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Hochul urges continues support for small business shopping

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Michael Mroziak, WBFO
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Don't let your support of local, small businesses stop on Small Business Saturday. That was a message from New York's second-in-command, who was in Batavia to tour several local small businesses, and back her words with her wallet.

Days after the weekend event which encouraged holiday shoppers to "shop small" one day after Black Friday, Hochul encouraged consumers to keep shopping at smaller establishments through the holiday season and all through the year.

Her stops in Batavia included a toy store, men's clothing shop (where she admitted buying a gift for her husband), a pizza shop that recently expanded, and a shoe store which just brought an estimated 100 jobs back to Western New York from China, where some of the company's manufacturing was taking place until recently.

"Malls serve one purpose but, really, people should take at their downtown communities," Hochul said. "If these businesses ever close up and become shuttered, it really affects people's well-being and how they feel about their community.

"As Buffalo is coming back, we want to make sure that all areas form Batavia to Niagara Falls and the Southtowns do well. It's also important."

John Roach owns the Adam Miller Toy and Bicycle Shop, one of Hochul's tour stops. Walk through the door and one is greeted by shelves filled with board games, models, a glass case displaying some vintage games, and also some harder-to-get novelty items that were staples of childhoods a generation or two ago, including Western-styled cap guns, mood rings, and various trinkets. He told WBFO his store did well on Small Business Saturday, though he enjoys many loyal, repeat customers. 

"The money stays here," said Roach while making the pitch to support locally-owned smaller shops. "When it's spent in Genesee County, the tax goes into Genesee County tax. When it goes to many of the mass merchants, that money goes away to corporate and and off to somebody else who doesn't even live around here."

Helping the cause, one local business advocate added, was friendlier weather than one year ago. The holiday shopping season was off to a good start in Batavia, said Tom Turnbull, president of the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce.

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Credit Michael Mroziak, WBFO
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A view of the front section of Adam Miller Toy and Bicycle Shop in Batavia, one of the stops on Lieutenant Governor Hochul's small business tour this week.

"This month is always important for every retail business, and for the small business it's even more important with Christmas coming up," said Turnbull. "The weather is helping us out a little bit this year. If the weather's good, we usually have better turnouts at the stores."

Michael Mroziak is an experienced, award-winning reporter whose career includes work in broadcast and print media. When he joined the WBFO news staff in April 2015, it was a return to both the radio station and to Horizons Plaza.
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