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Battle big box retailers and online merchants by shopping local, Nassau leaders urge

Downtown Port Washington is seen here in October

Downtown Port Washington is seen here in October 2011. Credit: T.C. McCarthy

Small business leaders and Nassau County officials Monday called on residents to shop in their local downtown and Main Street businesses.

The shop-local message was touted by leaders from the Nassau Council of Chambers of Commerce and County Executive Edward Mangano during a news conference at Alper's Hardware in downtown Port Washington.

The chamber council and the Nassau County Industrial Development Agency have partnered to launch a media campaign with television commercials and advertising to encourage residents to shop local.

The council is an umbrella group of more than 40 neighborhood chambers of commerce, representing about 6,000 small businesses across Nassau.

"Small businesses, individually, do not have the marketing budget to promote themselves on TV, radio, print and social media," council president Julie Marchesella said in a statement. "This media campaign will help us battle big box retailers and Internet-based businesses that dominate the airwaves and our screens, and raise awareness of the quality of the mom-and-pop retailers across Nassau County."

The increase in Internet shopping has contributed to a projected shortfall of $90 million in the county's sales tax budget, according to the Nassau County Comptroller's office.

The lost local sales mean fewer jobs, a decrease in wages, and increased commercial and retail vacancies, according to the council.

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