Residents Urged to Shop Local for Holidays

HYANNIS – As the holiday season ramps up, Executive Director of the Hyannis Main Street Business Improvement District Elizabeth Wurfbain stressed the importance of shopping local.

She said that doing holiday shopping locally supports the community at large, not just the business the product was bought from, as most of the money that goes towards bigger, nation-wide retailers leaves the community without being reinvested locally.

Wurfbain said that it is also a way to support local job growth, as while big companies hire numerous employees, it is still less people in total than what local businesses employ across Cape Cod.

On the global scale, shopping locally also reduces plastic consumption and subsequent pollution, as well as cuts reliance on foreign markets, according to Wurfbain.

“Most people who give to the nonprofits are local businesses. The local always feeds back into local, but the chains, the big boxes, don’t always feed back into the local community. There’s a huge separation,” said Wurfbain.

“We are also a tourist destination, and do we want to look like a place in New Jersey or Kansas? We want to look like Cape Cod. That’s reflected in having a real downtown that is also not privately owned. This downtown is inclusive and open to everybody.”

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has hit local businesses on Hyannis Main Street and elsewhere especially hard, as they do not have access to the resources that bigger corporations have, such as deeper revenue reserves.  

Wurfbain said that some larger hotel chains can go dormant for several months or even years without making a profit, but still stay afloat.

Some businesses have adapted and pivoted quickly on the changing economic field, including moving to online storefronts, increasing take-out or pick-up options, and expanding on delivery.

“You can go into a restaurant and it’s an assembly line for the take-out. You could go on our Facebook page and see Zoom shows on Thursday nights featuring different businesses and what would be good Christmas presents to buy. There’s a lot of clever ways that they’re trying to be safe but also cater to their customer,” said Wurfbain.

Instead of a single shop-local day event, Wurfbain said that the business community has shifted towards encouraging local commerce year-round.

For the holidays, atmospheric events have been planned along Hyannis Main Street that encourage social distancing and safe practices amid the pandemic.

With local support, Wurfbain said that the community’s small businesses will be able to weather the outbreak.

“They’re so passionate about their business and their whole livelihood is in it, that most all of them are really in it for the long hall. They see a light at the end of the tunnel. We know it’s coming, that there’s a vaccine. We know that people are really attracted to Cape Cod. We see that there’s a good future, we just have to hold hands and get through the winter,” said Wurfbain.

About Grady Culhane

Grady Culhane is a Cape Cod native currently living in Eastham. He studied media communications at Cape Cod Community College and joined the News Center in 2019.
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