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Chester County Press

Southern Chester County Chamber launches ‘Support Local. Love Local.’

11/18/2020 12:42PM ● By Richard Gaw

By Richard L. Gaw

Staff Writer

During years when the world functions normally, the Southern Chester County Chamber of Commerce (SCCCC) serves as the cheerleader, advocate and conduit for the nearly 500 businesses in its membership.

At each of the more than 70 events and programs the SCCCC hosts every year, the veritable Who’s Who of business leaders and legislators, for-profits and not-for-profits who attend prove over and over that the economic life Chester County is strengthened by an unbroken bond of connectivity, networking and bridges to opportunity.

As this year has proven, however, 2020 has not been one of normalcy. In direct overlap with businesses large and small in every other corner of the world, those who move the needle of business and commerce forward in southern Chester County have been severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

With the official start of the annual holiday shopping period less than a week away, many area shops and brick-and-mortar business owners are hoping that this season will be one not only of hope, but customers.

In an effort to connect holiday shoppers with its constituency, the SCCCC has developed “Support Local. Love Local…For the Holidays,” an online campaign to encourage the support of local businesses that are struggling through the pandemic. The campaign, which began on Nov. 16 and extends to Dec. 18, will connect shoppers to a business directory – available on the SCCCC’s website – that links their holiday shopping lists with retail stores, restaurants/pubs, breweries, wineries, salons and merchants based in southern Chester County.

The Chamber's 'responsibility'

“It has been nearly eight months since the day Pennsylvania declared a state of emergency, and while it may seem to some we are returning to business-normal status, it is not the case for many businesses that had to alter or shut down operations for weeks or even months,” said Cheryl B. Kuhn, SCCCC CEO. “It is our responsibility to support local business owners, many of whom are our neighbors and friends, by making a commitment to shop, eat and spend locally, especially during the upcoming holiday season.”

The business directory is arranged by community and by category, and includes links to merchants’ websites. Visitors can select from a variety of categories in order to find what they are looking for, and as part of the campaign, the chamber will invite these businesses to participate in a holiday offer, at no cost to them.

The offers are designed to encourage shopping and spending time in our local communities, and include:

·  A “Deal of the Day” – such as 50 percent off one item or 30 percent off and entire purchase. On a date of the shopper’s choosing, his or her “Deal of the Day” will be promoted on the Chamber’s website and posted on its social media platforms. The offer will be limited to four deals per day.

·  A single holiday promotion – such as a 10 percent off entire purchase or free gift with purchase -- that will remain in effect for the duration of the campaign. The promotion will be advertised on the SCCCC’s website and included in a weekly “Support Local. Love Local…For the Holidays” e-mail blast.

Lisa Long, a CPA with the Avondale-based Nawn and Company, CPA’s, Ltd. and a chamber member, said that the campaign is a great alternative for shoppers looking to avoid endless lines and large throngs at major box stores, especially during a period when social distancing is crucial.

Shop locally, online

“They can visit the local businesses and have the comfort of knowing that they’re one of maybe a dozen people in a store, but everyone forgets the fact that many of our local businesses are also online, and many of them do free shipping,” she said.

Long is also the proprietor of Double Designs Limited, where she develops a unique line of custom and handmade sterling silver jewelry with a meaning. For many artisans like Long -- as well as small businesses that sell handmade items like jewelry and accessories -- their economic lifeblood stems from their participation at local artisan shows during the holiday season, nearly all of which have been postponed this year because of the pandemic.

The “Support Local. Love Local…For the Holidays” continues to maintain that link between these owners and their consumers, said Chamber member Paula Paisley of Paisley Solutions.

“If we lose our local businesses, we will lose our local community,” she said. “We don’t want to see vacant storefronts. We don’t want to lose our local businesses who have given so much back to the community. Supporting these businesses is supporting the community, because that money eventually goes right back into the community.”

Local sponsors of the “Support Local. Love Local…For the Holidays” include Exelon Generation, the Kendal-Crosslands Communities, Longwood Gardens, the firm of Riley Riper Hollin & Colagreco and the Chester County Press

To keep your holiday shopping in your community this year, visit “Support Local. Love Local…For the Holidays” at www.scccc.com.

To learn more or to participate in the campaign, contact the campaign co-chairs Lisa Long (484-459-6289), Paula Paisley (484-354-5591), or call the Chamber office at 610-444-0774.

To learn more or participate as a campaign sponsor, call the Chamber office (610-444-0774).

To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, email [email protected]chestercounty.com.