Drive through any town on the southern New Jersey coast what do you notice? Certainly, you’ll see stunning coastal views and beautiful beach homes nestled in and around quaint, small-town settings. But what you won’t see, for the most part, are big box retailers and chain establishments. Instead, you will find small, local, often family-owned and one-of-a-kind establishments.
The local artisans, chefs, brew-masters, farmers, crafters, entertainers and boutique shop owners are the backbone of southern Jersey coast, providing goods and experiences to enhance vacationers’ stays and provide for local residents. They are visionaries, sole proprietors and, in some cases, generations of families who work hard to make their dreams, and those of their customers, come true. And because they are small and local, they are able to provide impeccable personal service and a dedication to helping deliver just what their customers came for, like business owners once did decades ago before big corporations got involved. These are the important aspects of business that the big retail giants and chain establishments of today simply lack, employing instead a greedy profit-over-person mentality.
In 2010, “Small Business Saturday” began as a day when consumers were encouraged to support and celebrate small business. It has become an annual event, being held every Saturday after Thanksgiving. Its strategic positioning between Black Friday and Cyber Monday asks shoppers to think local when purchasing holiday gifts and support those establishments by visiting small local brick and mortar businesses. It’s important, because doing so can keep such a small business in operation.
Even though we’re considered to be at the end of the “shoulder season” for the shore, many shore establishments will remain open through the holidays and beyond. We encourage our readers to consider taking a day trip to the shore to enjoy some of the holiday festivities that have been planned.
Some of these businesses feature websites through which visitors can purchase items online at all times of year, so we suggest that you search for websites for the businesses you enjoyed during your summer visit and consider making an online purchase. This is a great time to find discounted merchandise, stock up on beach essentials for next year or find a perfect gift for your favorite shore-lover. Many of these shops and restaurants offer gift cards that you can purchase online. Giving the gift of a future experience at the shore is a wonderful idea. Even if the business does not maintain an online store, often you can call the business or send them an email and purchase a gift that way. I’ve had luck with this on several occasions because often the shore shop owners are thrilled that you thought of their business and want to help their customers find what they’re looking for, even if it is off season. With Cyber Monday looming, you may find some good online deals.
And if they don’t have a website but do have a social media presence, consider giving them a good review or a shout-out to thank them for what they did to enhance your visit. So often, the best review is word-of-mouth so if you had a positive experience, please share it.
Most everything you do and shop for at the shore is provided by a local business owner, so even if you are not able to get there today or purchase something online this season, please try to keep a “Small Business Saturday” mentality throughout the year and support these businesses in any way you can.