BUFFALO, N.Y. — Anthony Baynes says he waited until the last minute to do his Christmas shopping, but instead of fighting the crowds at the mall, he decided to come to Red Siren in Elmwood Village.
"It's not only the last minute, it's the first minute for me. And I appreciate local shops, I appreciate supporting local vendors and I get great service when I come into the Red Siren," said Baynes.
According to Statistica.com in 2016, 38 percent of holiday shoppers took their business to local independently-owned stores, compared to 50 percent who did their shopping at the traditional mall.
The owner of Red Siren, Sharon Randaccio, says the holiday shopping season can make or break a small business.
"My guess is probably about 10 percent of our monthly goal is going to be achieved today. And retail in general, 40 to 50 percent of their annual goals are achieved during the month of December. So, this is huge," said Randaccio.
At Cone Five Gallery on Hertel, Amy Franco says small businesses give shoppers a different experience than going to the malls, especially during the holidays.
"We still get a little bit of a rush, but it's not the crowds you would get going to a mall. Shopping loca,l it's just people are walking by, browsing, they've been here before, a lot of them, so they know they can get those last-minute gifts. They know they'll find something, whether it's a piece of jewelry, a piece of glass, pottery, ornaments. We've got it all," said Franco.
AJ Baynes, who heads the Amherst Chamber of Commerce, says the holiday shopping season is just part of a larger strategy for many local communities to create economic momentum that lasts year-round.
"Obviously during the holiday times, there's an extra emphasis on pushing a community around each other and really what ends up happening is you get a lot more visitors to the respective areas," said Baynes.