This morning on WAMC, Joe Donahue interviewed Ted Potrikus, president and CEO of the Retail Council of New York State. The complete interview can be heard here.
The idea they were discussing, which piqued my interest, was online shopping from local, independent brick and mortar retail businesses. The idea is you order what you want online or by phone, and then go pick up from the store curbside. In the conversation, Donahue recounted how he had purchased books in this way recently from an independent bookseller a mile or so from his home.
Several markets and purveyors of specialty foods in Hudson--Olde Hudson, Rolling Grocer, Vasilow's, Verdigris, Hudson Wine Merchants--are carrying on their business in this manner or some variation of it, and many Hudson restaurants are serving their customers by providing takeout and delivery. Books and art supplies, as well as beverages, can be ordered for pickup at The Spotty Dog. Might this model work for other retail shops as well?
The main message of the interview was that the Retail Council of New York State has established a website meant to help New Yorkers continue to shop and support their local Main Street businesses. The website is called retailnewyork.com. The interactive site lists businesses in thirty-four categories--from Arts & Crafts to Woodworking & Lumber--and currently includes businesses all over the state--from Buffalo to Brooklyn. A brief exploration of the site discovered very few businesses in Columbia County. (The one I did find was the Cross-Eyed Owl in Valatie.) The site could be useful for people needing some retail therapy and as well as for shop owners wanting to continue serving their customers online. Instruction is provided for listing a retail business on the site.
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