The city’s Department of Small Business Services Commissioner Jonnel Doris visited Ridgewood’s annual Small Business Saturday event on Saturday, Nov. 25, to promote shopping locally this holiday season.
Small Business Saturday is a national campaign started by American Express in 2010, and was celebrated by the local group Myrtle Avenue Business Improvement District (BID) to encourage shoppers to buy from small, local businesses.
Doris joined Myrtle Avenue BID at 71st Avenue Plaza where there were activities for kids, gift certificate prizes, live music and more.
Executive Director of Myrtle Avenue BID Ted Renz gave Doris a walking tour of the district, showcasing some local storefronts. Local business owners were able to chat with Doris and speak with him about the issues they are facing.
At the event, Doris stressed the importance of supporting local businesses, since the money stays in the community.
David Sanchez from Ridgewood Thrift said the past few weeks have been extremely slow for his business.
“Everyone goes to the malls and the bigger stores,” Sanchez said. “It’s been up and down. We get some good weeks and some bad ones. It’s the times; no one’s out shopping buying what they need.”
Trandy Ruzeu, the store manager from AJ’s Jewelry on Myrtle, echoed Sanchez.
“Usually, during the holidays [it’s] super busy,” Ruzeu said. “Usually, we’re getting ready for Christmas with clientele, [but] I didn’t have a lot of that. I’m sure some people are not back to work.”
Renz said that he hopes residents stay close to home this holiday season.
“Myrtle Avenue BID hopes that residents will shop local and support our over 340 retail and service establishments that serve the communities of greater Ridgewood,” Renz said.
Renz noted that shops along Myrtle Avenue will have traditional holiday lights and music throughout the holiday season. Many stores will also stay open late during the holiday season.
The Myrtle Avenue BID was established in 1988 to help enhance the shopping experience on Myrtle Avenue from Wyckoff Avenue to Fresh Pond Road and down side streets in Ridgewood.
“The BID helps to make Myrtle Avenue a great place to shop and do business by keeping the streets clean, safe, green and lively with programs and events,” Renz said. “As the voice of the local merchant and real estate community, we work to ensure that the retail mix is meeting shopper needs and that the Myrtle Avenue is an ideal place for new and thriving businesses.”