Cayuga County’s economy is not immune from COVID-19. Despite the major challenges the virus has brought, our area has experienced a rapid rise in bold entrepreneurship. Downtown Auburn has seen 11 new businesses open this year. New business leads to jobs and faster recovery.  Virtually all job growth, including replacing jobs lost, comes from new businesses. That’s why, now more than ever, it is important to support our growing entrepreneurial community.

Our work at the Cayuga Economic Development Agency (CEDA) involves growing and nurturing new opportunities for job growth in Cayuga County. Many of the new businesses that have opened this year have received assistance from our Specialists. You don’t have to be an economic developer, however, to have a hand in growing the local economy.

Small Business Saturday, the annual “shopping holiday” that falls the Saturday after Thanksgiving, has become an important part of how many small businesses launch their busiest shopping season. Use your dollars to help cure some of the ill effects our businesses have felt this year and help boost the immunity of our new businesses.

Buying local means that the businesses themselves can continue to operate and grow. In turn, the local business can then reinvest a portion of those dollars locally. They can invest in the growth of their own business by improving their building or adding new product lines. They can invest in their workers, who then can go out and spend more money locally. They can invest in other local businesses by sourcing products and/or services locally, and then those businesses can go on to invest in all the same ways. The other investment you make by shopping local is through sales tax. Sales tax helps local governments to pay for services and programs, which helps to offset property taxes. Shopping local means that a portion of your sales tax dollars help our local community.

So, where do you start looking for businesses and organizations in our area to support? Stop by the Cayuga County Chamber of Commerce’s offices at 2 State Street, Auburn, during regular business hours to pick up a free copy of the Community Guide & Member Directory, which lists Chamber Member businesses by category and will aide your local holiday shopping adventures. Visit the event page of the Cayuga County Office of Tourism website. Sign up for the Auburn Downtown B.I.D. weekly email, which has holiday specials, discounts, and incentives for Small Business Saturday and other information about businesses in Downtown Auburn. Visit the social media page or website of your favorite local store, restaurant, or business. Even if they aren’t offering a special deal, shop there anyway. The positive effects of local spending aren’t exclusive to promotions or to Small Business Saturday. They happen every day, all year round, with every purchase.

Just like raising a child, it takes a village, or in this case a community, to support our small businesses. In Cayuga County, we can all keep our local economy healthy by shopping local this holiday season and all year long.

Devon Roblee is Marketing Coordinator for the Cayuga Economic Development Agency (CEDA). Contact her at (315) 252-3500 or
Published in the November 19, 2020, edition of The Citizen.