Every Day Should be Small Business Day

BY CAROLYN JOHNSON, LIFESTYLE EDITOR

I am most grateful and excited that I was recently hired as the Lifestyle Editor at The Rockland County Times, the independent local Rockland newspaper that Armand Miele managed to save from bankruptcy in the 1990s. I look forward to engaging with you via the newspaper, website and Facebook page, about people, places, events, practices, resources for a healthy lifestyle, activities, local talent, and small businesses that help Rockland County communities flourish, even in difficult economic times.
Since the economy began to decline a few years ago, we have watched small businesses that our neighborhoods relied on struggle and then close. Many just closed overnight. I went to a favorite local restaurant one night to find huge stickers all over the door – they just couldn’t make ends meet, so their debtors came and shut them down. I direly miss my former local hardware store owner, who walked and talked me through small home projects I could not have done without him. And the local meat and fish store owners, who taught me amazing recipes as well as cut to order. These kinds of businesses help form and bring together communities, but the only way they can survive in this depressed economy is if local consumers are aware of how important it is that, when we are able to buy, we buy locally.
One of my “go to” experts on all things local, Jennifer Turturro, mother of  3, a micro farmer and artist in Rockland County, shares her thoughts and list of favorite local gifts.
“Thinking Locally – Given the current economic conditions, doesn’t it make since to keep our money in the country and even in your own community or region? As a consumer it is entirely too easy to go to a one stop shopping mall or outlet center and spend the day in traffic gathering presents up in haste that are imported from all over the world and countries we are deeply indebted to.
Why not shop in local small, mom-and-pop storefronts or even online with local artisans? This is a perfect opportunity to keep your money at home and support your country, state, community.
Thinking locally and simply means getting to know your neighborhood shops a little better, shopping for those you love with the spirit and reverence of the season. Giving is fulfilling and here are 12 great resources for gift buying in our region…
1. Wine:  Warwick Winery http://www.wvwinery.com   try the Black Dirt Red or a yummy Fruit Cordial
2. Jewlery: Sueanne Shirzay http://www.etsy.com/shop/SueanneShirzay 
3. Handmade Beeswax Candles: from the Fellowship Community made by retirees http://www.fellowshipcommunity.org/index.php?s=work&id=18&t=candleshop   Candles can also be purchased at the Hungry Hollow Coop. 
4. Handmade Chocolates: Made by Chef Anthony LoPinto with his love of chocolate at Threefold Cafe  http://www.threefold.org/Threefold_Cafe.aspx
5. Toys: MeadowLark Toys  http://www.meadowlarktoys.com/    For a variety of local and sustainably made gifts and toys, including beautiful wool felted scarves and accessories
6. Baby:   Green Babies in Nyack   http://www.greenbabies.com/nyack_store.html
7. Pie for the hostess:   Check out the Pie Lady and Son  for UNBELIEVABLE pies  http://pielady.com/(Emma Watson was seen buying the peach pie last summer!)
8. Soap and paper gifts:  http://www.soapandpaperfactory.com vegan candles lotions and beautiful wrapping papers
9. Pottery: Brook House Pottery http://www.etsy.com/shop/brookhousepottery 
10. Leather Satchel or leather bound journal: Luscious Leather NYC   http://www.etsy.com/shop/LUSCIOUSLEATHERNYC
11. Spa Treatments: Gift Certificates available at Sustainable and Healing Treatments at Weleda Spa 1 Closter Road, Palisades, NY 10964, (845).510.5562
12. Coffee/Cafe Gift Certificates: The Art Cafe http://www.artcafenyack.com/ 
Jennifer
Lost in a LillyZoo
lillyzoofarm.blogspot.com”
In addition to Jennifer’s suggestions, here are some ideas posted on my recent Facebook poll on favorite holiday gifts. Responses included:
1) Gift certificate for a portrait, or photos to share by local photographer extraordinaire Dyana Van Campen. photography by http://www.dyanacamera.com/
2) Jewelry by local beading goddess, April Saladino. Her finely beaded necklace and earring sets are available alongside work from local artisans at Hungry Hollow Coop 841 Chestnut Ridge Road in Chestnut Ridge, and can also be purchased at her studio by appointment 845-425-1757.
3) Gifts to local charities, like Helping Hands. Tax deductible donations may be made to: Helping Hands PO Box 240 Nyack NY 10960 rocklandhelpinghands.org. If you don’t have the means for a monetary donation, consider giving the gift of your time to people in need. Contact Helping Hands at  845-709-2415  or hhshvolunteers@aol.com. During the Safe Haven season they need evening and overnight chaperones, cooks and drivers.
4) http://www.peopletopeopleinc.org/, or www.rocklandfamilyshelter.org/. Can you imagine spending the holidays in a shelter?
5) The gift of yoga: Shree yoga is just over the border from Rockland, in Saddle River, NJ.www.shreeyoga.com/gift-certificates.shtml
“When you buy from an independent, locally owned business, rather than nationally owned businesses, … you strengthen the economic base of the [your] community.” To delve further into this topic, see http://sustainableconnections.org/thinklocal/why
Tell us about your favorite locally bought gifts, and small businesses, so we can post them on our website or in upcoming December issues. Post them on my Facebook page, called Rockland County Times Lifestyle Editor Carolyn Johnson, or email them to me at cjohnson@rocklandcountytimes.com
Thank you, and I look forward to hearing from you. Carolyn Johnson