Patronize local businesses to keep them alive

As a regular patron of North Shore Hardware, I could not agree more with the April 5-11 Bayside Times article “Little Neck merchant nails customer service.”

From the 1960s to today, I have witnessed many changes to our neighborhood. On Northern Boulevard, our old bowling alley, the original Scobee Dinner, the mini-Sears on Great Neck Road, North Shore Bicycle, Little Neck Movie Theater, Bill’s newsstand, Virginia Variety, Patrick’s Pub, Luke’s Bakery, Villa Bianca Bakery, Nelson’s, Off-Track Betting, several supermarkets and most recently Strawberry’s, Little Neck Inn and Staples, along with other stores, have come and gone.

Two years ago, our friend and neighborhood icon Sal, owner of Sal’s Pizzeria, decided to retire. Many people did not realize how knowledgeable he was about life, business, government and politics. We always urged him to run for public office, but he had a full-time job to worry about.

Walking down Northern Boulevard in the evenings, my wife and I see fewer people dining out and shopping, except on Friday and Saturday nights. Years ago, we would never see any vacant storefronts. Today, there are more than 20 between the city line and Marathon Parkway.

In these difficult economic times, it is important to patronize our remaining local neighborhood businesses. My wife and I, along with many Great Neck, L.I., neighbors, are regular patrons of the local community stores in neighboring Little Neck on Northern Boulevard.

Why drive and waste time? There are so many great local businesses. Leave your car in the driveway, save some gas, say hello to neighbors and take a walk around the neighborhood to get some exercise. We frequent North Shore Hardware along with Little Neck Pharmacy, Queens County Savings Bank, Capital One Bank, Stop & Shop, King Wok Chinese Food, Aunt Bella’s Italian Restaurant and others.

We do not mind occasionally paying a little more to help our local businesses survive. Do not forget your cook and server at your favorite local neighborhood restaurant. We try to tip 20 percent against the total bill, including taxes. If it is an odd amount, round up to the next dollar. If you can afford to eat out, you can afford an extra dollar tip. When ordering take out, do not forget to leave a dollar or two for the waiter or cook. It is appreciated.

Remember, these people are our neighbors. They work long hours, pay taxes and provide local employment. If we do not patronize our local community stores and restaurants to shop and eat, they do not eat either. This helps keep our neighbors employed and the local economy growing.

Let us toast the memories of good times gone by and make sure we do not lose any more local businesses.

Larry Penner

Great Neck