As part of the Town’s ongoing efforts to support local businesses, First Selectman Mike Tetreau, Director of Community and Economic Development Mark Barnhart, Fairfield Chamber of Commerce President Beverly Balaz and over a dozen members of the Fairfield business community gathered yesterday at Independence Hall to kick off a new town-wide initiative, ‘Buy Local.”
The campaign, which is aimed at building more public awareness about the importance of buying local, will extend through this holiday season and into next year. The campaign will feature informational displays, outreach to community groups and other promotional activities to underscore the important role that small businesses play in creating economic opportunity and preserving community character.
First Selectman Tetreau stated, “Our small businesses help define our community and create a unique sense of place. They pay taxes, create jobs, and contribute to local non-profits, charitable causes and youth programs. We need to invest in our small businesses if we are to see them not only survive, but prosper and grow.”
Fairfield Director of Community and Economic Development Mark Barnhart agreed, noting “We are fortunate to have a strong and diverse local economy with relatively low vacancy rates and new businesses that are opening virtually every week, but we want to keep it that way. Small, independent businesses—particularly those in the retail sector—face many challenges, from rising costs to increased competition from on-line shopping, which threaten their very survival. That is why we are launching this campaign, and asking people to choose local whenever possible.
First Selectman Tetreau noted that small businesses continue to be the backbone of the local economy, and are responsible for the vast majority of new job creation. “We know that dollars spent at local businesses are reinvested largely within the local community, helping to grow our local economy and build our tax base.” He continued, “Studies show that each dollar spent at a small independent business returns 50 times more money to the local economy than buying from a non-local, on-line retailer.”
Fairfield Chamber of Commerce President Beverly Balaz said, “The Chamber recognizes the challenges that local businesses face daily which is why the Chamber is excited about this new initiative, and strongly supports this ‘Buy Local’ Campaign. In partnership with the Town, the Chamber will continue to echo and reinforce this theme throughout the year with a variety of events, including its Monday Money Saver and Street Banner programs, to not only benefit its membership, but the business community as a whole.”
Mr. Barnhart noted that the Town will again serve as a Neighborhood Champion for 'Small Business Saturday' on November 24th. On that day, the Town and Fairfield Chamber will have a “welcome station” on the Old Town Hall Green as part of the Santa Arrival event, where all passersby will receive complimentary shopping bags and be encouraged to ‘Shop Small’ and ‘Buy Local’ this holiday season and beyond. Additionally, Mr. Barnhart reminded everyone that the Town’s website, www.experiencefairfieldct.org, provides a platform through which local restaurants and stores may obtain a complimentary listing to enhance their visibility and connect with customers.
Lee Ganim, co-owner of Ganim’s Garden Center & Florist, LLC, one of the oldest businesses in town run by three generations, stated, “Fairfield is a great town to do business in. I have always been a big advocate of shopping local because local businesses are the heart of our community.”
Maureen Abrahamson, owner of Mo’s Wine & Spirits, said, “Mo’s Wine & Spirits celebrated its 15th Anniversary this year, and we thank all of you that shop local and encourage you to continue doing so at all of our locally owned stores. With the competitive environment from big box and on-line entities getting more aggressive every year, we rely on our fellow citizens to support us. Our CEO’s live right here in Fairfield, and we are your neighbors and friends. BUY LOCAL!!!”
Local business owners who attended the press conference included Sharon Risley, Capri Clothing; Marc Rosenblum, Hobbytown; Deborah Coba and April Clyne, Senior Property Managers for Kleban Properties, LLC; Harry French, Henry C. Reid & Son Jewelers; Scott Pesavento, Hemlock Hardware; Lee Ganim, Ganim’s Garden Center & Florist, LLC; Ed Bocchino, Lexington Home & Garden; George Szondy, Abbey Tent & Party Rental; Maureen Abrahamson, Mo’s Wine & Spirits; Chris Collins, Collins Medical Equipment; and Greg and Lori Peck, Spic & Span Market.
Also attending were residents Bob Wall and Kiersten Chou, members of the Town’s volunteer Sustainable Fairfield Task Force, which recently launched a “Local Food for All" - Offering a Taste of the Benefits of “Buying Locally, Eating Locally” program.
For more information about the “Buy Local” campaign, please contact Fairfield Director of Community and Economic Development Mark Barnhart at 203-256-3120 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Unveiling the new ‘Fairfield Buy Local’ logo to increase public awareness around the importance of supporting the local Fairfield business community are left to right: April Clyne, Harry French, Deborah Coba, Mark Barnhart, First Selectman Mike Tetreau, Sharon Risley, Marc Rosenblum, Ed Bocchino, Beverly Balaz, Maureen Abrahamson, George Szondy, Scott Pesavento, Lee Ganim and Chris Collins (Not pictured: Greg and Lori Peck)
Photo Credit: Mike Lauterborn, Fairfield HamletHub