Geneva is more of a local pride initiative than just a shopping initiative, but the two go hand in hand. Love Geneva was founded by Kevin Dunn who was inspired, I think, by something he saw going on in a city in North Carolina where all the shops had love our city signs. He felt that it was inspiring and he saw local businesses working to support each other and he thought that was something that could be replicated in Geneva.”
Bethany Haswell is the owner of Stomping Grounds. She hopes the remind shoppers how buying local benefits the community.
“I’d love it if they could appreciate how important it is to keep even those pennies local. They add up in terms of sales tax revenue, which helps with everything in our city. When people are spending money here at my shop, I’m better able to spend it with my neighbors. So, I think it’s the cycle, being able to pay our employees then reinvesting their dollars downtown or in the wider Finger Lakes community.”
Big box and online retailers compete on price and selection, but local businesses find other ways to distinguish themselves.
“Surprises. Things you wouldn’t expect to find. That’s the motivation that keeps people coming in to rediscover something every time. So, if you’re looking for something very specific. If you know exactly what you need, there’s no reason not to pop online and buy it there. But, if you want to be continually delighted, then look at your local retailers. Also, there is the immediacy of being able to pick something up on the spot that, sometimes if you’re in a pinch, is very, very useful.”
Love Geneva also offers a loyalty card, which brings offers from a variety of downtown businesses. Proceeds benefit a local non-profit annually. In 2017, that was the Center of the Finger Lakes.
For Finger Lakes Public Radio, I’m Kelly Walker.