RIVERHEAD, NY (CBSNew York) – It may be faster and easier to order this giveaway online or visit a mall or big box store, but local small business owners in the tri-state area are asking for a little love for shopping this holiday season.
The Tangier Mall off the Long Island Expressway in Riverhead is a destination for many, sandwiched between a plethora of big box stores, but walk a few miles to Main Street and a whole new world awaits.
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“I get to see how hard these business owners work, how much they give back to the community,” said Liz O’Shaughnessy, of the Riverhead Chamber of Commerce.
Historic Riverhead is full of centuries-old buildings and small shops that stand the test of time.
“We decided to go to the Star Confectionery around the corner and see their homemade ice cream,” said customer Heather Bester.
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Star Confectionery serves favorite fountains.
“My family has been here since 1920,” said Anthony Meras.
Lunch was barely hanging on through COVID. Locals bought gift certificates to help.
“And supported all the local businesses in the city. We live in a great community here, ”said Meras.
Shoppers are drawn to the uniqueness of Main Street, where the Peconic River crosses it.
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“My friends and neighbors work in these stores,” said one shopper.
Families can watch the seals outside the aquarium, then cross the street to purchase a dress or unique furniture.
“One of the perks for customers to buy locally here in Riverhead, especially at a store like this, is that you don’t wait for big box stores to ship,” said Kristen Hanyo, from Privet’s Consignment Warehouse.
The remnants of Riverhead from days gone by – the Suffolk Theater, Vail-Leavitt Music Hall, and the Historical Society are all open to navigation while you shop and snack.
The restaurants are many and varied.
“Small businesses have suffered, but shoppers are very loyal and we want to see them shop downtown rather than big box stores,” said Eric Alexander of the Main Street Alliance.
Merchants don’t want customers to be put off during the downtown makeover. Three buildings on Main Street are being renovated to house the future Long Island Science Center.
About to open in time for Christmas – Pastaria-pizzeria Insatiable Eats.
“We import panettone from Sicily, extra virgin olive oil, cheeses,” said chef Marco Barrila.
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Local and small – give your city centers a gift by visiting them during the holidays.