In concluding Warrensburg’s Buy Local Saturday activities on Nov. 30, organizers of the event call out raffle winners in a presentation at George Henry’s Restaurant. (left to right): Candice Healy, Anna Busser, Linda Marcella and Kathy Mosher-Hill.
Anna Busser held up a wad of raffle tickets that was thicker than a vintage Los Angeles phone book.
“Look at how many people visited businesses throughout Warrensburg today,” she said. “Stores were busy all day long.”
The tickets were handed out at stores throughout downtown Warrensburg in the first-ever Buy Local promotion — held on the Saturday following Thanksgiving.
Local merchants offered discounts, giveaways and prizes as well as the raffle tickets.
Both event organizers, shoppers and merchants said the promotion was a substantial success.
Busser, who has advocated for sustainable lifestyles, helped organize the event with other members of the Greater Warrensburg Business Alliance.
Alliance chairwoman Kathy Mosher-Hill circulated through town on Nov. 30 as did other members of her group, placing signs of participating retailers, coordinating details and when daytime diminished, collecting the raffle tickets.
“There were people in town from Connecticut New Jersey, Massachusetts, and from all over the local region,” she said. “We had a blast.”
Yvonne Miller of Miller Art & Frame said her store was far busier that a routine pre-holiday Saturday. The Main Street shop sells a wide selection of antiques, collectibles and furnishings as well as artwork.
“The promotion worked — we were busy all day,” she said at closing time. “We saw a lot of new people in our store as well as a lot of old friends — it was great.”
She said she’d heard from other retailers in town, and they had experienced a similar rush of customers.
“We’re really pleased and so are other merchants,” she said.
Braley & Noxon Hardware assistant manager Jesse Bennett agreed with Miller’s assessment. Braley & Noxon Hardware Store extended a 10 percent discount to shoppers, as well as being a designated destination to pick up a raffle ticket.
“The Buy Local campaign worked out well — we had quite a few extra people in our store,” Bennett said.
Chris Nemec of Nemec’s Farm, Garden & Sporting Goods said his store was busy.
“We had quite a few people walking around in our store,” Nemec said. “Some customers said they were “shopped out” on Black Friday, so they wanted to shop locally today.”
Todd Trulli of George Henry’s Restaurant said he was pleased with the turnout.
“This Buy Local event has certainly brought in far more traffic than we’d see on a normal winter Saturday,” he said. “The promotion has people talking about a new winter event here in town.”
One woman from Greene County, who declined to divulge her name, thumbed through Buy Local raffle tickets as well as receipts for $3,150 in home furnishings she had bought an hour earlier at Adirondack Interiors.
“I bought beautiful custom furniture for far less than I’d pay downstate for similar items,” she said as she listened to Buy Local organizers calling out winners of their raffle drawing.
Business Alliance member Linda Marcella, owner of Adirondack Real Estate LLC, said her new office on Main St. in the former McPhillips Northern Insurance building was a popular destination during the event. She had offered a credit off home fix-up to people who listed properties with her on Saturday.
“We were busy — and I had no retail items to sell,” she said, noting that 28 businesses around town had signed on for the Buy Local promotion. “This event is all about creating relationships.”
She said that the promotion was such a success, similar Buy Local campaigns would undoubtedly be held in the future. Marcella is the chairwoman of the Warrensburg Economic Development Committee.
“This is a great beginning,” she said.
Event organizer Kathy Mosher Hill echoed the point.
“I hope people are now aware of the benefits of shopping locally,” she said. “Really, there are 365 ‘Buy Local days per year!”