Feb. 4, 2020 By Michael Dorgan
Love comes in many forms.
A Valentine’s Day-inspired initiative kicked off Wednesday that encourages residents to shop locally in order to help small businesses generate some much-needed cash.
The city-wide initiative, called the Sweethearts Shop Local Program, calls on the public to show their “love and support” for small businesses by purchasing their products and then promoting the items online by leaving positive reviews.
The organizers are also encouraging residents to do “shout-outs” for the businesses on social media using the tag #SmallBusinessSweetie. The event runs through Valentine’s Day.
The Queens Economic Development Corporation is spearheading the event and has teamed up with more than 40 other business groups to help struggling businesses stay out of the red in the midst of ongoing coronavirus lockdowns.
Organizers are asking residents to buy products or gift cards in-store or make purchases directly from a business online.
The program seeks to raise awareness about the importance of shopping locally and supporting small businesses, according to Leslie Ramos the executive director of the 82nd Street Partnership, a local Business Improvement District.
“By doing so, we help preserve jobs and protect our local economy,” Ramos said.
Other participating groups from Queens include Sunnyside Shines, Long Island City Partnership, Woodhaven BID, Bayside Village BID and Jamaica Center BID.
The initiative uses the concept behind the QEDC’s Made In Queens Program which promotes small businesses that sell locally made products. The MIC program also provides support to the businesses to help them grow.
For example, the Sweethearts Shop Local program is calling on residents to support the following businesses for this event.
- Callio Fragrance: an online store that sells perfumes in a wide range of scents.
- Culiraw: makes raw vegan desserts and Valentine’s Day cakes.
- Lavender Works: sells environmentally friendly body scrubs, soaps, and balms that are made by adults with autism.
- MumsKitchens NYC: bakes brownies, cookies, bars, and Caribbean treats.
- My Works of Art: creates oil paintings, drawings, and custom portraits made by a local artist.
- R+D Designs: produces fun 3D-printed jewelry including a new “Keep it Simple, Cupid” collection.
- Raw Bliss Balls: makes raw, vegan snack balls in a variety of flavors.
- Sandra Smith: designs and creates bags, clutches, face masks, shirts, and pillows.
- Sathē: a clothing business whose products are made by resettled refugees and immigrant tailors.
- Scent by Heaven: produces candles, sachets, and air fresheners.
- Tembo: makes environmentally sustainable totes, masks, and bandannas.